Columbia 125 lber Nick Babin (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
In a weekend full of duals, we saw a lot of EIWA matchups. Yianni notched his 100th career win - which, amazingly, does not even put him in the top 25 for career wins in Cornell's rich wrestling history. Princeton knocked off a top-10 Arizona State team. Hofstra dominated a tough Buffalo squad.
This week's EIWA Outstanding Wrestler is Columbia's Nick Babin. He had a first-period pin over the NCAA D1 pin leader Max Leete of American. Then, proceeded to knock off 13th-ranked Trevor Mastrogiovanni of Oklahoma State in their dual. Nick has been on a fantastic run as of late with a record of 10-3 since after Thanksgiving, including a ranked win over Ethan Berginc of Army two weeks ago. If this trajectory continues, he will be one of the top guys in the conference in a talented weight class. Congrats to Nick!
The Eagles were off to a rough start this past weekend, getting blanked by a sneaky-tough Columbia team 48-0. American did not match up well against the Lions, as each team's strengths are mainly in the lower weights - but Columbia's strengths were slightly better on this day. It is a bit surprising of a result, in my opinion, but they had the opportunity to bounce back against Bucknell on Sunday.
In the Bucknell dual, they won three bouts - which was not enough - and they fell via 28-10 score. Caleb Campos (165 lbs) and Lucas White (174 lbs) each earned a decision. 125lb wrestler, Max Leete, scored a major for the Eagles' final win. At 133lbs, Jack Maida wrestled #22 Kurt Phipps to a 5-3 decision. I'm sure we'll see that match again at conferences.
Next weekend, the Eagles will travel to Campbell for three duals against Central Michigan, CSU Bakersfield, and Campbell. Each of the schools are led by a Central Michigan graduate and Jason Borrelli will get to square off against his father, Tom, at CMU.
The Black Knights (sometimes referred to as "America's Team") were on the road this weekend. They dropped a dual to #5 NC State by a 30-6 score. Outmatched by a very good Wolfpack team, Army won two matches. Ethan Berginc (#32 @ 125lbs) started the dual with a win. They did not win again until the 174lbs match where Ben Pasiuk (#21) had a victory over Faison (#31). Some of the matches were tight, but overall not a bad showing.
On Sunday, they battled Queens (D2) and Gardner-Webb. They blanked Queens in a very lopsided affair. Lets' just say, a majority of the bouts didn't last the entire seven minutes.
Their battle with Gardner-Webb was much tighter, winning 20-15. Two major decisions by Nate Lukez (157 lbs) and Trae McDaniel (149 lbs) helped propel the Black Knights over GW. Pasiuk took care of business with a 20-second fall. Ethan Berginc (#32 @ 125lbs) and Kade Carlson (285lbs) won matches.
Army's schedule is one of the toughest in the nation. It was definitely a change of pace for them to be favored on paper to win the dual. It was a great momentum boost for them as they head into the conference duals portion of the season. Next weekend's schedule for the Black Knights brings both #7 Cornell and Bucknell to town Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
The Bearcats traveled to Drexel on Friday, where they had a close dual - but lost 19-12 with a few starters out with injury. Wins came from Micah Roes at 125 lbs, Nate Lucier at 141 lbs, and Cory Day (#21 @ 285 lbs). One of the marquee match-ups was at 184 lbs. Jacob Nolan (#23) won in overtime over 25th-ranked Brian Bonino of Drexel. A respectable outing for a team without two ranked starters in the lineup.
On Sunday, they played host to #20 Lehigh, where they produced wins at 4 weights, but fell in the dual 26-12. Heavyweight, Cory Day (#21 @ 285 lbs), had a nice win over a tough Nathan Taylor. Ivan Garcia won over Jaret Lane, bumping up a weight class. We saw the Maryland transfer, Conner Decker (157 lbs) beat his opponent. Cassella bounced back from a tough loss the other night and beat his opponent. These guys are pretty banged up. They'll need some time to get back to 100%. This could potentially be a top-5 team in the EIWA, if healthy. We'll see Binghamton back in action next weekend with a dual at Harvard.
The Bears hosted 27th-ranked North Carolina. They managed only a single win, which came from Drew Clearie at 174 lbs, making the final score 36-4 in favor of the Tar Heels. Clearie's major decision was impressive. Also, continuing to wrestle well, we saw Ricky Cabanillas drop a close 3-2 match to #18 Zach Sherman. Cabanillas seems to be finding his stride as of late after his F&M Open Championship a week ago. The Bears are in good hands with Jordan Leen at the helm. Next week's agenda does not get much easier with 7th-ranked Cornell coming to town in an Ivy-League battle.
The Bison's lone match this weekend was at American on Sunday. The team has performed well while wrestling a bunch of true freshmen. They saw decision wins from Riley Bower at 157 lbs, Dorian Crosby at heavyweight, and Dylan Chappell at 141 lbs. Kurt Phipps (#22 @ 133 lbs) won the match-up of the dual over last year's EIWA 4th-place finisher Jack Maida. Two pins came from Mikey Bartush (184 lbs) and Nolan Springer (197 lbs). In the final bout of the evening, Braden Bower earned a major decision. This was a solid win for a young team. They will have a great matchup next weekend when the Bison host Drexel on Sunday.
