The wins keep on coming for Cornell wrestling. Following a dominant 33-5 home victory over Columbia Saturday, the Red hit the road Sunday and topped No. 23 Lock Haven, 20-18, for its fifth-straight win.
Heading into the final four matches of Sunday’s contest, the Bald Eagles (11-4) held a 15-8 lead over the Red. The situation became pressing, and it was unclear if the Red (9-2) would emerge victorious. But key wins by junior Brandon Womack (174) and freshman No. 10 Max Dean (184) pulled Cornell within one point.
Down by one in the twilight of the contest, the Red turned to freshman standout No. 3 Ben Darmstadt as it had many times before. A victory by the rookie grappler would give his team the lead. After 67 seconds, the match was over. Not only did Darmstadt take care of business by winning his match, but he pinned Lock Haven’s Trey Hartsock, giving Cornell the breathing room it would need for its ninth win of the season.
The string of victories late in the meet by Womack, Dean and Darmstadt was a welcome sight, though it did not come as much of a surprise to head coach Rob Koll.
“Womack has struggled as of late so it was nice to see him take two matches this weekend,” Koll said. “Dean and Darmstadt have only lost three matches between them for the entire season so we have grown accustomed to counting on these two freshmen.”
In addition to Darmstadt’s win by fall, a bonus point win against the Bald Eagles came from another one of Cornell’s dominant freshman. No. 4 Yianni Diakomihalis won by technical fall over Kyle Schoop, 19-3.
Darmstadt and Diakomihalis combined for more than half of the Red’s points on Sunday, representative of their impact on the team this season. They each picked up two bonus point wins on the weekend to bring their season totals to 21 and 19, respectively.
Despite picking up two more wins, Koll expected more from his team but recognized the difficult circumstances.
“It is … very tough to wrestle at home, hop on a bus and turn around and wrestle the following day,” he said. “It’s not ideal but our guys need to learn to wrestle well even when the environment is not perfect. As a team we didn’t achieve that goal today. I am thankful we still came away with the victory.”
Saturday’s match against Columbia (3-10) on the other hand saw Cornell in the driver’s seat from start to finish. Beginning the meet with a fall from Darmstadt, the Red ended the day with five bonus point victories and only two losses.
Two weight classes — 157 and heavyweight — did not see any wins over the weekend despite heavyweight wrestler Jeramy Sweany’s return on Sunday.
“Sweany has missed a couple weeks due to injury,” Koll said. “I expect he will improve markedly in a short period of time.”
With the win over Columbia, Cornell picked up its 81st consecutive Ivy League victory and continues to lead the Ancient Eight with a record of 3-0.
After an evening meet at Drexel on Friday, the Red will visit Penn (8-5) and Princeton (2-7) on Saturday to close out Ivy League play and look to clinch the program’s 16th-straight Ivy League title.