Marshall Peppelman was in seventh grade when he first started attending Rob Koll’s Cornell wrestling camps in the summer with his teammates. His team attended the camp every summer and Peppelman’s relationship grew with Koll as did his admiration for the Cornell wrestling program. But it wasn’t until Peppelman started looking at colleges when he realized that Cornell offered everything he was looking for in a college..
“It seemed like a great fit,” said Peppelman. “I loved the campus. I love the guys that are there now. I love the coaching staff. I feel like it’s a place where I can win a national title and also get a great education”
For all these reasons, Peppelman gave a verbal commitment to Cornell on Tuesday.
He considered several different colleges, including Ohio State, Virginia, Lehigh, Iowa, and Iowa State during the recruiting process … a process that he is happy to put behind him.
“It was fun, but it was also a little stressful,” said Peppelman. “It’s the first really big decision you have in your life. It determines your future. I had a lot on my plate. I’m definitely relieved now to know that it’s over now and I can just concentrate on wrestling.”
Peppelman, who is ranked as the No. 4 recruit in the country, is one of four Pennsylvania wrestlers listed among the top six recruits in the country by InterMat. The other three, No. 2 Andrew Alton, No. 5 Dylan Alton, and No. 6 Josh Kindig have already verbally committed to colleges. The Altons committed to Penn State in the spring, while Kindig gave his verbal commitment on Sunday. Peppleman takes pride in the fact that Pennsylvania has such a strong senior class.
“It’s awesome,” said Peppelman. “I’m good friends with Dylan, Andrew, and Josh. All the top wrestlers in Pennsylvania, we’re all friends. We all joke around at the state tournament. We’re all happy for each other. I’m really happy for both Dylan and Andrew, Josh, and Sam (Sherlock) … we’re all going to places where we’re happy. It stinks that we didn’t all end up at the same place because that would have just been phenomenal. But different people like different things.
Peppelman, who attends Central Dauphin High School in Pennsylvania, is a two-time a two-time PIAA champion, two-time Beast of the East champion, three-time POWERade champion, and a Super 32 champion. He enters his senior season with a career record of 130-7. He is ranked as InterMat’s No. 4 recruit in the country.
Last season, Peppelman went a perfect 46-0 to capture the PIAA title at 152 pounds in Class AAA. He projects collegiately at 165 pounds.
Peppelman is considering studying either business in Cornell’s Applied Economics and Management (AEM) program or following in his father’s footsteps and studying pre-medicine.
Even though Peppelman still has a year of high school left, he has already started building relationships with some of the Cornell wrestlers and coaches.
“All the guys are great,” said Peppelman. “I was fortunate enough to stay with Mack Lewnes on my recruiting trip. He’s just an awesome guy. You can’t find a better individual. He’s an awesome wrestler to top it off. To have the opportunity to work out with him will be amazing. You have Jordan Leen on staff. You have Coach (Damion) Hahn, Coach (Clint) Wattenberg, and Coach (Jeremy) Spates … so I have a lot of great drilling partners and coaches around my weight class to really push me and help me achieve my goals.”
Ivy League schools, like Cornell, are not allowed to redshirt athletes unless there is legitimate injury to the athlete, which means Peppelman will likely be competing for a spot in the Big Red lineup immediately as a true freshman.
“I’m going to try to spend some time up there this summer, train, and get ready to step in as a freshman … and hopefully be competitive,” said Peppelman. “That would be the goal … to be there on the podium as a true freshman. I certainly have my work cut out for me, so I have a lot of training to do as opposed to having that redshirt year like a lot of others do.”
Peppelman’s older brother, Walter, was a three-time Pennsylvania state finalist, and now wrestles at Harvard. Last season, Walter finished his true freshman campaign with a 21-13 record and qualified for the NCAA Championships at 149 pounds. The two brothers remain close.
“We talk almost every day,” said Marshall Peppelman. “Seeing college wrestling through his eyes last year, it’s definitely a huge transition going from high school to college. I know that I definitely have a lot of work to do. It’s no small task to even qualify for the nationals as a true freshman. I’m looking forward to the challenge. I like being the underdog. I enjoyed being the freshman in high school that no one really saw coming. It will be fun to work my way up again.”
If Peppelman’s high school career is any indication, it won’t take long for him to work his way up in college.
***STORY ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED BY INTERMAT/ANDREW HIPPS ON SEPTEMBER 22nd…LHW Thanks InterMat for granting permission to reprint the piece***