The Lions hosted EIWA foe American on Friday. They thumped American 46-0, winning all ten bouts, which included some type of bonus-point victory in every bout wrestled. Nick Babin pinned Max Leete at 125 lbs, who is usually on the other end of pinning opponents. Angelo Rini (#32 @ 133 lbs) majored Maida, who was fourth at EIWA's last season. The Lions really stepped up in this bout with a spectacular performance.
On Sunday, they hosted the 13th-ranked Cowboys of Oklahoma State. This match was off to a great start when Nick Babin upset Trevor Mastrogiovanni (#13 @ 125 lbs). At 141 lbs, Matt Kazimir (#27 @ 141 lbs) kept the magic going when he pinned 19th-ranked Carter Young. Josh Ogunsanya (#17 @ 165lbs) beat returning All-American Wyatt Sheets (#22). This gave them the 12-9 lead, until Oklahoma State ran the table at the last four weights to win 23-12. Head Coach Zach Tanelli has quietly improved this team steadily over the years and fails to get the credit he deserves. More wrestlers are finding their way into the rankings almost every week. Up next, the Lions will stay at home, while both Princeton and Penn will come to town, in an all-Ivy League weekend of wrestling.
The Big Red proved to be the top dog in the EIWA thus far this year with an 18-15 win over #20 Lehigh. Both teams had a handful of starters out with injury. The matches were split 5-5, but Cornell prevailed thanks to bonus point wins from Yianni Diakomihalis (#1 @ 149 lbs) and Julian Ramirez (#7 @ 165 lbs). Big wins from D11 prospects Cole Handlovic at 157 lbs and #18 Brett Ungar (#18 @ 125 lbs). Handlovic beat Max Brignola (#25 @ 149 lbs) while Ungar knocked off a very good Jaret Lane. Fourth-ranked Chris Foca was the team's fifth win of the night.
Considering Cornell was without two returning All-Americans Jon Loew (#6 @184 lbs) and Vito Arujau (#3 @ 133 lbs), plus Lewis Fernandes (#18 @ 285 lbs). Cornell will continue action next week on the road with duals against Brown and Harvard. Expect to possibly see some starters rest up to stay fresh for the final stretch of the season.
The Dragons hosted Binghamton on Friday, then made a short trip to Franklin and Marshall on Saturday. Drexel was 2-0 on the weekend (19-12 over BU and 23-13 over F&M). Kyle Waterman was 2-0 on the weekend, with a solid win over Phillips of F&M. Luke Nichter (#26 @ 149 lbs) secured two major decision victories, as he looks to be healthy for the first time in a while. Evan Barczak (#27 @ 165 lbs) won a match over returning NCAA Qualifier, Brevin Cassella of Binghamton and a tech fall over F&M. The Dragons are still without Mickey O'Malley (#5 @ 174 lbs), who is easing his way back from an injury. They will travel to Bucknell next weekend for some EIWA action.
Franklin & Marshall
The Diplomats hosted Drexel to a dual on Saturday night, falling 23-13. They walked away with four wins, however. Mason Liephart started the dual off with a win over previous NCAA qualifier, Antonio Mininno. At 174lbs, Noah Fox earned a 4-3 win, while Cenzo Pelusi won in overtime. The only bonus point victory for the Dips came from John Crawford at 197 lbs.
Coming into the season, we knew this F&M team had a lot of inexperience. It showed last night, when they started five true freshmen. As expected, the team will take their lumps, but expect this team to keep improving week by week, and year by year. Next week, they will host Gettysburg (D3) on Wednesday, followed by duals at LIU and Hofstra on Saturday.
The Crimson dropped a home dual to #27 North Carolina, 22-12. Their first win came from true freshman Jack Crook, with an upset win over #18 Zach Sherman utilizing a takedown with short time left in the match. Harvard's next two wins came at 165 lbs with Josh Kim, and Alex Whitworth at 174 lbs. Lastly, Yara Slavikouski (#9 @ 285 lbs) won by decision.
It was good to see some of Harvard's freshman talent step up with wins in a big dual. The Crimson are still without 12th-ranked Phil Conigliaro at 174lbs due to injury. Harvard's schedule next weekend includes home duals against Binghamton and Cornell on Saturday.
The Pride of Hofstra had one dual on the weekend, at Buffalo, where they dominated, by winning seven of ten matches. More impressively, they won four of the six one-score matches. Only one bonus point victory was secured by Justin Hoyle (141 lbs). The Pride saw wins to start the match by winning the first six matches. Jacob Ferreira (#24 @ 184lbs) lost to #28 Guiseppe Hoose in a one-point match. What a turnaround performance from their last two matches, which included losses to American (before the new year) and Bucknell a week ago. The coaching staff has to be excited about this one. Next weekend, Hofstra will host F&M in an EIWA match-up.
