January 22, 2007

Wrestlers Split Weekend Matches

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In stark contrast to last season, the wrestling team won nine of 10 matches to pull away easily from Arizona State in front of 2,223 people inside Newman Arena yesterday. Last year, Cornell finished fifth in the country at nationals in Oklahoma City, Okla., with a total of 62 team points, only a half point better than the Sun Devils. The match, held inside Bartels Hall, raised donations to benefit the Tompkins County Public Library.

Juniors Steve Anceravage, Jordan Leen and sophomore Adam Frey all received bonus points for the Red in the 38-4 victory.

The win, which improves the Red’s dual record to 2-5, comes long overdue. This is especially true considering the Red lost a tough, 21-19 decision to rival Lehigh on Friday on two back-to-back pins at heavyweight and 125 pounds.

“A lot of the guys were a little down after Lehigh,” Anceravage said. “Obviously, we wanted to go in there and beat our EIWA rivals. There were a lot of things that could have gone our way that just didn’t. It was just more our mistakes then their doing. We gave up a lot a bonus points and that’s just not us. Getting the win here today lifts our spirits a little bit and will give us a boost of confidence going into the next two weeks of training. Last week we had our best week of training and we just want to continue that.”

Arizona State picked up its only win of the day in the meet’s first match as Brian Stith, last year’s national runner up at 157 pounds, won a 13-1 major decision over Cornell’s Drake Hovis to give the Sun Devils an early 4-0 lead.

It was all Cornell from there, however, as Anceravage pinned ASU’s Cameron Smith, who was wrestling up from 149 pounds.

“I have a bit of a bummed knee and knew that kid was not a natural 165-pounder,” Anceravage said. “He looked a little small, so I just wanted to go out, try to end it early and get out of here without any further injury.”

Senior Joey Hooker continued his strong wrestling from Friday, winning a 9-3 decision over Alex Pavlenko at 174 pounds. Senior Luke Hogle followed Hooker’s model for success, riding out Jake Cranford for the entire second period to add a riding time point to his third period escape and takedown to win, 4-1.

Senior Jerry Rinaldi literally rode the wave of Red momentum, winning his match against Arizona State’s Jason Trulson at 197 pounds. With a workman-like effort, Rinaldi used three takedowns and an escape to eventually win 8-2. In vintage Rinaldi fashion, the Lodi, N.J., native was awarded a point for accumulating 2:40 minutes in riding time. Trulson’s only points were scored on escapes in which Rinaldi let him up.

At heavyweight, junior Zach Hammond bested Quinton Pruett 6-2. With two impressive takedowns, Hammond gained control of the match and was eventually awarded an extra point for his 1:32 minute riding time advantage.

After the Red gained six team points when Arizona State failed to send out a wrestler at 125 pounds, Frey continued his torrid assault on collegiate wrestling by pinning Angel Alegre in just 54 seconds to put the Red up 30-4 with two matches remaining. Frey, who stays undefeated, is now ranked third in the country at 133 pounds — a ranking which, according to head coach Rob Koll, still means he has some work to do.

“[Frey’s] just a monster,” Koll said. “He’s ranked third in the country and we really feel he’s still under-ranked. He’s a great guy to have on the team because he’s exciting to watch, he always puts a lot of points on the board and mentally, he’s just so tough. There’s no limit to what he can do this year.”

Freshman Corey Manson impressed at 141 pounds after losing a tough 5-2 decision on Friday night at Lehigh. Against Robert Galvan of Arizona State, Manson found his winning ways and won 10-9 after gaining the decisive point with 1:27 in riding time.

The last match of the dual meet ended in bonus point fashion, as junior Jordan Leen put on a clinic in besting Chris Remsen 19-3 by way of technical fall.

“You’re always looking for bonus points,” Leen said. “For the team’s sake, it’s always a good habit to get into, pushing for more points, more points. We’re not training to beat Arizona State. We’re training for March. We’ve had guys come in and train hard all week knowing that March is when things count. I think that attitude shows on the mat.”

With the win, the squad now takes the next two weeks off to train before heading to New York City where it will face sixth ranked Hofstra and Ivy foe Columbia.

“Give us two weeks and when we get everybody back, we’re going to be O.K.,” Koll said. “Like always, we wrestle to peak at the end of season.”