The wrestling team made room for another Ivy League banner inside the Friedman Wrestling Center this past weekend, as it captured its fifth straight Ivy title after sweeping Harvard and Brown by scores of 34-9 and 28-10, respectively.
The wins against Harvard and Brown completed an undefeated Ivy season for the Red, running its consecutive Ivy victories streak to 28 straight dual matches. The Red (9-5, 5-1 EIWA) then defeated Delaware State by a score of 44-4 on Saturday afternoon to end its dual match season with eight consecutive wins.
[img_assist|nid=21482|title=Zack attack|desc=Junior Zach Hammond (top), pictured in Cornell’s 56-0 defeat of Princeton on Feb. 10, pinned Andre Knapp in the Red’s 34-9 victory over Harvard on Friday.|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=73]
“We expected it,” said head coach Rob Koll. “When you expect to win like we did, it would have been more of a disappointment if we hadn’t won it. Considering that we’ve now won five Ivy titles in a row and that we’re going into Easterns, we’re putting this one away and looking forward to winning the one we haven’t won in a while.”
Against the Crimson, the Red won seven of 10 matches, with junior Nick Bridge, senior Joey Hooker and junior Zach Hammond all winning with pins.
Bridge, wrestling at 133 pounds, started the bout and put Cornell up 6-0 by pinning Harvard’s Simon Orozco, who was filling in for Harvard’s No. 12 ranked Robbie Preston. Freshman Corey Manson then took on Harvard’s Max Meltzer, ranked No. 16 in the country at 141 pounds. Despite a spirited effort, Manson came up a point short as he lost a 4-3 decision. In the meet’s most anticipated match, No. 4 sophomore Jordan Leen won a 5-3 decision against Harvard’s No. 6 ranked J.P. O’Connor.
“Jordan controlled the whole match,” Koll said. “We wanted to see how our guys did in some individual matchups and nobody disappointed. There is a reason why we wrestle well late in the season.”
After Leen’s match, Harvard’s Bobby Latessa defeated sophomore Drake Hovis by a score of 6-4 at 157 pounds.
Up 9-3, Cornell then won matches at 165 and 174 pounds. After going into overtime with Harvard’s Frankie Colletta, sophomore Steve Anceravage scored two points to win the bout at 165. Hooker, wrestling at 174, gave Cornell a comfortable lead after pinning the Crimson’s Fred Rowsey in the second period to give the Red a 18-6 lead.
“[Hooker’s] had some great competition all year long,” Koll said. “Now that the level of competition that he’s wrestling against has sort of come down, he’s really starting to dominate people. Even though he’s wrestled close matches with some of the top guys early, he’s always the kind of guy who really comes on late in season.”
No. 15-ranked Louis Caputo bested senior Luke Hogle at 184 pounds by a score of 6-1. Cornell would take the last three matches of the dual meet as senior Jerry Rinaldi won by technical fall, 17-1, against Jon Butler and junior Zach Hammond continued to wrestle well by pinning Andrew Knapp at heavyweight.
“I definitely have been feeling good,” Hammond said. “It’s been a while since I’ve been healthy a full year, and now everything is coming together. Everything seems to be wide open at heavyweight. It’s just a matter of doing it.”
In the last contest of the night, junior Mike Rodriguez defeated Ryan Fitzgerald at 125 pounds by a tech fall score of 22-5.
The Red clinched its Ivy title on Saturday, defeating Brown after a pin from Hogle and two technical falls from Rinaldi and Leen.
Hogle put the Bears’ Matt Gevelinger on his back to kick off the dual at 184 pounds. Rinaldi then followed with his technical fall to give the Red a 11-0 lead after two matches. Hammond then won a 13-7 decision at heavyweight, and Rodriguez followed suit at 125 pounds, besting Gred Einfrank by a score of 7-4. Despite two consecutive losses at 133 and 141 pounds, Leen then scored his technical fall against the Bears’ Bryan Tracy.
Wrestling in both their first dual contests of the season, freshman Brian Alves and senior David Post competed for the Red at 157 and 165 pounds. Alves lost a 11-1 major decision, while Post impressed after winning a 5-4 decision. Hooker then closed out the match in definitive fashion, winning his second match in as many days by a score of 9-2.
Cornell then defeated Delaware State thanks in part to four forfeits. Hogle, a natural 174-pounder, pinned his second man of the day wrestling at 184. The match was then accented by bonus point victories from Hovis’ 14-4 major decision at 157, Post’s 12-4 major decision at 165 and Hooker’s 20-3 technical fall at 174.
“You can say confidence is high,” Hammond said. “Koll hasn’t won an EIWA title in a while. It’s about time for us to go out and win one for him. We definitely want to win it and it’s something we should be able to take care of.”