On Tuesday evening, it was confirmed that after weeks of speculation about which Ivy League institution would land his services, Blair Academy senior, Chris Villalonga, had given a verbal commitment to continue his academic and athletic career under the guidance of Big Red head Coach, Rob Koll…This decision came just weeks after Villalonga’s Bucs teammate, #99 recruit Jesse Shanaman, also announced to attend the Ithaca, NY based campus.
With the addition of the three-time defending National Prep champion to their recruiting class, the Big Red have now successfully managed to land both the #3 and #4 recruits in the nation, having received a verbal from Marshall Peppelman (2x PA AAA State Champion) in late September…And what’s scary, is that according to Koll, the Big Red are expected to receive at least three more big name commitments in the coming weeks (per NCAA guidelines, names were not permitted to be discussed)
Villalonga, which in addition to his three National Prep crowns is also a 2x Walsh Ironman Champion/3x finalist, a 2x Beast of the East Champion/3x finalist, as well as a three-time Cadet/Junior National Freestyle All-American (Cadets- 2nd in 2006; 3rd in 2007; Juniors- 5th in 2009).
A cerebral stud in the classroom as well as on the wrestling mat, the Garden State native had his pick of the finest colleges and/or universities that his nation has to offer, selecting Cornell over a field that consisted of the likes of the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Lehigh University, and Rutgers. For several months, message board scuttlebutt had Princeton University also making Villalonga’s short list.
Speaking with InterMat Senior Writer, Andrew Hipps, following the announcement of his college destination, Villalonga eloquently stated that he chose the EIWA perennial powerhouse because as he put it, “In the end, I just felt as though I could achieve all of my goals there. The school speaks for itself both academically and in wrestling. Both of these facts weighed heavily in my decision process.”
Projected as a 141/149 pounder at the next level, the future Cornell AEM School of Business student will find himself with a plethora of excellent workout partners to help him reach all of those goals…In addition to former All-American Mike Grey, 2009 NCAA Qualifier DJ Meagher, and 2009 blue-chip recruits Kyle Dake and Mike Nevinger, the Big Red’s highly acclaimed Friedman Wrestling Center will also offer Villalonga the perk of being able to roll around with and be mentored by a coaching staff the features 2004 NCAA All-American Jeremy Spates, 2008 US Open Senior Freestyle Champion/7x National FS placewinner Matt Azevedo, as well as Koll himself, a 4x NCAA All-American/1988 NCAA Champion….Finger Lakes Wrestling Club coaches, Jordan Leen (2008 NCAA Champion) and Zach Roberson (2004 NCAA Champion) also expected to be active in cultivating Villalong’s immense talent.
As an indicator of how strong this 2010 recruiting class is shaping up to be, at the time of publication, here is where Wrestling Insider Newsmagazine ranked the four recruits who have already committed to Cornell:
140- #2 Chris Villalonga
160- #1 Marshall Peppelman
160- #5 Matthew Cunningham
160- #8 Jesse Shanaman
UPDATE: In the article announcing that Jesse Shanaman had committed to Cornell, it was also mentioned that Blair Academy teammate, Max Huntley, had given a verbal commitment to the University of Missouri that same week…However, earlier this week, Huntley retracted his commitment and will instead has elected to wrestle collegiately for the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.