Cornell improves to 7-0, rolls past Rutgers

ITHACA, N.Y. The Cornell wrestling team remained unbeaten in dual meet competition with a strong 29-9 victory over Rutgers in front of more than 2,800 fans on Sunday afternoon at Newman Arena. The Big Red improved to 7-0 on the season, while the Scarlet Knights fell to 9-4.

In front of a crowd of 2,833 fans there to watch two of the EIWA's best while raising funds for Hospicare of Ithaca, the Big Red scored two pins and a couple major decision victories while losing two of its three matches in overtime by a total of four points. The dual win was Cornell's 31st straight against EIWA opponents and its 47th consecutive against unranked teams.

Sophomore Nahshon Garrett opened the dual with a dominant fall over Sean McCabe of Rutgers. Garrett's 13th straight win was locked down with Garrett leading 15-3 late in the third as he was able to take McCabe down to his back and secure the pin to give the home team an early 6-0 team lead.

Rutgers got on the board at 133 as Vinnie Dellefave captured a disputed 2-1 overtime win over No. 12 Mark Grey after the freshman was hit for a penalty point in overtime for an illegal hold. That handed the Scarlet Knight grappler the upset after each wrestler earned escapes during regulation to send the match into sudden victory.

Senior Mike Nevinger ran out to a 5-0 first period lead, escaped a dangerous spot that allowed Rutgers' Tyson Dippery a two-point nearfall in the second and claimed a pair of three-point nearfalls in the third en route to a strong 13-2 major.

With a 10-3 Big Red lead, Rutgers brought the match as close as it would get with its second win, a toss-up match at 149 pounds between Conner David and Ken Theobald. Theobald's early first period takedown was the difference, and though David was able to ride out the Rutgers' wrestler in the third, he couldn't turn him to even the match as the Scarlet Knights took a 3-1 victory to get within 10-6 in the dual.

Eighth-ranked Brian Realbuto dominated Anthony Perotti at 157 pounds, earning a pair of first period takedowns before riding his opponent out in the third for a 6-1 triumph. Realbuto logged nearly three minutes in riding time to send the home team into halftime with a 13-6 lead.

The intermission saw Cornell honor two with induction into the Hall of Distinguished Wrestling Alumni, as John Keib '91 and Jim Stanec '01 were both celebrated.

The Big Red ran away with the dual after halftime, winning the first four matches after the break starting with Dylan Palacio's 10-4 victory over Nick Visicaro at 165 pounds. The freshman registered the only four takedowns in the match and used 2:27 of ride time for the decision.

In arguably the most exciting match of the day, Duke Pickett won a 4-2 overtime thriller against Phillip Bakuckas. Going into the third period scoreless, Pickett escaped 10 seconds into the third to take a 1-0 lead. Bakuckas was able to earn a takedown with two seconds left in regulation, but Pickett was able to kick his way out for an escape at the buzzer to send it to overtime as the crowd went crazy. Both wrestlers took shots in the sudden victory session, but it was Pickett who earned a takedown 18 seconds before the ride-outs began for the 4-2 decision.

Gabe Dean didn't need any extra time, as he dominated fellow freshman Anthony Messner from the opening whistle, earning the first of his four first period takedowns just 14 seconds in. After Messner chose down to open the second, Dean was able to turn him successfully three times, twice for three points and another for two points to build a 16-4 lead. The fourth turn earned yet another five count, but ended with Dean repositioning and getting Messner's shoulders square for the pin at 4:20 to seal the dual win for the Big Red at 26-6 with two matches remaining.

At 197 pounds, Jace Bennett controlled Hayden Hrymack on his way to an 11-2 major decision win. Bennett earned two takedowns and three escapes in the first five minutes to build a 7-2 lead, then turned Hrymack in the third for a three-point nearfall and earned a ride time point to close out the Big Red's team scoring.

Rutgers and No. 18 Billy Smith was able to escape its own upset bid at heavyweight with a 3-2 overtime triumph over Jacob Aiken-Phillips. Both wrestlers earned escapes in regulation to go into sudden victory tied 1-1. After that resulted in no scoring, Aiken-Phillips chose down during the first ride-out period and escaped 21 seconds in. Smith escaped 10 seconds into the second ride-out period and earned a penalty point when Aiken-Phillips was called for locking hands. The Big Red junior couldn't muster a match-winning takedown in the final 20 seconds as the Scarlet Knights pulled within 29-9.

Cornell will continue Ivy League competition when it visits Penn (1 p.m.) and Princeton (6 p.m.) on Saturday, Feb. 1.

125 - Nahshon Garrett (C) won by fall over Sean McCabe (R), 6:12
133 - Vinnie Dellefave (R) won by decision over Mark Grey (C), 2-1 (OT)
141 - Mike Nevinger (C) won by major decision over Tyson Dippery (R), 13-2
149 - Ken Theobald (R) won by decision over Conner David (C), 3-1
157 - Brian Realbuto (C) won by decision over Anthony Perotti (R), 6-1
165 - Dylan Palacio (C) won by decision over Nick Visicaro (R), 10-4
174 - Duke Pickett (C) won by decision over Phillip Bakuckas (R), 4-2 (OT)
184 - Gabe Dean (C) won by fall over Anthony Messner (R), 4:20
197 - Jace Bennett (C) won by major decision over Hayden Hrymack (R), 11-2
285 - Billy Smith (R) won by decision over Jacob Aiken-Phillips (C), 3-2 (OT)


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