March 3, 2006

Wrestlers Set to Compete at EIWA Champs

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The goal of every college wrestler is to make it to the NCAA national tournament. But to do that, a wrestler must first qualify for nationals at a tough conference tournament. For No. 14 Cornell, the EIWA championships serve as that qualifying event – and this weekend, the Red will travel to Bethlehem, Pa., with hopes of sending as many wrestlers as possible to the NCAA tournament.

Fourteen teams will compete at the EIWAs, which begin tomorrow and continue until Sunday afternoon. The top-3 individual finishers in each of the 10 weight classes will earn berths to the national tournament in Oklahoma City, Okla., on March 16. Fourteen wild-card qualifiers will also earn invitations to the NCAA tourney.

“There are a lot of good wrestlers [at the EIWAs],” said head coach Rob Koll. “The Eastern tournament is one of the top qualifying tournaments in the country.”

No. 15 Lehigh and No. 22 Penn will be Cornell’s top competition at the event. Lehigh won the team title at the EIWAs last year. However, Cornell beat the Mountain Hawks, 19-14, in a dual meet on Jan. 22. The Red also defeated Penn, 20-12, in a dual meet on Feb. 10.

Although the Red’s focus remains on qualifying as many wrestlers as possible for the national tournament, Cornell is also determined to win the EIWA team title for the first time since 1993.

“We just want to win it because everybody on the team likes to win – we hate to lose to anybody,” Koll said. “But our goal is to qualify as many guys to nationals