ITHACA, N.Y. -- With four nationally ranked starters sitting out among the first five spots in the lineup, few would have blamed Cornell head coach Rob Koll if he had trepidation about what the halftime score might look like in Saturday afternoon's Ivy League-opening dual against Harvard.
The Big Red won three of those matches and entered the break with a 16-3 lead to set his mind at ease. In the end, Cornell coasted with its 59th consecutive Ivy League dual match win with a 33-6 triumph over the Crimson at the Friedman Wrestling Center.
Without the services of nationally-ranked Nahshon Garrett (125), Mark Grey (133), Chris Villalonga (149) and Brian Realbuto (149), the Big Red was able to showcase its impressive depth.
Bricker Dixon took a forfeit at 125 pounds, but even without it, the Big Red would have had a 10-3 edge.
Harvard backup Ryan Osleeb won a 7-0 decision over Cornell's backup, Logan David, at 133 pounds to quickly get the Crimson back into the dual, but that was the lone highlight for the visitors. Mike Nevinger earned a dominant 1-0 decision win over Harvard's Todd Preston. Nevinger paced the match throughout and used an escape quickly in the third period to improve to 5-1 on the season.
Without Villalonga, Conner David dominated his opponent at 149 pounds, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after the first period and never looking back. David used a late takedown to get Nicholas Stager on his back for three near-fall points and nearly a pin before the final horn.
Taylor Simaz wrestled a great first two periods to earn a decision over former New York state champ Tyler Grimaldi, taking a 5-0 lead into the final period and holding on for a 10-5 victory to send the Big Red into the break leading 16-3.
The second half of the dual was more of the same, as Dylan Palacio all but clinched the victory with a first period pin over Colton Peppelman, the younger brother of Palacio's teammate and training partner Marshall Peppelman. He took down Peppelman twice in the first 90 seconds and then was ableto get him to his back to earn the pin at 2:03.
Duke Pickett earned a hard-fought 3-1 overtime decision at 174 pounds over Eric Morris, earning a takedown less than 15 seconds into the sudden victory period after both wrestlers earned an escape.
Freshman Gabe Dean continued his dominant wrestling, knocking around Harvard senior Cameron Croy en route to a 21-5 tech fall in the third period. He nearly earned pins in the first and third periods, but overwhelmed his opponent with seven takedowns and a pair of three-point nearfalls.
The Big Red lost at 197 pounds as James Fox earned a late takedown in the second and reversed Jace Bennett in the third to earn an 8-4 triumph.
To close out the dual, Jacob Aiken-Phillips had takedowns in the first and second periods to build a 5-1 lead, and much like Simaz, was able to hold on for the victory.
The Big Red will return to action next weekend when it faces Brown on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 2 p.m. at Friedman Wrestling Center and Rutgers on Sunday, Jan. 26 at 2 p.m. in Newman Arena. That match will benefit Hospicare of Ithaca.
125 Pounds - Bricker Dixon (C) won by forfeit
133 Pounds - Ryan Osleeb (H) won by decision over Logan David (C), 7-0
141 Pounds - Mike Nevinger (C) won by decision over Todd Preston (H), 1-0
149 Pounds - Conner David (C) won by major decision over Nicholas Stager (H), 14-0
157 Pounds - Taylor Simaz (C) won by decision over Tyler Grimaldi (H), 10-5
165 Pounds - Dylan Palacio (C) won by fall over Colton Peppelman (H), 2:23
174 Pounds - Duke Pickett (C) won by decision over Eric Morris (H), 3-1 ot
184 Pounds - Gabe Dean (C) won by tech fall over Cameron Croy (H), 21-5
197 Pounds - James Fox (H) won by decision over Jace Bennett (C), 8-4
285 Pounds - Jacob Aiken-Phillips won by decision over David Ng (H), 7-5
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