USA Wrestling Dean wins fourth EIW...

Dean wins fourth EIWA title, Cornell gets four champs and team title at EIWA Championships at Bucknell

By Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling | March 04, 2017, 8:26 p.m. (ET)

Cornell team poses with their EIWA team trophy, their 11th conference title in a row. Photo by Sabrina Smith.

LEWISBURG, Pa. – Cornell won its 11th straight EIWA team title, powered by four individual champions, finishing 55.5 points ahead of runner-up Lehigh at the 2017 EIWA Championships which concluded at Bucknell University on Saturday.

The Big Red was led by four-time EIWA champion Gabe Dean, the champion at 184 pounds, who was named Outstanding Wrestler. The next destination for the senior will be the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, where he will attempt to win his third NCAA individual title.

Dean scored an impressive 24-9 victory over Michael Coleman of Navy in the finals, letting Coleman up and scoring 11 takedowns before getting the required 15 point lead for the technical fall.

“You have to push the pace, try to score points. I am just thinking about moving left and right, trying to get a leg. That is what goes through my mind,” said Dean. “I am very thankful and blessed to have people in this sport like I do. It is not just me. It is family and friends, teammates and coach, who have helped me and held me to a high standard. I have done my best to try to meet that standard. That is why I love wrestling,” said Dean.

Winning a third career EIWA title for Cornell was No. 1 seed Brian Realbuto, who scored a late takedown which proved to be the difference in his 3-2 win over No. 2 seed Ryan Preisch of Lehigh at 174 pounds.

Winning a second career EIWA title for the Big Red was No. 4 seed Dylan Palacio, who beat No. 2 seed Russell Parsons of Army, 4-2 at 157 pounds. The match was a wild, wide-open bout with a ton of scrambles, in which Palacio not only displayed his creative defense but also was able to score under pressure.

Also with a dominant performance in the finals was top seed Brandon Womack of Cornell, who won his first career EIWA title in a 16-1 technical fall over No. 7 seed Brooks Martino of Penn. Womack scored early and piled up the points on takedowns and turns.

“I knew once we held serve in the last round, once we were in the finals, we have four great kids, and it would be difficult to knock them off. But I was just as proud of Noah (Baughman). In the last two weeks, he has beaten three guys who beat him this year. Then there was Mark Grey, who came back and took third place. And our heavyweight who wrestled literally on one leg,” said Cornell Coach Rob Koll.

Lehigh was led by their two fantastic lightweights, top seeds Darian Cruz at 125 and Scott Parker at 133, who opened the finals with stellar performances.

Cruz won his second straight EIWA title by scoring two reversals to defeat No. 2 seed Josh Terao of American, 5-4.

Parker was strong on his feet and in control the entire match, winning his first EIWA title with a 6-2 win over No. 7 seed Jeffrey Ott of Harvard.

“Today, we really fought hard. We didn’t have enough horses in race to put enough points on the board. Those guys scored a lot of points, but in this tournament, you need all 10 guys placing. (Cruz and Parker) have been doing it all year. They push each other on a daily basis and really fight hard. It was a great way to start for us,” said Lehigh Coach Pat Santoro.

Princeton finished third with 113 points, just 4.5 points behind Lehigh, and was led by a pair of first-time champions, Matt Kolodzik at 141 pounds and Jordan Laster at 149 pounds. Princeton head coach Chris Ayres was named EIWA co-Coach of the Year, sharing the honor with Koll.

Kolodzik, a freshman who was seeded first, defeated two-time EIWA champion Randy Cruz in the finals, 3-2. The key was a takedown in the third period. When Cruz escaped in the final seconds to tie it at 2-2, Kolodzik won the match on a riding time point.

Laster, who came in as No. 2 seed, wrestled stronger as the match progressed on the way to an 8-5 win over No. 5 seed Hunter Ladnier of Harvard.

“I am really proud of my team. We talk about it all the time. It’s not about the results, it’s about the performance. They stepped up and performed well, up and down the lineup. We were in the hunt. We were about three points behind Lehigh. I really want to catch them I am proud of my team,” said Princeton Coach Chris Ayres.

The other two individual champions won their first EIWA titles, Frank Mattiace of Penn at 197 and Garrett Ryan of Columbia at 285.

Mattiace, the No. 3 seed, survived an overtime war, defeating No. 1 seed Tom Sleigh of Bucknell on his home mats, 4-4 in overtime. It went down to riding time in overtime, in which the difference was only four seconds in favor of Mattiace. There was a key reversal in overtime which gave the edge to Mattiace.

Ryan, the No. 3 seed, knocked off top seed Joey Goodhart of Drexel in the finals, scoring three different takedowns on the way to a 7-3 win. Ryan chose neutral in the third period and scored two of those takedowns for the margin of victory.

The conference had 43 automatic NCAA qualifiers, the second most in the nation behind only the Big Ten. Cornell, Lehigh and Princeton each got six qualifiers, with Penn collecting four. Getting three automatic qualifiers were American, Harvard and Navy.

