With the Ivy League schedule less than a week away, Columbia heads in with as much momentum as possible. The Lions hosted three duals yesterday at the University Gymnasium and bested all three opponents in Millersville, Rider, and Franklin & Marshall. The wins bumped Columbia’s record to 6-4, as they are now halfway through a six-match homestand.
The day started off against Millersville at 11 a.m. when the Lions won handedly, 46-3. A forfeit at 125 followed by a pin at 133 courtesy of Kyle Gilchrist got the ball rolling and gave Columbia the early 12-0 lead. The Lions totaled bonus points in eight of its nine victories. Along with Gilchrist, Jake O’Hara (157), Mike Pushpak (197), and Kevin Lester (Hvy) all earned pins.
Next on the docket came Rider. In the closest dual of the day, Columbia bested the Broncs by an 18-14 score. Rider jumped out to an early 12-3 lead by winning every bout from 133 to 157. The Lions stormed back with a run of their own, winning the last three bouts. When Pushpak recorded his second pin of the day, the Lions took the lead, 15-14, as Rider was deducted a team point for unsportsmanlike conduct. Lester finished off the match with his second win of the day.
Columbia finished out the day by breezing through EIWA counterpart F&M courtesy of forfeits at 125, 149, and 197. The team score did not stop Lester from going all out in the heavyweight matchup and the junior from Nampa, Idaho rounded out the 41-7 victory with his second pin of the day.
Franklin and Marshall went 0-2 on the day, falling to Columbia and Rider by a 36-12 score.
Columbia kicks off its Ivy League schedule on Feb. 5 when the Lions host Cornell.
Rutgers earned its 15th-straight win and stayed a perfect 7-0 in EIWA competition this weekend when the team traveled to Annapolis, Md., and pummeled Navy 23-9. The Scarlet Knights captured seven victories in the dual, including an upset at 157 pounds.
Two seniors went head to head with Rutgers’ No. 16 Daryl Cocozzo toeing the line against Navy’s No. 6 Bryce Saddoris. The two battled it out to a scoreless first period and an escape each bumped the score to 1-1 with a minute left in the third. Cocozzo shot low to earn the takedown and Saddoris escaped with just under 40 seconds left. However, the senior could not return the favor and Cocozzo went on to score the 3-2 upset.
The other feature bout in this matchup was at 184 pounds with No. 11 Luke Rebertus of Navy going up against Rutgers’ Dan Rinaldi. The bout went into sudden victory tied at 2-2 and needed to be decided in a fourth tiebreaker. This was when Rebertus rode out Rinaldi for the entire 30 seconds and then was able to escape as time winded down to earn the 3-2 decision. However, the win for Rebertus only cut the RU lead to 17-6 and the Scarlet Knights cruised to victory. The win bumps Rutgers’ record to 19-1 with its lone loss coming to Penn State.
Earlier in the week, Navy tasted sweet victory in a narrow 21-19 win over North Carolina. The Midshipmen trailed the Tar Heels 19-9 with only three bouts remaining, but a pin at heavyweight by Dan Miller cut the UNC lead to only four. Navy rounded out the match by winning decisions at 125 and 133 to seal the win.
A Fitting Rebound
Fresh off of a disappointing loss to Lehigh and falling from No. 1 in the coaches’ poll, Cornell rebounded this week by demolishing Binghamton, 35-3, and taking down Iowa State, 30-16.
The match started at 141 and a forfeit by the Cyclones gave Cornell the early 6-0 lead. Kyle Dake then put Cornell up big with a pin over Max Mayfield at 4:44, but Iowa State responded by winning the next three bouts to pull even at 12-12.
Cornell took the lead back in a hurry with a Steve Bosak pin and a Cam Simaz major decision. Frank Perelli and Mike Grey put the finishing touches on the win by both earning major decisions by scores of 10-2 and 19-8, respectively.
The win over the Cyclones not only got the Big Red’s confidence back, but it also stands as head coach Rob Koll’s 200th career victory.
Cornell’s next action comes on Feb. 5 when it first battles Hofstra in the afternoon before a date later in the night with Ivy League compatriot Columbia.
Around the EIWA
— Lehigh could not continue it’s upset magic, falling to Virginia Tech, 23-15. The Mountain Hawks rebounded from the loss to the Hokies by taking down EIWA foes in Harvard and Brown by scores of 40-7 and 43-3, respectively.
— The loss to Lehigh was a tough one to swallow for Harvard, but the weekend was not all bad news for the Crimson. The Ivy Leaguers took down Army on Saturday by a 21-12 score.
— Army’s loss to Harvard came sandwiched in between a 28-13 win over Brown and a 29-12 loss to Boston University. Casey Thome went 3-0 on the day at 141 pounds, including a pin over BU’s Jordan Frease.
— Penn earned a number of hard-fought bouts that go a long way toward EIWA seeding in its 24-11 win over Bucknell. However, the Quaker magic ran out the following day against Hofstra, when dropping four matches in a row proved to be the difference in an 18-15 loss.
— American defeated George Mason 43-3 in its prep for a midweek showdown Feb. 9 at Rutgers.
Wrestler of the Week
By winning all three of his matches and helping his team go 3-0 over the weekend, Columbia’s Kevin Lester earns this edition’s Wrestler of the Week honors. The heavyweight’s 9-2 decision over Evan Craig put the icing on a furious comeback against Rider that Columbia went on to win, 18-14. Lester is now 17-6 on the year.