Led by four champions, Cornell wins EIWA Championships a record 10th straight time

By Gary Blockus, Special to TheMat.com | March 06, 2016, 6:44 p.m. (ET)
PRINCETON, N.J. – Game, set and match Cornell.

The Big Red machine just keeps on churning at the EIWA Championships.

On Sunday, Cornell crowned four individual champions and took the team championship for a record 10th straight year. The Big Red amassed 170.5 points to nip Lehigh, which had 160 for second, followed by Bucknell in a distant third with 84 points.

On top of that, Cornell senior Nahshon Garrett (133) won his fourth straight EIWA title, junior Gabe Dean (184) won won his third straight, and both wrestlers picked up additional awards.

Garrett won the Coaches Trophy as the outstanding wrestlers, the Fletcher Award for most career points (93.5) for the second straight season and Dean wo the Sheridan Award for most pins, least time in the championship round (three in 9:39).

“Nahshon is at a different level by far than anyone in the country, and he’s going to how that in two weeks,” Cornell coach Rob Koll said. “Guys were starting to question Gabe, which is ridiculous because he’s an absolute beast. We’re exactly where we need to be at this tie of the year. I couldn’t be more pleased.”

Garret, Dean, Dylan Palacio (157) and Brian Realbuto (174) all won titles for Cornell.

Dean, the reigning NCAA champion at 184 won his third straight EIWA crown in dramatic fashion, pinning Navy No. 3 seed Matt Miller in just 53 seconds.

“I’m proud of our guys,” Dean said, deflecting away from his personal accomplishments “The younger guys fought hard and our veterans led the way. I’m real proud to be a part of this team.”

Garrett became Cornell’s fourth four-time EIWA champion, joining Travis Lee (2002-2005), Mack Lewnes (2009-20012) and Cam Simaz (2009-2012) to give the Big Red the most four-time champions in EIWA history, breaking a tie with Lehigh.

“I don’t push down the title, I think it’s an accomplishment,” Garrett said. “Not a lot of people can do it. It’s an awesome thing, but I have to have my sites focused. I can’t allow this to define me. I’ve been focused on one thing the whole year, and that’s getting to nationals and winning a national title, and this is another building block.”

Garrett’s win over Beckman was critically needed for the team title in Cornell’s unprecedented run of dominance.

“It’s an amazing thing to help my team out,” Garrett said. That’s the big thing here, to help my team.”

Realbuto, up two weight classes from winning the 157-pound crown last season, gave up the first takedown against Army’s Brian Harvey, but swapped reversals and takedowns before forcing a final mistake to win his second straight crown, this one at 174, by a 12-6 score.

“The semis were tough for us, the quarters were tough,” Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. “The championship round was tough. We had five wrestling for third. This is a really tough conference, a tough tournament. There are no easy matches.

“We had opportunities. We should have had a few more in the finals. We should have had a few more in the semis.”

Still, Lehigh did have bright spots.

Sophomore Darien Cruz ran Lehigh’s streak of seasons with an EIWA champ to 17 in the opening match of the finals with a 2-1 decision over top seeded Paul Petrov, a senior from Bucknell. The two had never met until the finals, and Cruz, an All-American as a true freshman in 2014, earned riding time in the second period to make the difference.

Cruz’s older brother, a two-time EIWA champion, finished third at 141 after losing 4-2 to runner-up Todd Preston of Harvard in the semis.

And 285-pound Max Wessell finally got by an old nemesis, when up 2-1 in the third period, won by injury default over former champion Joe Stolfi of Bucknell.

F&M’s Rick Durso, the top seed at 141, finished his career with a second EIWA title following a two-year run where runner-up Todd Preston of Harvard and third-place finisher Randy Crux of Lehigh took the top spot.

Drexel junior Matt Cimato survived a last-second headlock to reverse Cornell’s No. 5 Joe Galasso to win the 149-pound title.

Harvard’s Devon Gobbo, the No. 3 seed at 165, preserved riding time on a coach’s challenge midway through the final period to edge Cornell top seeded George “Duke” Pickett 2-1.

Princeton’s Brett Harner, the No. 1 seed at 197, used a four-point move in the waning seconds for a major over No. 6 Bryce Barnes.

Lehigh prevented Cornell from clinching its record 10th straight team title in the semifinal round. The Big Red advanced six wrestlers into the finals with all five No. 1 seeds advancing plus No. 5 Joe Galasso at 149, who came through the top half of the bracket where Penn’s No. 1 seed C.J. Cobb was a no-show.

Second place Lehigh advanced just three into the finals, and the only head-to-head matchup in the gold medal round came at 133 with No. 1 Nahshon Garrett taking on No. 2 Mason Beckman. Five Mountain Hawks were gunning for third place finishes while two Big Red wrestlers were in the hunt for bronze medals.

Cornell led Lehigh 150.5 to 141 heading into the medals round. Bucknell sat in third place far back with 84 points, but with two No. 1 seeds on the finals.

Prior to the start of the championship round, the EIWA four former wrestlers into its Hall of Fame: three-time EIWA champ and NCAA champ Troy Nickerson of Cornell, a four-time All-American; Troy Letters of Lehigh, a three-tie EIWA champ, NCAA champ and three-time All-American; two-time EIWA champ, NCAA champ and two-time All-American Bill Hyman of Temple; and Dr. Howard K. Johnson, the first-ever national champion for Penn State and a two-time EIWA champion.

at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J.

