By John Harmon, EIWA & Cornell Sports Information
ITHACA, N.Y. – Sophomore Nahshon Garrett was named the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Wrestler of the Year a year after capturing the Rookie of the Year Award. He wouldn’t have to go far to hand over the mantel – just across the practice arena where freshman Gabe Dean would be training.
Garrett’s Wrestler of the Year honor made it three straight years a Big Red student-athlete captured the award after Kyle Dake took home the trophy in 2013 and Dake shared it with Cam Simaz in 2012. It is the sixth time since 2003 a Cornellian was named EIWA Wrestler of the Year. Dean, meanwhile, is the second consecutive EIWA Rookie of the Year after Garrett was voted in by the coaches in 2013. He is the seventh Big Red freshman to take home the accolade since 2002.
The league’s 18 head coaches voted on the two major conference awards.
Garrett had a phenomenal sophomore year, going 35-2 overall and finishing as the national runner-up at 125 pounds. The unanimous choice as Ivy League Wrestler of the Year captured his second consecutive All-America accolade and also became just the fourth Cornellian to take home EIWA titles in each of his first two campaigns. Garrett had a 28-match win streak heading into the national finals before losing a 3-2 decision to N. 1 seed Jesse Delgado, who handed Garrett both of his losses on the year. A first-team All-Ivy pick, he was 20-2 against 2014 NCAA qualifiers at his weight and captured championships at the Jonathan Kaloust Binghamton Open, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle and also won his match at the NWCA All-Star Classic to open the season. Garrett went 17-0 against EIWA competitors during the season.
Dean, the unanimous Ivy League Rookie of the Year, was a first-team All-League pick and placed third at the NCAA Championships at 184 pounds. His freshman season saw him go 40-3 en route to his first All-America honor. Dean won 29 straight matches before a two-point loss to eventual national champion Ed Ruth in the NCAA semifinals. Earlier in the season Dean made a name for himself with an upset of Ruth at the Southern Scuffle, ending the two-time defending national champion’s 84-match win streak dating back to 2011. That win earned him U.S.A. Wrestling and EIWA Wrestler of the Week honors, and he was featured in Sports Illustrated’s “Faces In The Crowd” for the Jan. 20, 2014 issue. Dean won his first EIWA title with three straight bonus wins before a 3-1 win over Penn All-American Lorenzo Thomas in the finals. He went 17-0 against EIWA competition during the season and won the New York State Intercollegiates, the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and the Southern Scuffle and placed second at the Binghamton Open.