February 8, 2002

Grapplers Favored Against Columbia

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Tomorrow the men’s wrestling squad will host Columbia. This implies two things: the Red will improve its record to 4-3 overall, and Columbia will walk away with their second pitiful loss in a row.

At least, that’s what head coach Rob Koll predicts. He explained, “Yeah, we’re going to easily beat Columbia this weekend.” Actually, that’s not quite as brazen as it initially sounds; after all, Columbia did fall 46-0 to Penn last Saturday.

In a moment of conservatism, Koll cautioned that although Columbia isn’t much competition, the Red is trying not to completely overlook any further matches. Last weekend it fell to the Pennsylvania Quakers, who are ranked eighth nationally, in a 21-9 loss that was closer than the score would suggest.

Koll lamented, “Our guys kind of overlooked Penn last weekend. We had a couple matches that either could have been locked up or should have been locked up, and managed to slip away.”

Koll was pleased to announce that several wrestlers have stepped up their performances this spring and are proving to be great assets to his squad.

He stressed, “Alejandro Alvarez has really turned around his season after a 3-10 start, winning 9 of his last 10 matches. Also, Chris Pirch, who has never seen the light of day prior to this year, is wrestling with a tremendous amount of heart and having some success.

“It’s gratifying as a coach to see these guys pull through. I know how hard they have been working, especially Sean Wing. Sean is a senior who could maybe top 200 pounds if he were soaking wet with a bottle of gatorade in his hand, and he has been man-handling 270 and 280 pounders this season.”

The coach stressed that it is extremely important this time of year to keep all the guys flu-free, because the guys who are winning are the guys who are at full health. Koll encourages all his men to get flu shots and dress warmly.

Koll emphasized, “Coaching at Cornell is like coaching at no other school. I came from South Carolina, and if the kids there complained of school work or cold weather, I would have to look them in the eyes and laugh. Here at Cornell, it’s a completely different story.

“Here I have really tried to balance coaching with academics and I really feel that academics come first. I have had to shorten my practices and encourage the guys to work out more intensely but for shorter time periods. These guys have a whole lot to contend with, and it’s a real challenge to have a competitive program with such a rigorous academic schedule,” noted Koll.

Archived article by Adam Zwecker