January 16, 2009

Newly No. 2 Red Returns Home for Dual Match

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Last week, the wrestling team walked right into the proverbial lion’s den of Division I competition at the National Duals and emerged as the tournament runner-up with three victories in four tries, defeating Michigan, No. 5 Ohio State and then-No. 2 Iowa State.
Now ranked second in the country, the Red will be hosting Eastern Michigan in the Friedman Wrestling Center tomorrow at 1 p.m. with a chance to push its dual meet record to 5-1 and solidify the Red’s position as the Ivy League giant-killer.
Eastern Michigan is coming off two straight wins and has a current record of 4-6. In its latest victory, the team beat Cleveland State on Jan. 11, 31-10. The Eagles are 0-2, however, against the Red. [img_assist|nid=34142|title=Over the top|desc=Sophomore Colin McDonald struggles with No. 5 Ryan Mergen from Army during the Body Bar Invitational in Ithaca on Nov. 22. While McDonald lost the match, the Red placed third overall.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
The last time the two teams met was on Jan. 4, 2003, and the Cornell squad definitely came out on top, winning 31-9. Cornell also won the only other match between the two schools by a wide margin, defeating Eastern Michigan 30-10 in 1996.
The Eagles’ third-year head coach, Derek DelPorto, is a former assistant coach for the Red, joining the coaching staff in 2002 and staying through the 2005 season.
DelPorto has no illusions about the odds his team will be up against on Saturday.
“We’ll need all the momentum we can get going into the next two dual meets as we take on Cornell,” DelPorto said, according to Eastern Michigan’s athletics website.
DelPorto hopes that the experience will be a productive on for his team.
“Sunday will be fun for us,” he said. “I haven’t competed at Cornell since I coached there, so I am looking forward to sitting on the opposing side this time around.”
The Eagles have a strong undergrad class, including redshirt freshman J.J. Johnson at 149 pounds and Wes Schroeder in the heavyweight division.
Expect the Red to come out strong behind senior captain Jordan Leen, junior Troy Nickerson and sophomore Mack Lewnes, all of whom emerged from the National Duals undefeated through four matches in their respective weight classes. Lewnes remains undefeated on the season.