photo courtesy of Tony Rotundo; WrestlersAreWarriors.com
It’s hard to believe, but we’re about to enter year number 26 of the Rob Koll-era at head coach for Cornell. While most of Koll’s teams for the last 15 years have the standard-bearer in the EIWA and been a mainstay in the top-ten nationally, this year’s group has a new look. Three NCAA Championship contenders (Vito Arujau, Yianni Diakomihalis, and Max Dean) will sit out the 2019-20 season and focus on runs at the 2020 Olympic team. While next season’s team may drop off a bit, from Cornell’s lofty standards, they are set up to contend for NCAA titles as a team in the following years. Years of excellent recruiting have let Koll and his staff have replenished continuously with young talent and this year is no different. Their recruiting Class of 2019 was ranked third in the nation and early returns on their 2020 Class are almost as good. Since not all of these high school seniors from 2019 will immediately enroll at Cornell, their total impact will not be felt in 2019-20. As we move into late September, more than half of the slots in the Cornell lineup could be labeled as up-for-grabs. Four of those spots could eventually end up in the hands of freshmen. That isn’t to say that there aren’t proven veterans on this squad. Two All-Americans are expected in the lineup along with an EIWA champion. It’s safe to say that Cornell will start the season ranked much lower than you would expect a Koll-led team to be, but they will likely rise as the year progresses and young wrestlers develop.