College Wrestling News

Cornell Wrestling Wins 2015 EIWA Championships


Courtesy of Cornell Athletics


BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Cornell won its ninth consecutive EIWA title, matching a school record with five individual champions and comfortably holding off host Lehigh while qualifying eight of its 10 wrestlers for the upcoming NCAA championships in two weeks.

The Big Red won the team title by 30 points over the Mountain Hawks, scoring 176 points – just .5 off its school record. It went 8-1 in the final session, with its only loss an injury forfeit. Cornell won all five finals and three more third place matches. The lone match of the evening that affected the NCAA tournament picture came with Mark Grey punching his ticket at 133 with a third place finish. Needing to top Columbia’s Angelo Amenta to automatically qualify, the sophomore did just that with a controlling 7-4 decision.

The night started out with Nahshon Garrett‘s third EIWA title at 125, scoring the program’s seventh straight title at that weight after topping 17th-ranked David Terao of American for the second straight year in the championship match. Garrett dictated the match and won going away, 9-5, earning the Fletcher Award for most career points by a wrestler in the bracket.

While Garrett was honored for his career – still well in motion – sophomore Gabe Dean took home the Coach’s Award for Most Outstanding Wrestler after cruising through a brutally tough 184-pound bracket. The top-ranked wrestler in the country narrowly avoided a pair of first period shots against second-seeded and third-ranked Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh in the finals before crusing to an 8-2 victory, his second of the day against a conference wrestler ranked in the top seven nationally.

Chris Villalonga (149) and Jace Bennett (197) completed repeat finishes atop the podium at Eastern’s, becoming multiple-time champions along with Garrett and Dean. Villalonga used an escape and riding time to top Princeton’s sixth-seeded Chris Perez by a 2-0 score and Bennett knocked off Penn’s Canaan Bethea in a competitive match.

Sophomore Brian Realbuto, an NCAA All-American a season ago, won his first Eastern title with a convincing 6-1 triumph over American’s John Boyle in the finals.

The most exciting match of the day came in the 174 pound consolation final between Duke Pickett and 17th-ranked Brian Harvey of Army). Each wrestler earned an escape to go into overtime knotted at 1-1. Two sudden victory sessions and four rounds of rideouts ended with the junior making his case for an at-large bid with an early escape that gave him a short riding time advantage. That seven second difference was enough to give Pickett third.

Senior heavyweight Jacob Aiken-Phillips finished third after Lehigh’s Doug Vollaro was forced to injury default midway through the second period with the score tied at 0-0. Sophomore Dylan Palacio finished second at 165 after medically forfeiting out of the championship.

The ninth straight win at the meet builds on Cornell’s own record and its five champions matched its total from 1993 and 2010.

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