Rochester native Yianni Diakomihalis became the first true freshman to win a national championship for Cornell wrestling since the legendary Kyle Dake ’13 did so in 2010.
At 141, Diakomihalis defeated top-seeded Bryce Meredith of Wyoming by 7-4 decision on Saturday evening in the final round of the NCAA Championships in Cleveland.
Diakomihalis has been among the standouts for the Red this season, sporting a 31-1 record prior to the national tournament, including 24 bonus point wins.
At the NCAA Championships, Diakomihalis was placed as a No. 3 seed and grinded his way to the finals, knocking off the No. 2 seed Jaydin Eierman of Missouri — the same wrestler that handed Diakomihalis his only loss earlier in the season.
In the finals, Diakomihalis readied to face Meredith — a wrestler he had already beaten this season at the Cliff Keen invitational on Dec. 2, 2017 by a 4-2 decision. Meredith took a 2-point lead in the 3rd period, but Diakomihalis stayed strong, earning a late takedown and near fall of his opponent to earn another victory.
It’s the Red’s first national champion since Gabe Dean ’17 and Nahshon Garrett ’16 won at the national tournament at the end of the 2015-16 season.