PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- In front of a packed house at the Rutgers Athletic Center, the Cornell wrestling team defeated former EIWA-foe No. 22 Rutgers by a final score of 18-16 on Friday night. Junior Hunter Richard's third period pin at 149 pounds was a catalyst for the Big Red, who led big at the break after winning a number of key swing matches in the middle weights.
With a win, Cornell improves its season tally to 6-4 before welcoming No. 3 Virginia Tech to town on Sunday afternoon. Friday night's win marks two straight for the Big Red, who now own a 2-4 record against ranked opponents this season.
Rutgers opened the dual with an early lead following Dom LaJoie's 10-5 loss to No. 15 Nicolas Aguilar at 125 pounds, but that was the last lead the Scarlet Knights would see for the remainder of the evening. Chas Tucker got Cornell on the board first at 133 pounds, keeping his undefeated season alive in typical Tucker fashion with a 3-2 decision over No. 11 Sammy Alvarez. Tucker's win over Alvarez is his eighth victory over a ranked opponent this season and marks the first loss to a ranked opponent for Alvarez this season.
Noah Baughman extended Cornell's lead to 6-3 following a 6-4 decision over highly-touted freshman JoJo Aragona. Baughman trailed Aragona, 4-2, with just 15 seconds remaining in the bout, but fought for a late takedown and tallied two near-fall points at the buzzer to come out on top. Hunter's Richard fall at 149 pounds proved to be the dual deciding bonus points after his pin of Gerard Angelo gave the Big Red a 12-3 lead. Richard turned Angelo's offense against him late in the match before sticking the Scarlet Knight's shoulders to the mat. On fire as of late, Richard has won three straight bouts with bonus points.
Adam Santoro gave Cornell its fourth of five straight victories on Friday night with a 9-4 win over Michael VanBrill at 157 pounds. Jake Brindley capped off the run for the Big Red with a narrow 5-3 decision over Brett Donner. Brindley's takedown with under a minute to go in the third period was the deciding factor in the match as Brindley was then able to ride out the clock to secure his second dual win of the season.
Rutgers mounted a comeback effort over the final four bouts of the night, taking three by decision and one by major decision. Joe Grello, Billy Janzer, Jordan Pagano and Alex Esposito all earned wins for the Scarlet Knights, with Pagano the lone bonus win at 197 pounds.
Cornell welcomes No. 3 Virginia Tech (6-0) to Ithaca on Sunday, Jan. 19 for a 1 p.m. ET dual in Newman Arena. Virginia Tech will first battle Binghamton University on Saturday, Jan. 18 prior to arriving on East Hill. The Hokies are 6-0 on the season and boast a lineup that features seven wrestlers ranked by FloWrestling and nine total wrestlers ranked by a major ranking provider. All of Sunday's action in Ithaca can be viewed on ESPN+.
125: #15 Nicolas Aguilar (RUT) dec. Dom LaJoie (COR), 10-5; Rutgers leads, 3-0
133: #5 Chas Tucker (COR) dec. #11 Sammy Alvarez (RUT), 3-2; Tied, 3-3
141: Noah Baughman (COR) dec. JoJo Aragona (RUT), 6-4; Cornell leads, 6-3
149: Hunter Richard (COR) over Gerard Angelo (RUT), Fall (5:54); Cornell leads, 12-3
157: Adam Santoro (COR) dec. Michael VanBrill (RUT), 9-4; Cornell leads, 15-3
165: Jake Brindley (COR) dec. Brett Donner (RUT), 5-3; Cornell leads, 18-3
174: Joe Grello (RUT) dec. Milik Dawkins (COR), 7-2; Cornell leads, 18-6
184: #25 Billy Janzer (RUT) dec. #23 Jonathan Loew (COR), 10-4; Cornell leads, 18-9
197: #18 Jordan Pagano (RUT) major dec. Jonathon Fagen (COR), 12-0; Cornell leads, 18-13
285: Alex Esposito (RUT) dec. Brendan Furman (COR), 6-3; Cornell wins, 18-16