The wrestling team enjoyed a strong beginning to its new season, as No. 9 Cornell took home six individual titles on its way to winning the Body Bar Invitational at Newman Arena on Saturday.
Senior All-Americans Dustin Manotti (157 pounds) and Joe Mazzurco (184) won their brackets, as did classmate Mike Mormile (133). Juniors Luke Hogle (174) and Jerry Rinaldi (197) earned titles in their respective weight classes, while freshman Troy Nickerson won the 125-pound bracket in his first collegiate tournament.
Cornell won the team championship with 138 points, outscoring second-place Oregon State by 42.5 points in the 11-team field. The Red was the highest-ranked school at the tournament, while No. 22 Pittsburgh was the only other nationally-ranked opponent at the event.
“[The team] did well, and I’m pleased because I think we’re a little further along than I thought we were,” said head coach Rob Koll.
In addition to the team’s many wins, the Red also managed to leave Newman Arena without any significant new injuries – an important fact as the team prepares for the Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 2-3.
“[We had] no injuries coming out of here, and that’s almost unheard of,” Koll said. “Now, guys can rest up, and then go out to Vegas.”
The only scare of the day for Koll was in Manotti’s semifinal bout when he butted heads with Ryan Hluschak of Drexel. However, Manotti was able to regroup and win the match 12-8, before earning his fourth Body Bar title in a 3-2 win over Oregon State’s Anthony Hook.
“[Manotti] wasn’t himself in that last match,” Koll said. “But [the injury] wasn’t that serious. He’ll be OK. But in a national tournament, that can happen, so it’s good to wrestle through that.”
Mazzurco – who wrestled at 174 pounds last year – had a strong day at his new 184-pound weight class, winning 5-1 in the finals against Alex Camargo of Kent State.
“That’s a very good kid he wrestled at that upper weight class – and [Mazzurco] wasn’t really challenged,” Koll said.
Meanwhile, Nickerson was solid in his Cornell debut, as the former high school national champion won 13-2 in the semifinals, before posting an 8-1 victory in his final match against Steve Mytych of Drexel.
Mormile, wrestling for the Red in the 133-pound weight class, was the top seed in his bracket, and won his final match, 3-1, over Mike Ciotti of Pitt.
Hogle also turned in a strong performance, pinning top-seed Nick Kozar of Drexel in the finals in 2:22.
Rinaldi claimed his second Body Bar title at 197 pounds, defeating Ben Rings of Kent State, 6-2, in the semifinals, before taking out Oregon State’s Dan Pitsch, 3-0, in the finals.
The Red also witnessed solid work at 165 pounds, as sophomore Steve Anceravage took second place in the bracket, while junior Joey Hooker took third at the same weight. Freshman Josh Arnone earned third place at 184 pounds.
Although Cornell did manage to end the day without any major new injuries, the Red was still without a few key injured wrestlers, including juniors Matt Easter (141) and Charlie Agozzino (149).
“We need to get the kids who weren’t here this weekend healthy,” Koll said.
On the day, Kent State finished third, while Purdue and Pittsburgh rounded out the top-5.
Archived article by Ted Nyman
Sun Staff Writer