The Mountain Hawks began the weekend on the road with a highly-anticipated matchup against #7 Cornell. Battling some injuries, they managed to split matches with them, but lost the dual 18-15 due to Cornell's two bonus point victories. Malyke Hines (141 lbs) knocked off 13th-ranked Vince Cornella to start off the Cornell dual. Michael Beard (#3 @ 197 lbs) had a win against #19 Jacob Cardenas of Cornell.
Their dual against Binghamton was a 26-12 victory, which included a forfeit for Michael Beard (#3 @ 197 lbs) and a tech fall for Malyke Hines (141 lbs). At 149 lbs, Max Brignola earned a fall as well. Tate Samuelson (#19 @ 184 lbs) won by decision over #22 Jacob Nolan. We have been seeing AJ Burkhart down at 174 lbs recently. He was an NCAA qualifier a year ago at 184 lbs. He had a win over Binghamton. This weight class will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. This week's action will take Lehigh on the road to face #21 Penn and Navy.
The Sharks split two duals this weekend - losing 33-6 against Clarion and beating VMI 28-12. The only two wins against Clarion came at the beginning with Robbie Sagaris (125 lbs) and Kaelan Francois (133 lbs) each earning decisions. Sagaris was the only Shark to go 2-0 on the day. He missed a few weeks with an injury, and he looks to be getting back on track. Other LIU members earning wins against VMI were Devin Matthews (141), Drew Witham (149), Rhise Royster (157), TJ Franden (174), Gavin Claro (184) and Aeden Begue (285). The Sharks' second win of the season already doubled last year's total season effort. Next week's dual against Franklin and Marshall at home will be a nice opportunity for their third win of the year.
The Midshipmen were competing at the Virginia Duals over the weekend. They went 1-3 on the weekend with losses to #19 South Dakota State (31-6), Virginia (29-9), and #26 Oklahoma (28-12). They had a win over Kent State 27-21. On day one, we saw Grady Griess (#20 @ 285 lbs) win both of his matches. David Key (184 lbs) knocked off Neil Antrassian (#16) of Virginia and pinned Keegan Moore (#31) of Oklahoma. Brenden Ferretti (133 lbs) was 2-2 on the weekend, after a first-place finish at the F&M Open last week. Day 2 was a good one for Sammy Starr (174 lbs). I am sure Navy expected better performances this weekend, but it is only January. Expect them to wrestle Lehigh tough next weekend at home.
The Quakers took on the "Ivy of the West" at Stanford on Sunday. The match turned out to be a barn burner, where Stanford won 16-15. Maximus Hale (184 lbs) won the first match for the Quakers, three bouts into the dual. Penn's biggest upset of the night came at 125 lbs, where Ryan Miller (#31) took down Nico Provo (#15) 7-4. Michael Colaiocco (#9 @ 133 lbs) and Camren Ferrante (141 lbs) each won by decision. The last match of the night camme down to Anthony Artalona (#14 @ 157 lbs). He needed a major decision to tie the dual, but fell short only winning by six. It was not the cross-country trip they were hoping for, but it's onto the next one. This weekend, they have a full EIWA weekend matchup with #20 Lehigh coming in Friday, and will travel to Columbia on Sunday.
The Tigers had two duals on the weekend, while making a cross-country trek. First, was a dual against #28 Oregon State in Austin, TX at the FloWrestling headquarters. Patrick Glory (#2 @ 125) had one of the team's wins over returning All-American Brandon Kaylor (#19). Quincy Monday (#4) needed an overtime takedown to defeat #21 Matthew Olguin at 165 lbs. Lastly, Travis Stefanik won by a decision at heavyweight.
The second dual was at #10 Arizona State and was drastically different from their first match of the weekend. They dominated the tenth-ranked team, by winning 7 of 10 matches - making the final score 24-12. The Tigers started off with a quick pin by Quincy Monday (#4 @ 165 lbs). They earned decisions in the next five bouts, highlighted by Kole Mulhauser (174 lbs) defeating talented freshman Cael Valencia, followed by Nate Dugan beating 21st-ranked Anthony Montalvo at 184 lbs. The matchup of the night went Princeton's way as well. Patrick Glory (#2 @ 125 lbs) defeated NCAA runner-up two seasons ago, Brandon Courtney (#6). True freshman Ty Whalen closed the match out with a win as well.
There were some mixed results this weekend for the Tigers. But, if the Arizona State match is any indication of how good this team COULD be, look out EIWA. This weekend's slate of duals includes an away match at Columbia and in-state rival Rider at home.
The Pioneers hosted VMI to a Sunday matinee. Ryan Bellentino was the lone winner at 174lbs. There were a couple of one-score matches at 157lbs and 184lbs that could've gone the other way. This was a little more one-sided than I expected coming into the week. I do not think the Sacred Heart staff expected a result like this either. A hiccup in January is not a major issue. There is time for the team to continue to get better and make some noise at conferences.