February 16, 2009

Wrestling Shows Who’s Boss Against Penn, Princeton

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[img_assist|nid=35150|title=Hug it out|desc=The wrestling team routed Princeton and Penn this weekend. Penn, the Red’s closest Ivy rival, didn’t put up much of a fight. The Red is looking to stay in top form going into future matches.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
On Saturday, the Red faced Princeton (2-15, 0-4 Ivy) in what turned out to be a rout of the Tigers. Cornell used four pins and three forfeits as they romped to a 54-0 victory.
The Red scored the maximum six points in seven of their matches. Top-ranked junior Troy Nickerson won by fall at 125 pounds. Sophomore Mack Lewnes and senior Steve Anceravage — ranked first and sixth in their respective weight classes — pinned opponents in consecutive matches at 165 pounds and 174 pounds. Freshman Cam Simaz, who has climbed to No. 16 in the 197-pound weight class rankings, also pinned his opponent from Princeton. Senior Zach Hammond and sophomores Mike Grey and Corey Manson each won by forfeit.
No. 3 senior Jordan Leen built an 18-2 lead in his match at 157 pounds. The scoring margin triggered a win by technical fall. At 184 pounds, sophomore Justin Kerber earned a 13-3 major decision. His classmate, Eric McGill, scored a 5-0 decision at 149 pounds.
Yesterday, the Red was challenged by Penn (11-6, 3-1 Ivy), a much more competitive opponent than Princeton. With the exception of 2001 — when Harvard and Penn shared the conference crown — Cornell and Penn have monopolized the Ivy League Championship since 1983. This year appears to be no different. Heading into yesterday’s matchup between the two conference powerhouses, Cornell and Penn were both undefeated in conference and were the only nationally ranked teams in the Ivy League.
“[Penn] came in with a great strategy; they came in with the strategy of keep it close and try to steal victories at the end of the matches,” Anceravage said. “In the end, we dominated.”
Cornell won 7-of-10 matches en route to a 24-9 victory. Troy Nickerson scored an 8-4 decision over a ranked opponent. Eleventh-ranked Mike Grey finished just short of a major decision while prevailing 10-3 at 133 pounds. In a hard-fought match in the 141-pound weight class, Corey Manson lost 5-4 after his late attacks failed to score points.
Sophomore DJ Meagher, who did not compete Saturday, built a 3-0 lead over Penn’s No. 10 wrestler at 149 pounds. However, Meagher was unable to sustain his lead and lost a 6-3 decision. At 157 pounds, Jordan Leen was able to sustain his lead over the No. 9 wrestler in his weight class. Leen was victorious by a score of 4-1.
Lewnes needed a sudden death overtime takedown of No. 19 Zack Shanaman to earn his 6-4 victory. Steve Anceravage also competed against the No. 19 wrestler in his weight class. Anceravage took down his opponent twice early, but was defensive later in the match due to an elbow injury. He was able to hold on for an 8-3 win.
“It was good to get a win on senior night. As far the overall performance, I’m not very satisfied,” he said. “Instead of continuing to be aggressive, I laid back.”
Anceravage was disappointed that he wrestled passively after sustaining his injury. Head coach Rob Koll expects the senior to battle through the pain the remainder of this season.
“He’s going to have to deal with it,” Koll said. “Once it gets to this time of the season, you’re not allowed to be injured.”
Justin Kerber trailed entering the final period of his match against Penn, but the sophomore took control late and earned an 8-5 decision. Cam Simaz was the only athlete to score bonus points on the day. He pinned his opponent during the third period. In the heavyweight matchup, Zach Hammond held a 4-0 lead, but eventually lost 5-4 in overtime.
“[On the weekend], we lost three matches out of 20 and we could have won all 20,” Koll said, “We’re not perfect and we’re going to have to be perfect if we want to win a National Championship, but we’re getting closer. I’m pretty pleased with everyone from top to bottom.”