At Lewisburg, Pa., March 3-4

125 pounds (2 automatic NCAA qualifiers)

1st - Darian Cruz (Lehigh) dec. Josh Terao (American), 5-4
3rd - Noah Baughman (Cornell) pin Jordan Gessner (Bucknell), 2:58
5th - Trey Chalifoux (Army) dec. Tanner Shoap (Drexel), 9-4
7th - Steve Bulzomi (Binghamton) dec. Matteo Devincenzo (Princeton), 10-7

133 pounds (4 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Scott Parker (Lehigh) dec. Jeffrey Ott (Harvard), 6-2
3rd - Mark Grey (Cornell) dec. Pat D'arcy (Princeton), 8-3
5th - Vinny Vespa (Hofstra) med. fft. over Kevin Devoy (Drexel)
7th – Esteban Gomez-Rivera (American) dec. Joey Gould (Bucknell), 7-3

141 pounds (5 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Matt Kolodzik (Princeton) dec. Randy Cruz (Lehigh), 3-2
3rd - Jared Prince (Navy) dec. Tyler Smith (Bucknell), 6-4
5th - Dylan Caruana (Binghamton) dec. Logan Everett (Army), 3-2
7th – AJ Jaffe (Harvard) dec. Jacob Macalolooy (Columbia), 1-0

149 pounds (3 automatic NCAA qualifiers)

1st- Jordan Laster (Princeton) dec. Hunter Ladnier (Harvard), 8-5
3rd - Laike Gardner (Lehigh) dec. Matt Cimato (Drexel), 5-1
5th - Michael Sprague (American) dec. Jonathan Furnas (Cornell), 4-3
7th – Parker Kropman (Binghamton) dec. Danny Reed (Columbia), 7-4

157 pounds (4 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Dylan Palacio (Cornell) dec. Russell Parsons (Army), 4-2
3rd - Mike D'angelo (Princeton) pin Steven Galiardo (Brown), 5:39
5th - Zack Davis (Navy) med. fft. Victor Lopez (Bucknell)
7th - Tom Page (American) maj. dec. Tristan Rifanburg (Binghamton), 13-2

165 pounds (4 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Brandon Womack (Cornell) tech. fall Brooks Martino (Penn), 16-1, 5:32
3rd - Andrew Mendel (Army) dec. Tyrel White (Columbia), 5-2
5th - Drew Daniels (Navy) dec. Jon Viruet (Brown), 3-1, sv
7th - Austin Rose (Drexel) dec. Cole Walter (Lehigh), 3-2

174 pounds (6 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Brian Realbuto (Cornell) dec. Ryan Preisch (Lehigh), 3-2
3rd - Casey Kent (Penn) dec. Jadeen Bernstein (Navy), 1-0
5th - Jonathan Schleifer (Princeton) dec. Josef Johnson (Harvard), 6-3
7th – Ben Harvey (Army) dec. Anthony Lombardo (Binghamton), 6-1

184 pounds (7 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Gabe Dean (Cornell) tech. fall Michael Coleman (Navy), 24-9, 6:40
3rd - Samson Imonode (Army) dec. Steve Schneider (Binghamton), 5-3
5th - Jason Grimes (American) dec. Alex Deciantis (Drexel), 3-1, sv
7th – Joe Heyob (Penn) DEC Kanon Dean (Harvard), 5-4

197 pounds (4 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Frank Mattiace (Penn) dec. Tom Sleigh (Bucknell), 4-4, tb2
3rd - Ben Honis (Cornell) dec. Jeric Kasunic (American), 3-1, sv
5th - Brett Harner (Princeton) maj. dec. Rocco Caywood (Army), 11-2
7th - Mark Tracy (Binghamton) dec. Steban Cervantes (Navy), 12-7

285 pounds (4 automatic NCAA qualifiers)
1st - Garrett Ryan (Columbia) dec. Joey Goodhart (Drexel), 7-3
3rd - Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) dec. Ray O'Donnell (Princeton), 9-5
5th - Tyler Greene (Bucknell) dec. Connor Calkins (Binghamton), 9-7, sv
7th - Craig Scott (Cornell) maj. dec. Nicholas Gajdzik (Harvard), 8-0

Team Standings
1. Cornell, 163
2. Lehigh, 117.5
3. Princeton, 113
4. Army, 82.5
5. Navy, 75.5
6. Bucknell, 75
7. American, 70
8. Binghamton, 66
9. Drexel, 65
10. Harvard, 63.5
11. Penn, 61
12. Columbia, 50
13. Brown, 31.5
14. Hofstra, 18
15. Franklin and Marshall, 3.5
16. Sacred Heart, 0.5

6 – Cornell, Lehigh, Princeton
4 – Penn
3 – American, Harvard, Navy, Army
2 – Bucknell, Columbia, Binghamton, Drexel
1 – Brown

Outstanding Wrestler – Gabe Dean, Cornell, 184 lbs.
Fletcher Trophy, Most career EIWA points – Gabe Dean, Cornell
Sheridan Award – Most falls, least time – Michael Coleman (Navy), 184 pounds
Team Sportsmanship Award – Navy
EIWA Coach of the Year – Rob Koll (Cornell) and Chris Ayres (Princeton)