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Why Cornell being Ranked Number 1# is good for Wrestling

By Josh Liebman – Special to The Open Mat

STUDENT ATHLETE-Nothing epitomizes the term Student Athlete or amateur athlete like an Ivy Leaguer; I don’t think I am going too far out on a limb if I say an average Ivy League wrestler has a tougher course load then most. Personally I think it is a good thing for College Sports to have Ivy League Schools competing on a high level whether it’s wrestling, or another sport basketball or lacrosse.

IT’S A EAST COAST THING– Wrestling has been dominated by the Midwest forever the last team not named Iowa, Oklahoma State or Minnesota was Arizona State over 20 years ago (1988) Cornell’s Roster of over 40 wrestlers only has 10 guys not from the east coast and only 2 of there projected starters are not east coasters, Justin Kerber (Iowa) and Cam Simaz (Michigan), Cory Manson is from Tennessee which isn’t Midwest or East Coast. I am a fan of parity in sports. I like the fact that top wrestlers can stay closer to home and still compete on a high level. Programs such as Cornell, Lehigh, Penn State, Maryland and Rutgers have made huge strides and have increased the fan base east of the Mississippi and have succeeded in creating a real collegiate wrestling culture on the east coast which will help the sport on all levels.

UNDER PRESSURE— I have to say I have enjoyed the Redman Videos. Seeing wrestlers like Kyle Dake, Mack Lewnes and Mike Grey not taking them selves to seriously and having fun with the expectations is great, you’re the number 1# team in the nation enjoy it!!

DOWN THE ROAD– with the NCAA tournament being held in Philly this year I think it is extra special to have a semi-home team as the early favorite. I think it will be really fun watching the fans at this years championships riding the rollercoaster of emotions that is the NCAA’s

COACH KOLL– Rob Koll is a very charismatic coach and can relate to all types of people whether they grew up on a dairy farm or at the Jersey shore. To have people like Coach Koll being one of the faces of our sport will help bring wrestling closer to mainstream coverage. He has been a forward thinker and a great promoter of his program and the sport in general, I don’t see anything wrong with the stereotypical cauliflower eared ball of intensity coach/wrestler but I do feel it is important that people realize wrestlers are not just fine tuned tough as nails athletes there is more to them than mangled ears. Some go on to be Doctors, Lawyers, Politicians, Fortune 500 executives, Scientists and the teachers of our youth. Coach Koll is a great ambassador of this.

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