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March 5, 2012

EIWA Championships Turn Green With Ivy

EIWA Tournament Final Brackets

Photo courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications.

PRINCETON, N.J. -- Led by Cornell, the Ivy League put together a successful showing at the EIWA Tournament, held March 3-4 at Jadwin Gym in Princeton, N.J. The Big Red won its sixth-straight EIWA team title after crowning three individual champions.

Cornell finished with 151.5 team points to hold off Lehigh, which tallied 149. Penn was the next League squad, placing fourth with 94.5 points. Columbia took sixth with 78.5 points, while Harvard (eighth, 58), Brown (10th, 48) and Princeton (11th, 44) rounded the standings.

Cornell’s victory marked the first time that a team has won six-straight titles since before World War II. Senior Cam Simaz became just the 11th EIWA wrestler to win his fourth individual title. He was also named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. Senior Frank Perrelli (125) and junior Kyle Dake (157) also won titles at their respective weight classes. The Big Red qualified eight wrestlers for the NCAA tournament.  

Simaz, the 2011-12 Ivy League Wrestler of the Year, is the 10th Big Red to earn the Coaches' Trophy for the tournament's outstanding wrestler and the first since Mack Lewnes in 2010. Simaz is the first EIWA wrestler to win four individual titles at 197 pounds and he also received the John Fletcher Memorial Trophy, which is given to the wrestler that has earned the most team points in his EIWA career.

Cornell's NCAA qualifiers include Perrelli, sophomores Nick Arujau (133), Mike Nevinger (141), Chris Villalonga (149) and Marshall Peppelman (165), Dake, senior Steve Bosak (184) and Simaz.

All in all, 23 Ivy League wrestlers punched their tickets to the NCAA Wrestling Tournament and many others await word of a wild card berth.

Penn sent five to the tournament. Senior Bryan Ortenzio became the fourth Quaker to win the 133-pound title. Ortenzio’s first career EIWA Championship was also the 62nd in Penn’s history. Penn's other finalist was junior Micah Burak at 197 pounds, but for the third consecutive year Burak was denied an EIWA title by Simaz. Senior Zack Kemmerer and freshman Steve Robertson earned bids to the NCAA Tournament after placing fifth at 141 and 149, respectively.

Quaker senior Erich Smith made a memorable run to his first career NCAA Championships berth at the EIWA Championships, winning four matches in a row after a first-round loss to take third-place at 184 and an automatic bid.

Columbia sent three to the NCAAs in juniors Steve Santos (149) and Jake O’Hara (157), as well as senior Kevin Lester (285). For Lester, it marks his second-straight bid to the Tournament. Harvard senior Corey Jantzen (sixth at 149) and juniors Walter Peppelman (second at 157) and Steven Keith (third at 133) also earned an automatic qualification to the NCAA Tournament, marking the third time in four years Harvard will be represented by three wrestlers at Nationals.

Princeton saw junior Garrett Frey finish second at 125 and senior Daniel Kolodzik place fourth at 157 to earn bids, while Brown senior Dave Foxen did something that had not happened since 1963 at the EIWA Championships, winning the 174-pound weight class as an unseeded wrestler. He will be joined at the NCAAs by freshman Ophir Bernstein, who placed fourth at 184.

The schools will learn about their at-large bids to the NCAA Championships when the complete brackets are announced on Wednesday, March 7 at 6 p.m. on NCAA.com. The NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship will take place March 15-17 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.