November 27, 2006

No. 9 Cornell Upset by No. 15 Ohio State

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The wrestling team was handed its first loss of the year in front of a packed house of 2,368 people in Newman Arena yesterday, losing in upset fashion to No. 15 Ohio State, 18-17, in the first of three charity matches the No. 9 Red (0-1-0) will sponsor this season. Despite competing without a number of starters in the lineup, the home squad stuck with the Buckeyes (1-1-0), giving the Big Ten powerhouse all it could handle and leaving the decision in doubt until the final match of the afternoon.

Leading the way for the Red were juniors Mike Rodriguez and Steve Anceravage — No. 9 in the country at 165 pounds — who each won matches by major decisions to aid the Cornell cause.

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At 141 poiunds, freshman Corey Manson had an impressive collegiate debut by taking his match with No. 6 J. Jaggers all the way down to the wire. Behind the strength of a first-period takedown and a large advantage in riding time, however, Jaggers eventually won the bout, 4-3, to give Ohio State an early lead.

Junior Jordan Leen — fresh off an individual title in the Body Bar Invitational — continued his dominance as he defeated No. 19 Lance Palmer, 3-2, in overtime. After two periods of scoreless wrestling, Palmer took a two-point lead with a nearfall only to have Leen tie up the match by the end of regulation. After two more overtimes without a score from either wrestler, Leen won the match with an escape in the third overtime to pull Cornell even with Ohio State.

At 157 pounds, sophomore Drake Hovis was defeated by No. 19 Jason Johnston, 8-2, to give the Buckeyes a 6-3 lead in the match.

The team lead changed hands once again, however, as Anceravage earned an 11-2 major decision over Chris Vondruska at 165 pounds to give Cornell a 7-6 lead. Anceravage’s dominant performance included three takedowns, a nearfall, an escape and a 3:08 advantage in riding time.

Senior Joey Hooker tacked on three more points to the Red’s lead as he defeated No. 12 Blake Maurer at the 174 weight class. After Maurer tied the match in the third with an escape, Hooker took the lead for good with a reversal, eventually winning the match, 7-5.

But the Buckeyes crept closer at 184 pounds, as No. 13 Mike Pucillo defeated senior Luke Hogle, 11-4.

Senior co-captain Jerry Rinaldi demonstrated why he is ranked No. 2 in the nation at 197 pounds and gave Cornell a 13-9 lead when he defeated No. 5 J.D. Bergman, 4-3, in the most anticipated match of the day. Entering the third period in a 2-2 stalemate, Rinaldi earned a reversal with 15 seconds remaining in the match to tack on another win in his impressive collegiate career and staking the Red to a 13-9 advantage.

Senior Zach Hammond couldn’t duplicate his success in the Body Bar Invitational — where he earned the individual title — as he was pinned by the Buckeyes’ Corey Morrison in the heavyweight matchup, giving Ohio State a 15-13 lead overall.

At 125 pounds, Rodriguez took full advantage of his first career dual match start, earning an 8-0 major decision over Will Livingston. Rodriguez compiled three takedowns, an escape and a 2:09 advantage in riding time in the contest to regain the lead for the Red, 17-15, going into the last match of the afternoon.

Junior Nick Bridge took on No. 18 T.J. Enright at 133 pounds, grappling for all the marbles. Heading into the third period down 3-1, Bridge earned an escape to pull within one but was subsequently taken down by Enright to put the match away, eventually falling 3-5. With the win, Ohio State snuck by the Red, 18-17.

As part of the Red’s Community Challenges matches, three dollars was donated to Hospice of Ithaca for each person that attended the contest. More than $7,000 was raised at the event.