This weekend, the Red won its 10th straight Ivy League title after annihilating Columbia, 30-9, and continued its dominance by handing Hofstra (10-1, 4-0 CAA) its first loss of the season, 22-12.
“Our wrestlers have never lost a dual in the league, so they might not appreciate how important this [Ivy League] championship is to our program,” said head coach Rob Koll. “On the other hand, even though it has been 11 years since we lost our last Ivy match, I still vividly recall our last defeat. As much as I personally enjoy winning the title, I have to admit it is the pain of defeat that motivates me the most.”
Despite its dominance over most of its oppositon, members of the squad remain humble about the team’s success.
“For us winning the Ivy League is expected, but winning for the 10th consecutive time is pretty special to be a part of — it is a great accomplishment,” said senior Frank Perrelli.
One of the most notable matches of the showdown with the Lions (4-3-0, 0-1-0 Ivy) was Perrelli’s. Opening for the Red at 125 pounds, he notched his 100th career victory with a win over Columbia’s Robert Dyar. Perrelli held a 6-0 lead after the first period with a takedown and two two-point nearfalls. He increased his advantage to 8-0 with a reversal from his starting down position in the second. Dyar chose to start the third on top and Perrelli reversed him once again. With two more back points and riding time, Perrelli won a 13-0 major decision.
“Honestly, I had no idea it was my 100th win, I just heard them announce it after my match,” Perrelli said. “I’m not too concerned with how many wins I have or my record. I am just focused on winning nationals individually, as well as a team right now.”
In the 133 pound weight class, Sophomore Nick Arujau battled against Columbia’s Kyle Gilchrist. The two ended the first period scoreless and Arujau scored the sole point of the second period when he escaped from his opening down position. Gilchrist chose neutral for the third. Arujau took him down 15 seconds into the period and with 1:25 in riding time, won a 4-0 decision.
Before the Hofstra matchup, the Red honored its eight seniors: Quin Leith, Maciek Jochym, Warner Phipps, Derek Schreiner, Cam Simaz, Phillip Smith, Perrelli and team manager Lexy Cook. The Red went on to earn its second win of the weekend, beating the Pride in a close grudge match, 22-12. This extra win increased Cornell’s record to 10-0.
“Hofstra slowed the wrestling down and kept matches close,” Koll said. “By wrestling in this manner they were able to steal a couple victories at the end of matches. In too many matches we permitted this to happen by not forcing the action. Shame on us for trying to win easily.”
At 157 pounds, junior Kyle Dake grabbed a takedown midway through the first period against Tyler Banks. Dake immediately reversed Banks from his starting down position in the second period, let Banks back up to neutral, but then took him down once more to hold a 6-1 advantage after two periods. Looking to increase his lead at the opening of the third period, Dake let Banks up from his starting down position and added two more takedowns to win with an 11-3 major decision.
The first round of the NWCA/Cliff Keen Division I Dual Meet Championships is set for Sunday, at Newman Arena. The Red hosts Central Michigan, No. 18 Oklahoma, Purdue, No. 21 Illinois and No. 11 American for duals at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m., with the finals at 2 p.m.
“Our next step is National Duals next weekend, and hopefully the final four the weekend after,” Perrelli said. “For the rest of the season our focus will continue to be the NCAA tournament, as it has been the entire year. I think I speak for the entire team when I say that our goal is to win a national title in March.”
“I am immensely thankful that this team has managed to remain undefeated through the regular season,” Koll added. “We have faced a rigorous schedule so this is no small accomplishment. Going forward we need to keep everyone healthy and hit one last physical peak in March. I would love to win the national duals but our main focus is on the individual NCAA championships in March.”
Original Author: Haley Velasco