After defeating Hofstra and Nebraska this past weekend, No. 9 Cornell will take on No. 2 Iowa on Friday in the National Duals quarterfinals in what will be an opportunity to advance to the semifinals and pick up the program’s 750th all-time win.
According to senior Joe Stanzione, Iowa is a formidable opponent, but the Red is capable of performing well against the Hawkeyes.
“[Iowa] has a traditionally tough line up — but not impenetrable,” he said.
At 125 pounds, No. 5 Nahshon Garrett will take on No. 1 Matt McDonough. Though McDonough has the advantage in the match, Garrett has won 33 matches this season — the most of any other wrestler on the Red.
Bricker Dixon will take on No. 2 Tony Ramos, who is 4-0 against ranked opponents this season. Dixon and Ramos wrestle at the 133-pound weight class.
Though Cornell’s No. 10 Mike Nevinger is ranked two spots below No. 8 Mark Ballweg in the 141-pound class, Nevinger is no underdog. He is 30-9 during the 2013 campaign.
At the 149-pound class, Chris Villalonga will take on Brody Grothus. Villalonga is favored to win in this match-up; Grothus is just 1-7 against ranked opponents this season.
At 157 pounds, Jesse Shanaman will take on No. 1 Derek St. John. Shanaman is still looking to prove that he is worthy of an NCAA spot and a win against St. John would improve his resume.
At 165 pounds, No. 1 Kyle Dake will wrestle No. 3 Mike Evans. Winner of an NCAA championship at three different weight classes since his freshman year, Dake is highly favored to defeat Evans. Dake also recorded his 16th fall of the season last weekend and is one fall shy of the school record, which he will now have the opportunity to break.
“He trains harder than anyone and with great training comes great confidence,” said assistant coach Mike Grey.
According to Stanzione, Dake will need to pick up bonus points if the Red is to win against Iowa.
The Red rounds off its lineup with Duke Pickett taking on Grant Gambrall or No.14 Ethen Lofthouse at 184 pounds, No. 4 Steve Bosak taking on No. 19 Nathan Burak, and Jacob Aiken-Phillips taking on No. 6 Bobby Telford.
Despite a challenge ahead, the Red remains confident going into the weekend as the underdog.
“I think Iowa will also be a bit off guard with what we bring to the table,” Stanzione said. “They are going to be expecting to hammer us, but I think they are soon going to find out that we are fairly capable of beating them.”
Original Author: Skyler Dale