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Cornell One Win Away From 11th-Straight Wrestling Title

Columbia senior Steve Santos
Columbia senior Steve Santos

NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll as of Jan. 29

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The 10th-ranked Cornell wrestling team has won its first four Ivy League matches and is on the verge of its 11th-straight Ivy title, with a bout against Columbia on Saturday standing in the way.

The Big Red (9-3, 4-0 Ivy) has not lost an Ivy League match since Feb. 2, 2002, when it fell at Penn, 21-9. The Lions (4-5) have not yet opened their Ivy slate.

The Quakers are the other team in the national rankings, coming in at No. 23. Penn rebounded from its 24-9 loss to Cornell with a 23-10 win over Bucknell the next day to improve to 5-3 overall, 0-1 in Ivy action.

The latest Intermat individual rankings are covered with Ivy, as the League has wrestlers included in eight of the 10 weight classes. Cornell leads the way with six, including the top-ranked 165-pound wrestler in senior Kyle Dake. Dake is looking to earn his fourth-consecutive NCAA Championship in a fourth weight class, as he has already won titles at 141 (2010), 149 (2011) and 157 (2012). Dake is 20-0 on the year with 10 pins and four major decisions.

Joining Dake in the individual rankings are freshman Nahshon Garrett (sixth, 125), junior Nick Arjau (10th, 133), junior Mike Nevinger (10th, 141), junior Chris Villalonga (14th, 149) and senior Steve Bosak (fourth, 184). Garrett and Nevinger lead Cornell with 27 wins apiece.

Penn (5-3, 0-1 Ivy) is next with three wrestlers listed among the top-20 in their respective weight class. Seniors Mark Rappo (20th, 125) and Micah Burak (10th, 197) join sophomore C.J. Cobb (ninth, 141) in the rankings. Cobb and Rappo are each 7-1 in duals action.

Harvard (3-3, 0-1 Ivy) and Columbia each have two individually ranked wrestlers. For the Lions, senior Steve Santos is sixth at 149 and fellow classmate Jake O'Hara is 17th at 157, while for the Crimson senior Steven Keith is 13th at 141 and fellow classmate Walter Peppelman is eighth at 157.

Although Cornell is wrapping up its League slate, the rest of the conference is just getting started. Brown (6-4, 0-1 Ivy), Harvard, Penn and Princeton (0-8, 0-1 Ivy) will essentially take part in a quad-meet on Feb. 9, as the Crimson will take on the Quakers and the Bears will face the Tigers at 10am, before switching opponents in the afternoon. After its contest against Columbia, Cornell will wrap up its duals season with a home match against Bucknell on Feb. 10.

The six teams will battle for an NCAA Tournament berth at the EIWA Championships, which will take place on March 8-9 at Rutgers University in Piscataway, N.J.