The Red heads into the season with the first matchup of the year against Binghamton Friday at home. After a great season last year with senior Kyle Dake, senior Steve Bosak and Cam Simaz ’12 all winning NCAA National Championship titles for the Red, the wrestling culture at Cornell expects and prepares for greatness in the upcoming season.
Coming into this season after losing a few critical members of the team to graduation, the squad brought in some reinforcements in the form of ten new freshmen — Aaron Benedict, Scott Bosak, Logan David, Chris Dowdy, Nashon Garrett, Casey O’Malley, Duke Pickett, Joe Rendina, Owen Scott and Craig Scott. However, some of the guys that have been around the Red’s mat for a while continue to maintain their dominance as well — including Dake, who already won the NWCA All-Star Classic on Nov. 3, beating out Penn State’s David Taylor, 2-1, this season.
This past weekend the team held its annual Red-White eliminations where the 20 members of the team battled it out for the top 10 spots and the honor to start for Cornell. The Red team — David, Pickett, Scott, Dake, junior Nick Arujau, senior Joe Stanzione, junior Chris Villalonga, junior Craig Eifert, sophomore Jace Bennett and senior Stryker Lane — won six matchups to grab a 24-13 victory over the White — Garrett, junior Josh Kennedy, junior Mike Nevinger, junior Ryan Dunphy, junior Jesse Shanaman, senior Patrick Sullivan, junior Marshall Peppelman, senior Pete Mesko, sophomore Billy George and sophomore Jacob Aiken-Phillips.
“The problem is we have had an unbelievable rash of injuries. Steve Bosak had a minor surgery in the wrist [and] it got a staff infection. Seven or eight weeks later, he is still not back on the mat. Steve is a returning national champion, so we cant lose kids like that,” said head coach Rob Koll. “In his place, we have a freshman Craig Scott who ended up placing second in the tournament last weekend and is very respectable [though].”
Highlights of the day were Dake winning by fall over Sullivan in 165 lbs., Bennett over George in the 197 lbs. class and Peppelman over Pickett in the 174 lbs.
“We have a couple good kids at 197. We have Jace Bennett and Billy George … He is now 197. We have two solid wrestlers there. I am not saying that they are going to be Cam [Simaz], that would be pretty hard but they are respectable kids. They are young, they are sophomores, but they are respectable,” Koll said.
This Friday, the Red will host Binghamton at Friedman at 6:30 p.m. in its first home match of the season. In the past three seasons, the Red has swept Binghamton in the dual meets between the teams — winning 22-21 last season while away, 35-3 in 2011 at home and 43-9 in 2010 at home.
“It is the season of the knee injuries. I have never had this many injuries. They are not season ending but they are match ending. It doesn’t hurt us in the long run but in the short run it could make this match a lot closer than we would like it to be against Binghamton,” Koll said.