No. 9 Cornell wrestling beat two more ranked teams this weekend, narrowly edging out No. 14 Virginia Tech, 17-16, before flexing dominance over No. 13 North Carolina, 29-5.
The Red began with a bang on Friday as sophomore Max Dean — ranked 13th in the 184 weight class — earned a major decision over a No. 3 ranked Virginia Tech wrestler.
“[Dean] dominated … from the whistle,” wrote head coach Rob Koll in an email to fans. “Max is peaking at the right time.”
No. 7 ranked senior Ben Honis followed up Dean’s performance with a win by decision, and was only two points away from securing the major decision win.
In the third match of the day, the Hokies put points on the board with a decision over senior heavyweight Jeramy Sweany. Sweany led the first three periods of the match before the Hokie wrestler gained advantage with a spin move.
Next, three nationally-ranked lighter-weight Cornell wrestlers each won their matches by decision: No. 8 freshman Vitali Arujau, No. 13 junior Chas Tucker and top-ranked sophomore Yianni Diakomihalis. Diakomihalis was held to only his third win by decision of the season.
The Hokies then claimed victory on the final four matches of the day, though not without some highlights for the Red.
Senior William Koll, filling in for an injured Jonathan Furnas in the 149 weight class, held his opponent to only a three-point win margin, despite not expecting to compete this season.
After his opponent scored eight points within the first period, junior Adam Santoro of the 157 weight class was unable to come back for the win and lost by decision.
Freshman Andrew Berreyesa lost by major decision in the 157 weight class. No. 14 junior Brandon Womack followed with another loss, but managed to hold his highly ranked opponent to a win by decision, which proved crucial — the Red won the competition by only one point.
On Saturday, the Red was a better-oiled machine against a top-five foe.
The match started out with a No. 4 ranked North Carolina wrestler winning over Koll by technical fall. The Tar Heels would not win again — it was decisions all day for the Red after that first matchup.
The Red’s wins by decision included three over No. 20 ranked Tar Heels, in the 157, 285 and 133 weight classes by Santoro, Sweany and Tucker.
Although Sweany is not currently ranked, this was his third victory over a ranked wrestler this season.
Another highlight of the day was a decision by Dean over his No. 14 ranked opponent. Dean initially trailed before tying up the score late in the second period by way of takedown. In the third period, an escape and another takedown secured the sophomore’s victory.
The weekend wins extended the Red’s winning streak to eight matches. Cornell has two still-undefeated wrestlers: Arujau and Diakomihalis.
Next up, with Furnas expected to return to the lineup, the Red will take on Ohio State on Friday evening in its final home competition of the season.