February 20, 2009

Wrestling Looks to Clinch Ivy Championship

Print More

The wrestling team has a chance to continue its run of Ivy League domination this weekend. Cornell, which is ranked second in the nation, will travel to face Brown today and Harvard tomorrow. If the Red wins both matches, it will capture a seventh consecutive Ivy League Championship.
“We really expect to win it,” said junior Troy Nickerson. “We don’t consider it one of our top goals. We see it as something that we should win every year.”
The Red (10-2, 3-0 Ivy) should be optimistic about its chances. Brown (3-5, 2-1 Ivy) and Harvard (4-10, 1-2 Ivy) lost to Penn by scores of 34-6 and 35-12, respectively. Cornell defeated the Quakers, 24-9, last weekend.
Last season, the Red won, 31-9, against the Bears, and beat the Crimson, 37-9.
“Going 20-0 [in matches] would be more likely than us losing a meet,” said sophomore Mack Lewnes.
While 20-0 may seem like a surreal goal, it certainly is not out of the question considering the discrepancy in overall talent. Most of Cornell’s regular starters will compete this weekend; however, senior Jordan Leen, a defending National champion, is taking the weekend off. Freshman Derek Schreiner will wrestle in Leen’s usual slot at 157 pounds.
“I expect him to do well. He’s a three-time Minnesota state champion,” Nickerson said. “He’s getting bigger and making a good transition to college wrestling.”
Schreiner will need to come through if the Red hopes to win all of its matches this weekend. Even if the Red is able to sweep Brown, repeating that feat at Harvard would be a tough proposition. Harvard has three wrestlers ranked in the top-7 of its respective weight classes.
“We’re going to have a few tough matches, but our team is at the level where it’s definitely possible to shut out every team we wrestle,” Nickerson said. “That’s our goal going in. If we don’t go 20-for-20, I guarantee we’ll be pretty close.”
It is important that Cornell’s wrestlers do not allow their confidence to get the best of them.
“We know we’re a lot better than these teams, but it’s important not to underestimate anybody,” Lewnes said. “We’re not gonna take anybody for granted.”
After this weekend’s meets, the Red will not compete again until the EIWA championships, which begin March 7. The Red expects to complete its regular season schedule on a high note.
“We’ve been training hard,” Nickerson said. “Everybody is pretty confident we’re going to blow these guys out of the water.”