January 30, 2009

Trip to Tennessee Is Homecoming for Leen, Manson

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Wrestlers Jordan Leen, a senior, and Corey Manson, a sophomore, will enjoy a homecoming of sorts this weekend. The Tennessee natives will lead the wrestling team into their home state where Cornell will square off against Tennessee-Chattanooga.
“I think that [the match was] scheduled so Jordan Leen and Corey Manson can wrestle in front of their home crowds,” said senior Steve Anceravage. “That’s one of the things you miss in college; people you grew up with, family, and friends being able to watch you wrestle.”
Leen appreciates the opportunity.
“It’s an amazing treat,” he said. “I’m real grateful that Coach Koll did this. [Cornell] never wrestled UTC before and may never wrestle them after, so it’s just an absolute treat and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Venues aside, the Red has to take care of business on Sunday. After winning its first four duals of the season, Cornell has dropped two of its last three.
“If [the team] puts it together mentally, there’s no one in the country that can beat [us],” said junior Josh Arnone.
Last weekend, the team apparently did not have it together mentally, as it was upstaged by visiting Missouri. Cornell fell to Missouri and consequently dropped from second to third in the national rankings. The Red hopes to learn from its mistakes and take down the UTC Mocs.
The Red expects to use the same lineup as last weekend. The lineup features top-ranked junior Troy Nickerson and five other wrestlers ranked in the top-18 of their respective weight classes. Sophomore Mack Lewnes, who is ranked No. 1 in the 165-pound weight class, plans to sit out one more week with his injuries.
UTC has only one ranked wrestler — junior Cody Cleveland Jr. is ranked ninth in the 141-pound weight class. The Mocs have had two common opponents with the Red — Missouri and Eastern Michigan. The Mocs lost to the Tigers and Eagles by scores of 32-7 and 25-16, respectively. Cornell defeated EMU 28-10, but lost 18-14 to the aforementioned Tigers.
“We just kind of collapsed under the pressure of the big match,” Anceravage said. “It was more mental than anything. For me in particular, I just wasn’t all there mentally and it showed. When your mind breaks down, your body goes with it.”
With a loss to Missouri, Anceravage dropped from fifth to sixth in the 174-pound weight class rankings. He says that the team has been working harder than usual this week in order to avoid a repeat of last week’s performance.
“We’ve been training extra hard, trying to push our bodies to our limits to train our minds to overcome it,” he said. “Coach Koll calls it ‘Staying close to the pain.’”
Leen corroborated his classmate’s statements.
“We’re training pretty hard this week,” he said. “It’s not that we’re looking past UTC — they have a handful of individuals who can give us trouble — but this week’s focus has been on getting ‘close to the pain’ and trying to develop our mental toughness.”