Cornell wrestling is in the homestretch of the regular season, wrapping up its final duals at home this weekend. On Senior Day Saturday, the team came away with a victory against Binghamton, but fell in its following match to North Carolina the next day.
Saturday’s Senior Day dual honored the Red’s 12 seniors for their contributions and dedication to the program: Noah Baughman, Milik Dawkins, Jacob Lehr, Ian McNitt, Jimmy Overhiser, Rami Pellumbi, Max Pickett, Mike Russo, Matt Russo, Chris Schoenherr, Chas Tucker and Brandon Womack.
“It makes me proud to have had all of these guys with us for this long — it is a brutal sport and you don’t always get the rewards if you’re not starting,” said head coach Rob Koll. “Without the guys who don’t start, though, there would be no one to train with — that’s why our team has been so consistently successful. It’s because of those guys who are the unsung heroes.”
In addition to celebrating the seniors, the Red (10-7, 4-1) celebrated a 32-8 win against the Bearcats (3-11, 2-9), a fellow EIWA opponent. The victory against Binghamton marks the Red’s 38th consecutive win over New York competition.
The dual opened in favor of the Red with a 4-3 decision by Baugman in the 141 lbs bout. With just five seconds left, the senior capitalized on a takedown.
Junior Hunter Richard hit the mat to take on Matt Swanson in the 149 lbs match. Five takedowns later, Richard clinched the 15-4 major decision. Junior Adam Santoro took a win by forfeit to push the Red to a 13-0 lead.
Senior Chris Schoenherr made his season debut and delivered an energetic performance, clinching a major decision at 165 lbs. Sophomore Andrew Berreyesa rolled through his 174 lbs competition, widening the scoring gap to 20-0.
The Red took its first loss in the 184 lbs bout. Freshman Jonathan Loew took on No. 5 Lou DePrez, who defeated the Red wrestler by major decision, 15-4. Sophomore Ben Darmstadt neutralized the loss in the 197 lbs match, pinning his competition in 1:48.
The Bearcats’ last victory of the day came at the heavyweight round — Cornell senior Seth Janney suffered a major defeat of 11-2.
Closing out Senior Day in the Red’s favor, sophomore Dom LaJoie eked out a 4-3 winning margin at 125 lbs and Tucker improved his individual season record to 26-0, taking down his ranked opponent — Binghamton’s Zack Trampe.
The next day Cornell hosted the Tar Heels as a part of its annual Rumble and Tumble dual, where the Red wrestled while Cornell gymnastics held a meet of its own in the Newman Area. Despite a packed house and a high-energy crowd, the Red wrestlers failed to come out on top against No. 8 North Carolina (13-2, 3-1).
“This weekend I think we looked tired,” Koll said. “I’m not sure if it was because of how we trained, or sometimes this just happens … I have high expectations for these guys and they just didn’t seem as sharp as usual.”
The Tar Heels claimed four consecutive wins, starting off the dual. Richard took on No. 3 Austin O’Connor and dropped a 10-3 loss. Santoro also fell to his No. 11 opponent A.C. Headlee in a close 9-7 decision.
Schoenherr, who dominated his Bearcat opponent the day before, faltered against his Tar Heel competition. Berreyesa also couldn’t recapture Saturday’s energy, losing 6-0.
Loew entered Sunday reinvigorated and scored the first win of the day for the Red with a major decision against Joey Mazzara at 184 lbs. After the first period, the freshman trailed 2-1, but clinched four near-fall points, two takedowns and three minutes of riding time in the final periods to drive home the match.
However, this positive momentum did not last long. Darmstadt struggled against his Tar Heel opponent in a 6-2 loss.
Coming up on the final few bouts of the day, sophomore Brendan Furman knocked off his heavyweight opponent — the match stalemated at 1-1 in the third period, but he picked up the takedown to finish with a favorable 3-1 score.
LaJoie led his 125 lbs match 1-0 into the final period, while Tar Heel Joey Melendez took the late advantage, pinning the Red sophomore and sending North Carolina to victory.
Although the fate of the match was already sealed, the Red continued to fight and picked up wins at 133 and 141 lbs. Tucker vanquished his opponent 4-1 to maintain his flawless individual record. Baughman upset his No. 12 competitor Zach Sherman — after escaping with 1:20 left — the senior sent the match into sudden victory, where he converted on a takedown to steal the win.
This last-ditch effort was not enough for the Red to topple the Tar Heels, who clinched a 21-13 win. Cornell only has one regular-season dual meet left before the EIWA and NCAA championships.
“We have to stay healthy — That’s what’s most important with the upcoming competition … I am glad that the dual meet season is coming to an end and we can rest these guys up for the postseason,” Koll said.
The Red will wrestle its last regular-season dual on Saturday, when it will face off against Lock Haven University at 6 p.m.