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Wrestling Update - 3

Photo courtesy of Columbia Sports Information

PRINCETON, N.J. – The Cornell wrestling team, ranked No. 3 in the country in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)/USA Today Coaches Poll, can clinch its 10th-consecutive Ivy League title with a win versus Columbia on Feb. 4.

Because the Big Red is hosting the Cliff Keen National Duals on Feb. 12, it has almost completed its Ivy slate while the rest of the League’s teams are just getting started. A win over Columbia on Feb. 4 would move Cornell to 5-0 in conference action, giving the Big Red the title.

NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll as of Jan. 31

Here is a team-by-team look at the Ivy League squads this season:

Brown (5-7, 0-1 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Bears opened the New Year with duals action, falling to then-No. 16 Rutgers, 28-12, and Rider, 30-10, before defeating Franklin & Marshall, 30-17, and Millersville, 32-15. Brown then traveled to Dallas to take part in the Lone Star Duals, where it dropped all three of its matches, losing to Air Force, 33-16, Appalachian State, 41-4, and UT-Chattanooga, 37-3. The Bears rebounded with a 41-0 shutout of Sacred Heart before falling at Cornell, 36-6. Brown then dropped a hard-fought match to Army, 24-15, before defeating Rhode Island, 30-12, and Johnson & Wales, 26-15.

Individual Highlights: Sophomore Billy Watterson upset two-time NCAA Qualifier Joe Langel of Rutgers in their 125-pound bout. Watterson has won 10 of his past 12 bouts, including a tough 4-1 loss to the No. 6 125-pound wrestler in the nation, Cornell’s Frank Perrelli. Watterson is listed as the fifth-best 125-pound wrestler in the latest EIWA rankings and freshman Ophir Bernstein is ranked No. 4 at 184.

Brown’s Return to the Mats: Friday, Feb. 3 vs. Princeton

Columbia (4-2, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Lions went 3-1 in the Pitt Duals in Pittsburgh with their lone loss a 25-12 setback to No. 9 Pittsburgh. Columbia defeated Eastern Michigan, 30-12, Davidson, 49-0, and VMI, 46-3. The team came home to face Army, falling in a tightly-fought battle, 19-15. After a third-place showing in the New York State Collegiate Wrestling Championship, Columbia handed Franklin & Marshall a 32-12 loss.

Individual Highlights: Junior Steve Santos went 4-0 in the Pitt Duals with two wins and a technical fall at 149. He then extended his winning streak to six with wins against Army and F&M.  He is listed at No. 4 in his weight class by the EIWA and is joined in the rankings by juniors Jake O’Hara (No. 5, 157) and Stephen West (No. 4, 174) as well as senior Kevin Lester (No. 3, 285). Lester and West are tied for the team lead with 23 wins apiece, while O’Hara has 21 wins and 133-pound senior Kyle Gilchrest has 20.

Columbia’s Return to the Mats: Saturday, Feb. 4 at Cornell

Cornell (8-0, 4-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: Cornell is ranked No. 3 in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll. The Big Red is 4-0 in the Ivy League and can clinch its 10th-straight title with a win over Columbia on Feb. 4. The team started 2012 with a bang, placing fourth in the Southern Shuffle out of 23 teams. Cornell then opened its duals slate, racking up seven wins, including victories over No. 14 Lehigh, 24-12, then-No. 14 Iowa State, 28-11, and No. 18 Binghamton, 22-11. The Big Red also competed in the New York State Collegiate Tournament, placing second out of 15 teams.

Individual Highlights: Freshmen Bricker Dixon and Jace Bennett won the championships at 125 and 197, respectively, in the NYSC Tournament. Junior Kyle Dake earned his second EIWA Wrestler of the Week award of the season on Jan. 3 and sophomore Chris Villalonga took home the honor on Jan. 23. The Big Red boasts six wrestlers ranked among the top-20 in their respective weight classes by Intermat, led by Dake and senior Cam Simaz, who are listed as No. 1 at 157 and 197, respectively.

Cornell’s Return to the Mats: Saturday, Feb. 4 vs. Columbia; vs. Hofstra

Harvard (4-5, 0-1 Ivy League)
Team Results: After winning four of its first five duals matches, the Crimson has dropped its last three to fall to 4-5 overall. Two of Harvard’s losses have been to top-10 teams, as the Crimson fell to No. 7 Oklahoma, 28-9, as part of the Lone Star Duals in Dallas, and No. 3 Cornell, 38-7. Harvard also fell to then-No. 24 Rutgers, 33-12.

Individual Highlights: Senior 149-pound Corey Jantzen returned from injury in explosive fashion, defeating the fifth-ranked wrestler in his weight class, Rutgers’ Mario Mason. Jantzen is ranked No. 3 in the EIWA and No. 8 nationally by Intermat. Junior Steve Keith leads the team with 22 wins and is ranked No. 12 in the nation by Intermat and is listed as the top 133-pound wrestler in the EIWA. Junior Walter Peppelman (No. 3, 157), sophomore Cameron Croy (No. 6, 184) and freshman James Fox (No. 6, 197) are also ranked in the latest EIWA polls.

Harvard’s Return to the Mats: Saturday, Feb. 4 vs. Penn; vs. Princeton

Penn (4-5, 0-1 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Quakers have competed in three duals matches since the New Year, recording a 22-9 win over Rider, before falling to a pair of ranked opponents, 21-17 to No. 3 Cornell and 23-13 to No. 23 Hofstra.

Individual Highlights: Penn boasts a pair of 19-bout winners in senior 133-pound Bryan Ortenzio and freshman 149-pound Steve Robertson. Ortenzio is undefeated in duals action with a mark of 7-0, as is senior Zack Kemmerer at 141 (6-0). Robertson is 6-1 in duals action along with 197-pound junior Micah Burak. In the Intermat national poll, Ortenzio is No. 14 at 133, Kemmerer is No. 13 at 141 and Burak is No. 9 at 197. Kemmerer is also listed as the top-ranked 141-pounder in the EIWA, while Ortenzio is No. 2 at 133, Robertson is No. 5 at 149, freshman Lorenzo Thomas is No. 5 at 165, freshman Ian Korb is No. 5 at 174 and sophomore Steven Graziano is No. 6 at 285.

Penn’s Return to the Mats: Saturday, Feb. 4 at Harvard; at Brown

Princeton (5-8, 0-1 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Tigers have gone 3-2 in duals action since the New Year. Princeton competed in the Pitt Duals and defeated Davidson, 48-0, and VMI, 26-10, before falling to No. 9 Pitt, 23-13. The Tigers then returned to Jadwin Gym, where they beat Millersville, 41-9, before falling to No. 3 Cornell, 30-9.

Individual Highlights: Sophomore Adam Krop has won 11 of his last 12 matches and is ranked No. 14 at 141 by Intermat. Krop’s lone loss came at the Midlands semifinals against then-top-ranked Montell Marion of Iowa. Krop is one of three Tigers with 23 victories on the year, joining senior Daniel Kolodzik at 157 and junior Garrett Frey at 125. Kolodzik is ranked No. 19 by Intermat in his weight class. In the latest EIWA polls, Frey is No. 2 at 125, Krop is No. 4 at 141 and Kolodzik is No. 4 at 157.

Princeton’s Return to the Mats: Friday, Feb. 3 at Brown; at Boston Univ.