December 2, 2002

Three Grapplers Win Titles in N.C.

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After a short holiday weekend the wrestling team got down to business Saturday at the Sharpie-Carolina Wrestling Open at the University of North Carolina.

While there was no team scoring at the event, head coach Rob Koll said the Red’s results were a mixed bag.

“Some guys wrestled great, and some didn’t,” he noted.

Senior captain Clint Wattenberg, sophomore Travis Lee and freshman Dustin Manotti all won titles to lead the way for Cornell. The trio also won individual titles at the Cornell Invitational.

Wattenberg, wrestling in the 184-pound division, ripped his way through the bracket winning with a major decision over Shawn McIntosh of Appalachian State.

Lee beat eighth ranked Jon Rodrigues 8-6 to gain the championship in the 125-pound weight class.

“We expect them to do well,” said Koll about the two All-Americans.

And this weekend they certainly didn’t disappoint.

For the second week in a row Manotti stayed right with Wattenberg and Lee.

He remains undefeated for the year despite facing some solid competition.

“Manotti beat some outstanding kids,” said Koll, noting the freshman’s early emergence.

Several other grapplers also wrestled well at the event, Koll noted.

“Gabe Webster had a great tournament up to the last two minutes of his [final] match,” the coach said. The senior finished second after ending up on the bottom half of a 6-5 decision to eleventh ranked Tim Foley of Virginia in the 157 pound title match.

Koll also pointed to junior Tyler Baier, finishing second at 174; classmate Scott Roth, a fifth place finisher in the 165 pound weight class; and sophomore Joe Mazzuco, who placed fifth in the 157 pound division, for their solid performances.

Overall, Koll said the meet was a positive experience for the team.

“It was a good meet, just by sheer numbers,” said the coach.

About 300 wrestlers matched up at the event, all told.

“I would’ve liked to have a couple more champions, but the guys wrestled well,” Koll concluded.

The Sharpie-Carolina meet is the team’s last competition before their winter break. The wrestlers will see their next action after Christmas on December 27, at Midlands, in Chicago.

Four weeks away from competition will give the team a chance to focus on its grades, practice for the season ahead and get some rest.

“Right now we’re just trying to get healed-up,” said Koll, noting the Red’s early season tolls, numerous bumps and bruises.

The coach also pointed to the other benefits of the rest for the team’s younger members, especially freshmen, who are just beginning to learn how tough college wrestling is.

“It’s nice to not just physically but to mentally heal-up,” he said.

After all, wrestling on a nationally competitive team can be a demanding task, especially over the course of a three-month long schedule.

“We have very high expectations for them,” Koll said about his athletes.

After a team championship (at the Cornell Invitational) and seven individual titles in November, so far, so good for the grapplers.

Archived article by Matt James