Cornell's four-time NCAA champion Yianni Diakomihalis (photo courtesy of Tony DiMarco)
Over the next week, InterMat will unveil its annual, year-end conference awards. Each day will feature a new conference. Award winners have been selected by InterMat's editor and respective conference correspondent(s).
2022-23 InterMat EIWA Wrestler of the Year: Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell)
It was a banner year for Yianni Diakomihalis as he made history by becoming only the fifth wrestler ever to win four NCAA DI titles. Diakomihalis also became the second Cornell wrestler to accomplish the feat (joining Kyle Dake). He captured his second national title at 149 lbs after winning the first two down at 141.
Yianni carried a 75-match winning streak into the 2022-23 season, which was unexpectedly stopped by Austin Gomez in Diakomihalis' first outing of the year. That kept him two wins shy of Dake's Cornell record. Even so, Diakomihalis rebounded to finish his second season on a new 21-match streak.
Along the way, Diakomihalis captured his fourth EIWA title, becoming only the 14th wrestler to accomplish the feat. At EIWA's, Diakomihalis bonused his way through the tournament. A 15-3 win over Dylan Chappell (Bucknell) in the finals was his "closest" bout. For the year, Yianni posted bonus points in just under 60% of his matches.
At the NCAA Tournament, Diakomihalis showed the clutchness that many first saw with him as a freshman. During the quarterfinals, he deftly avoided giving up nearfall points in the waning seconds of an 8-7 win over Max Murin (Iowa). A match later, he faced a late deficit at the hands of redshirt freshman Shayne Van Ness (Cornell). Unphased, Diakomihalis secured a takedown and backpoints to earn an 8-3 win. For his fourth title, Yianni survived a late scramble against Sammy Sasso (Ohio State), who was close to earning a tying takedown.
Diakomihalis finishes his time at Cornell with a 115-2 record; having never lost to an EIWA/Ivy League opponent. This is the second consecutive year in which he was named the EIWA Wrestler of the Year by InterMat.
Cornell's freshman Vince Cornella (photo courtesy of Tony DiMarco)
2022-23 InterMat EIWA Freshman of the Year: Vince Cornella (Cornell)
Vince Cornella narrowly edged teammate Brett Ungar for conference Freshman of the Year honors. Ungar finished up strong at nationals, while Cornella had the better body of work for the entire season.
After a fifth-place finish at the U20 World Championships last summer, Cornella showed he was likely ready for a big year in Ithaca. Right off the bat, Cornella got off to a great start with a win at the Bearcat Open and a victory in his dual debut.
Cornella had a bit of a subpar performance at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational, but bounced back to win eight of his final ten duals. That set the stage for a dominant showing at the EIWA Championships. Cornella went 4-0 with three falls and a major decision to capture a conference title.
With his performance at the EIWA Championships, Cornella earned the second seed in Tulsa. There he was victorious in the opening round with a 7-4 win over McKenzie Bell (Rider) but fell in the two matches that followed.
For the year, Cornella finished with a 21-6 record and only one loss against EIWA competition.
Cornell head coach Mike Grey (photo courtesy of Tony DiMarco)
2022-23 InterMat EIWA Coach of the Year: Mike Grey (Cornell)
In just his second season as head coach of the Big Red, Mike Grey's Cornell squad amassed 76.5 team points at the 2023 NCAA Championships, good enough for a third-place finish. That was an improvement from Cornell's seventh-place finish in 2022.
Cornell finished with a 12-3 dual record for the second consecutive season. Grey's team tallied dual victories over Virginia Tech, Oregon State, North Carolina and Arizona State.
Individually, the Big Red saw a pair of wrestlers claim national titles with Yianni Diakomihalis grabbing his fourth and Vito Arujau winning at 133 lbs. Arujau dominated Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) and Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) in his final two matches to earn Outstanding Wrestler honors in Tulsa. Along with their national champions, Chris Foca (3rd) and Jacob Cardenas (8th) also got onto the podium for Cornell.
Despite competing in an ever-improving EIWA, Cornell dominated the conference tournament with six champions and outdistanced Lehigh by 45 points.
Even with the loss of Diakomihalis, the future looks bright for Grey and the Big Red as three All-Americans are set to return in 2023-24.
2022 Award Winners
EIWA Wrestler of the Year: Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell)
EIWA Coach of the Year: Chris Ayres (Princeton)
EIWA Rookie (Freshman) of the Year: CJ Composto (Penn)