No. 4 Cornell wrestling (12-3, 8-0 EIWA) wrapped up its dual meet season on Saturday vs. No. 8 Ohio State (13-3, 6-2 Big Ten) at FloDuals in Tampa, Fl. With upcoming conference and national tournaments a large part of the focus, there was a large degree of doubt leading up to the meet as to whether top wrestlers from either team would feature.
Leading up the meet, head coach Mike Grey ’11 wasn’t certain on what the lineup would look like.
“Last dual of the year before we get into postseason — it’ll be interesting to see how full each lineup is…[and] whether they bring all their starters, [and] if we do,” said Grey.
What resulted was a mixture of both the top wrestlers and younger athletes competing for the Red. Star wrestlers from Cornell — like No. 1 senior Yianni Diakomihalis and No. 4 junior Chris Foca — didn’t feature, while No. 3 junior Vito Arujau and No. 8 sophomore Julian Ramirez took center stage.
The dual started off poorly for the Red, as top ranked wrestlers from the Buckeyes took the first three matches of the day. Among these, an injury default victory by No. 3 Sammy Sasso of Ohio State over senior Sal Jones at 149 pounds and a major decision win by No. 24 Paddy Gallagher over sophomore Cole Handlovic at 157 left Cornell looking to dig out of a 13-0 hole.
Ramirez fired back with a huge 16-1 technical fall victory at 165, and freshman Christian Hansen, deputizing for Foca at 174, got a cagey 6-4 win, but it wasn’t enough as
Ohio State continued to pile on the points. A win by No. 15 junior Jacob Cardenas at 197 and Arujau’s triumph over No. 8 Jesse Mendez at 133 kept the contest close, but Ohio State ultimately took the dual 22-14.
Cornell now looks ahead to the EIWA championships where they will attempt to defend their title after an 8-0 conference season. Cornell’s individual wrestlers will also look to bolster their rankings in order to qualify for the NCAA championships. Diakomihalis, Arujau and Foca are the top ranked wrestlers at their weight in the conference, and Cardenas, No. 17 freshman Vince Cornella and No. 19 junior Jonathan Loew will also be favorites to qualify. No. 28 senior Brendan Furman will have to battle his way through an extremely strong heavyweight division to make the tournament.
The EIWA Championships will take place at the Palestra in Philadelphia, PA on Saturday, March 4 and Sunday, March 5. Competition starts at 10:30 a.m. both days and will continue all day, and can be streamed on FloWrestling.
Nate Krackeler is a Sun Contributing Writer. He can be reached at [email protected]