ITHACA, N.Y. -- Before a jam-packed gymnasium on Senior Night, the nationally-ranked Ithaca College wrestling team scored a 23-12 win over rival Cortland Wednesday to conclude the regular season.
In a matchup of top-10 institutions, No. 9 Ithaca (16-5) improved to 16-4 in dual matches against Division III foes and handed No. 6 Cortland (12-3) its first dual meet loss in seven matches.
"This is a huge win for us. We've been climbing the ladder little by little this year and this is just another step for us on our journey," said junior Carlos Toribio, who earned a 12-3 major decision win at 184 to improve to 25-7 this year.
"This will motivate us and boost our confidence beating a nationally-ranked school like Cortland. We're stepping up our training and we're doing extra workouts twice a week. We do hard conditioning workouts which is really helping us step it up and that's making a difference for us. The team is peaking at the right time."
Junior co-captain Jimmy Kaishian sparked the Bombers from the get-go, earning a pin over Andrew Roden in 5:43 at 125 pounds. After a scoreless first period, Kaishian used an escape and a takedown to take a 3-0 lead. Kaishian, ranked fifth in the country, added four points on a near-fall before pinning Roden 43 seconds into the final period to improve to 35-4 on the year, and 17-1 in duals.
"Jimmy getting that pin in the first match was huge," said Toribio. "Jimmy always gets the job done and he always helps get us off to a strong start."
Sophomore Bryan Israel, ranked fifth in the country, earned a 4-2 win at 133. After a first-period takedown gave him a 2-0 lead, Israel and Alex D'Angelo were knotted at two late in the third. But Israel prevailed thanks to an escape and a point on riding time to improve to 20-5.
Ithaca's lead swelled to 12-0 after junior Nick Wahba earned a 4-3 win at 141. Trailing 3-1 late in his match with Derak Heyman, Wahba evened the match at three with a takedown and secured the win on riding time to complete the comeback. Wahba has won 21 of 21 matches in 2015-16.
Senior Dan Pak took an early 2-0 lead at 149 on a first-period takedown, but suffered a 10-4 loss. Fellow senior Eamonn Gaffney also dropped a tough 11-4 decision at 157 to Bobby Dierna, ranked No. 1 in the country in his weight class.
Sophomore Nick Velez then delivered a 10-2 major decision win at 165 to swing momentum back towards the Bombers. Velez scored two points on a takedown and four points for a near-fall for a 6-0 lead. Velez, ranked sixth in the country, tacked on a third-period takedown and scored a point for riding time to finish the scoring and earn his 29th win in 35 bouts.
Facing No. 3 Lou Puca, sophomore Jaison White trailed 5-1 midway through the second before scoring two points on a takedown. White trailed 6-3 heading to the third but pulled within one on a takedown, but Puca scored a point on an escape to clinch the bout for Cortland.
Toribio, the reigning Empire Collegiate Wrestling Conference (ECWC) Wrestler of the Week, scored a takedown 40 seconds into his match for a 2-0 lead, and added a second-period takedown for a 4-0 advantage. Toribio posted three third-period takedowns en route to a 12-3 major decision win, running his record to 25-7.
Ithaca lost at 197, but at 285, junior Matt Booth used an early takedown in the first and a late takedown in the fourth to win 6-0 over Tyler Lilly.
Before the match, the Bombers honored six seniors for their hard work and dedication to the program. The seniors are: Gaffney, Pak, Henry Beaman, Zack Conner, Jake Davenport, and Dan Glinko.
Ithaca competes in the NCAA regionals Feb. 27 before competing in the NCAA championships March 11-12. The Bombers have competed in the Division III national championships 33 straight years, claiming championships in 1989, 1990, and 1994.
125: Jimmy Kaishian (Ithaca) pins Andrew Roden (Cortland)in 5:43
133: Bryan Israel (Ithaca) wins 4-2 decision vs. Alex D'Angelo (Cortland
141: Nick Wahba (Ithaca) wins 4-3 decision vs. Derak Heyman (Cortland)
149: Austin Whitney (Cortland) wins 10-4 decision vs. Dan Pak (Ithaca)
157: Bobby Dierna (Cortland) wins 11-4 decision vs. Eamonn Gaffney (Ithaca)
165: Nick Velez (Ithaca) wins 10-2 major decision vs. Colin Barber (Cortland)
174: Lou Puca (Cortland) wins 7-5 decision vs. Jaison White (Ithaca)
184: Carlos Toribio (Ithaca) wins 12-3 major decision vs. Mike Beckwith (Cortland)
197: Joe Giaramita (Cortland) wins 17-4 major decision vs. Jake Ashcraft (Ithaca)
285: Matt Booth (Ithaca) wins 6-0 decision vs. Tyler Lilly (Cortland)
-Note: Cortland deducted one team point.