This season has looked different for the Red so far. After losing some key players to graduation and suffering a couple of injuries — especially senior Steve Bosak, who is expected to return soon — things didn’t seem promising for Cornell at the very beginning of this season. However, it seems that the Red has persevered and some younger guys have stepped up to keep the team’s momentum heading in the right direction.“It has been a fun ride, seeing guys get better each day. Just coming in and wanting to get better is contagious. It makes the older guys want to get better too,” said senior Kyle Dake. “When you see those guys working so hard, we feed off of each other and I think that it will help us in the long run.”A three-time national champion that comes in the form of Dake is a nice bonus too. He will be competing this season in his fourth weight class since he arrived on the hill — he is currently at 165 lbs — and looks to secure his fourth national championship.Head coach Rob Koll said Dake will “undoubtedly,” win this season again, citing his dedication, mental attitude and skill as the keys to his success.The season began with Cornell’s first matchup against Binghamton on Nov. 16 at home where the Red dominated the Bearcats, 30-7. Highlights included a solid victory from freshman Nahshon Garrett who won his matchup with a 14-1 major decision. Also, Dake, took on Adam Lepkowski in the 165 lbs. class and grabbed a win for the day. Rounding it out was freshman Craig Scott who took on Cody Reed at 184 and narrowly won, 6-4, in a back and forth battle.Cornell then continued its jam-packed weekend as it hosted the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championships on Nov. 17-18. The Red won the team title thanks to four individual champions — Garrett, Scott, junior Mike Nevinger and sophomore Jace Bennett — and 10 place winners for the weekend.Thanks to his wins, Garrett was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Tournament and the EIWA Wrestler of the Week for that week.“The adjustment [to college wrestling] was a bit difficult. I took last year off … and worked on a lot of things, that helped the transition … [be] easier. Once I got the hang of it though, wrestling in the college style is much like second nature [now],” Garrett said.“I think the coaches and Nahshon were the only ones that believed he is as good as he is [in the beginning],” added coach Koll. “He reminds me a lot of a smaller Kyle Dake … People are really taking notice of Nahshon [now].”Garrett went 5-0 for the weekend at the state tournament and is currently 13-0 for the season so far — an impressive feat for a rookie.“All of the older guys have given me some aspect of life or wrestling that I have grown from since I’ve been here. It would be unfair to point out names because they have all been so helpful to me. Obviously the guys with success in college wrestling like Kyle, and Steve will have my full attention because they have done it, but I respect everyone’s opinions and constructive criticisms all the same,” said Garrett. “Just to give a shout out, thanks guys: Joe Stanzione, Chris Villalonga, Billy George, Jake Arnone, Marshall Peppelman [and] Nick Arujau”The Red continued to Albany, N.Y. over Thanksgiving break for the Journeymen Northeast Duals where Cornell was able to defeat Drexel, Central Michigan and Oklahoma University.The matchup against Drexel was a slaughtering, with Cornell beating the Dragons, 40-0. The last two were much closer with the win over Central Michigan being 17-15 and the victory over Oklahoma University being 25-13 for the Red.For the day, Dake and Garrett went 3-0 and Bennett was able to earn bonus points in all three of his wins.Cornell will head into this weekend at the Las Vegas Invitational for a two-day showdown against some tough competitors.“[Las Vegas] is one of our biggest tournaments historically and one of the tougher ones that we have gone to. It tests where we are. I am expecting the same thing this year. There are some tough teams this year — Michigan is going to be there. It is going to be a good test,” Dake said.The team will continue on to the Grapple at the Garden for the first time on Dec. 16.“We are going to be in front of a bunch of Cornellians … We are hoping to make it as much of a home event as possible,” coach Koll said.The wrestlers for the Red will face up against the University of Missouri and Oklahoma State — two matches that are expected to be extremely challenging. The Red will then continue into next semester with the Southern Scuffle in Tennessee and then head into regular play for the rest of the season. The culmination of the season will be the National Duals which will be held in Ithaca at Friedman and then the team will continue into the EIWA and NCAA Championships in the early spring for those who qualify.“[We will] prove to the whole country that Cornell is not to be messed with this year,” Dake said.
Original Author: Haley Velasco