Number of NCAA qualifiers by weight class: 125 – 3; 133 – 3; 141 – 6; 149 – 5; 157 – 6; 165 – 4; 174 – 7; 184 – 7; 197 – 4; 285 – 6.

1. Cornell 170.5
2. Lehigh 160
3. Bucknell 84
4. Army 73.5
5. Princeton 71.5
6. Navy 68.5
7. American 63
8 Drexel 62.5
9. Harvard 60.5
10. Penn 53
11. Columbia 44.5
12. F&M 36.5
13. Hofstra 31
14. Sacred Heart 26
15. Brown 25.5
16. Binghamton 19.5

125: No. 2 Darien Cruz (Lehigh) dec. No. 1 Paul Petrov (Bucknell) 2-1
133: No. 1 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) maj. dec. No. 2 Mason Beckman (Lehigh) 12-1
141: No. 1 Rick Durso (F&M) dec. No. 2. Todd Preston (Harvard) 7-4
149: No. 2 Matt Cimato (Drexel) dec. No. 5 Joe Galasso (Cornell) 5-4
157: No. 1 Dylan Palacio (Cornell) dec. No. 2 Jack Boyle (American) 8-3
165: No. 3 Devon Gobbo (Harvard) dec. No. 1 George Pickett (Cornell) 2-1
174: No. 1 Brian Realbuto (Cornell) dec. No. 3 Brian Harvey (Army) 12-6
184: No. 1 Gabe Dean (Cornell) pin No. 3 Matt Miller (Navy) :53
197: No. 1 Brett Harner (Princeton) maj. dec . Bryce Barnes (Army) 14-4
285: No. 2 Max Wessell (Lehigh) inj. def .No. 1 Joe Stolfi (Bucknell) 5:32

125: No. 5 Zach Fuentes (Drexel) dec. No. 4 Dalton Macri (Cornell) 4-2 SV
133: No. 6 Zack Davis (Navy) dec. No. 5 Caleb Richardson (Penn) 1-0
141: No. 3 Randy Cruz (Lehigh) mag. dec. Jamel Hudson (Hofstra) 8-0
149: No. 3 Lake Gardner (Lehigh) dec. No. 6. Victor Lopez (Bucknell) 6-5
157: No. 4 Markus Scheidel (Columbia) dec. No. 7 Russell Parsons (Army) 9-5.
165: No. 2 Ryan Preisch (Lehigh) by med. fft over No. 4 Tyrel White (Columbia)
174: No. 5 Jadaen Bernstein (Navy) dec. No. 7 Rustin Barrick (Bucknell) 8-6
184: No. 4. Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) dec. No. 3 Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) 2-1
197: No. 4 Owen Scott (Cornell) dec. No. 2 John Bolich (Lehigh) 12-6.
285: No. 3 Mike Hughes (Hofstra) maj. dec. No. 6 Ray O’Donnell (Princeton) 10-1

125: No. 3 David Terao (American) maj. dec. No. 6 Pat D’Arcy (Princeton) 10-2
133: No. 3 Angelo Amenta (Columbia) pinned No. 8 Jeffrey Ott (Harvard) 1:53
141: No. 5 Jordan Laster (Princeton) dec. No. 7 Nic Gil (Navy) 3-2
149: No. 4 Steven Galiardo (Brown) dec. Tom Page (American) 4-3
157: No. 3 Justin Staudenmayer (Brown) dec. No. 5 May Bethea (Penn) 1-0
165: Andrew Mendel (Army) dec. No. 5 Mitchell Wightman (American) 3-2
174: Gordon Wolf (Lehigh) by med. fft. Joseph Johnson (Harvard)
184: Samson Imonode (Army) dec. No. 5 Steven Scheider (Binghamton) 9-6
197: No. 7 Jeric Kasunic by med. fft. No. 5 Frank Mattiace (Penn)
285: Antonio Pelusi (F&M) dec. No. 4 Jeramy Sweaney (Cornell) 9-7

125: Gerald Daly (Sacred Heart) pin No. 8 Steven Bulzomi (Binghamton) 4:02
133: No. 4 David Pearce (Drexel) dec. Scott Stevens (F&M) 7-1
141: Tyler Scotton (American) dec. Dylan Realbuto (Cornell) 3-1
149: No. 8 Mike D’Angelo (Princeton) tech fall Matt Kelly (Army) 15-0, 5:20
157: No. 6 Ian Brown (Lehigh) dec. No. 8 Adam Krop (Princeton) 9-4
165: No. 7 Austin Rose (Drexel) dec. Michael Coleman (Navy) 3-1
174: No. 6 Jack McKeever (Binghamton) dec. Nick Elmer (Drexel) 1-0.
184: No. 7 Tom Sleigh (Bucknell) tech fall Elliot Antler (Sacred Heart) 16-1, 4:52
197: No. 3 Michel Woulfe (Navy) maj. dec. Tyler Greene (Bucknell) 10-2
285: No. 8 Joseph Goodhart (Drexel) pin Ray Sherwood (Sacred Heart) 1:11

Gary R. Blockus

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