On Feb. 2, 2002, the Penn Quakers beat Cornell, 21-9, inside The Palestra in Philadelphia. The Big Red has not lost an Ivy League dual since, besting Brown last Saturday for an incredible 70-straight win, 14-year streak against league rivals.
Since 1993 when head coach Rob Koll took over in Ithaca, CU is 103-8-1 against the Ivy League.
“I want these guys to know how important these matches are and what it means,” Koll said following Saturday’s win over Brown. “It’s easy to look past a team like (Brown). Last night, today, we were losing against these guys. All of a sudden, if one guys get pinned, two guys get pinned, you lose. This is not just their four years. This goes back 13 years and before that actually with guys who started the streak. You look at the guys who were on that team who were seniors 13 years ago. They started their careers four years prior to that. Really, it’s almost 17 years of tradition and Cornell alumni who take a great deal of pride in it.”
Brown led 13-10 after six bouts, but Brian Realbuto, Gabe Dean, and Owen Scott each had bonus point victories for the 16th-ranked Big Red at 174, 184, and 197 pounds, respectively. The win pushed Cornell’s all-time record against Brown to 53-2. Other Ivy League foes have not fared much better: The Big Red are 87-13 against Columbia; 6-0 against Dartmouth; 53-9 against Harvard; 82-21 versus Penn; 54-15 against Princeton; and 29-14 in duals against Yale ― Yale and Dartmouth no longer field DI programs.
Cornell also has a significant streak against EIWA opponents ― 45 straight wins and nine straight EIWA tournament titles. Koll and Co. host No. 8 Lehigh this Saturday where another replay of the 2015 NCAA finals at 184 pounds could be on tap with LU’s Nate Brown and Dean squaring off; Dean (24-0) beat Brown earlier this season in the Southern Scuffle final.
Streaks and freaks
Dean moved his win streak to 52 with a win last Saturday. The junior 184-pounder from Lowell, Mi., finished 43-2 as a sophomore and as a national champion. Dean is 107-5 for his career. The 52-match win streak ranks fourth among current Division I wrestlers.
North Carolina State’s Nick Gwiazdowski, a two-time NCAA champion at 285 pounds, currently owns a 75-match win streak after a technical fall in the Wolfpack’s 35-7 win over Virginia on Sunday. The New York native is 20-0 this season and 127-11 for his career.
Oklahoma State 165-pounder Alex Dieringer, a two-time NCAA champion, needed just 24 seconds on Sunday to move his win streak to 66. The senior from Wisconsin is 119-4 since arriving in Stillwater.
Illinois sophomore Isaiah Martinez has yet to lose a collegiate match, winning 54 straight that includes a 35-0 freshman campaign and a national championship at 157 pounds.
Tasty duals this weekend
Four duals highlight this weekend’s schedule with, as usual, the Big Ten heavily involved. After beating No. 11 Nebraska on Friday, top-ranked Penn State whipped Northwestern, 46-4, on Sunday. The victory over NU included Zain Retherford’s dismantling of former NCAA champion Jason Tsirtsis, 15-5, in the 149-pound bout and top-ranked Morgan McIntosh picking up his 100th career victory. This Saturday the Nittany Lions (10-0) travel to Champaign to meet No. 8 Illinois where PSU rookie Jason Nolf should get a shot at Martinez at 157 pounds and Bo Nickal, another rookie, is expected to meet Zac Brunson (14-0).
Another slugfest could take place in Lincoln where the Huskers host the second ranked and unbeaten Iowa Hawkeyes (11-0). NU (9-3) is certainly battle tested after losses to PSU and Ohio State last weekend, while Iowa has outscored its last two opponents, 85-3. Iowa has beaten the Huskers seven straight times.
Perhaps the best dual of the weekend will be in Stillwater where No. 5 Oklahoma State (6-2) hosts No. 4 Missouri, 9-0 and a winner of 3 straight dual meets. OSU, coming off a 38-0 shutout of 18th-ranked Pittsburgh, is 40-6-1 all-time against MU. However, five of the Tigers’ wins against their former Big 12 rival have come since 2007 including last season’s 22-10 victory in Columbia. The last team to beat MU? O-State in January of 2014.
Lehigh and Cornell hook up for the 91st time on Saturday. LU holds a 59-31 all-time series advantage. The Big Red won 7 of 10 bouts in last season’s 21-9 win in Bethlehem, Pa.
Iowa wrestling fans will get some extra grappling on Friday before and possibly after the Hawkeyes’ dual with Purdue inside Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The United States Women’s freestyle team is holding a training camp in Iowa City from Monday to Friday, culminating in wrestle-offs Friday. The first bouts in the best-of-three series at each weight class will be held at 10 a.m.; the second bouts will start at 6:30 Friday night prior to the collegiate dual with any “if-necessary” matches taking place concluding the dual. Four weight classes will be contested (116.5, 128, 138.75, and 152 pounds) with the winners competing at the Pan American Games Olympic qualifying tournament in Frisco, Texas, March 5.
Putting the nation’s top women wrestlers in front of wrestling-crazy Iowa fans is a no brainer.
“In Iowa City, the University of Iowa and the state of Iowa, wrestling is very much appreciated,” Women’s U.S. National coach Terry Steiner said. “For so many of these women, coming through the ranks, their careers have not been so appreciated. It will also give the Iowa City community and the state of Iowa a chance to get to know our national team and our stars.
“We still have five weights to qualify for the Olympics, so we will have wrestle-offs around the Iowa-Purdue dual meet. We need to determine who will go to the Pan American Olympic Qualifier for us. There are a lot of reasons to be here.”
Life in the desert?
Former coach of the U.S. Men’s National team Zeke Jones took over at Arizona State in April of 2014. His first squad went 8-7 and finished 29th at the 2015 NCAA Championships. Entering last Friday’s dual with No. 14 Iowa State, the Sun Devils were 6-6 and coming off a loss to Chattanooga at the Virginia Duals. ISU led 18-17 after Earl Hall’s technical fall at 133 pounds. But ASU’s Robbie Mathers (141) and Matt Kraus (149) each grinded out wins for a 23-18 Sun Devil decision.
“I think the team was gritty,” Jones said. “I define grit as, regardless of what happens, when things are happening good or things are happening bad, you still have to stay determined and focused to end up with your hand raised and win a dual meet and I think they did that.
“I think it certainly gives the team a lot of confidence when you can beat a team of that caliber. We’re going to enjoy it tonight, because you have to re-earn it the next week. I keep losing close to my heart, meaning that I don’t forget what it felt like to lose to Boise State. Unless I get about a thousand wins in a row I don’t start to get excited. Good win, nice job, enjoy it tonight and let’s get back to work tomorrow.”
Arizona State wrestles at Utah Valley State on Thursday and hosts West Virginia and Stanford on Saturday in Tempe.
• Bucknell’s Joe Stolfi extended his school-record to 58 career pins after flattening Ross Larson of Oklahoma last Saturday. The three-time NCAA qualifiers from Harleysville, Pa., is 8-1 with six pins this season after recording 20 as a junior and 23 as a sophomore.
• Unranked Minnesota continued its up-and-down season, beating No. 8 Rutgers, 17-16, Sunday. Each team won five bouts with UM redshirt-freshman Tommy Thorn beating fourth-ranked Anthony Ashnault at 141 pounds. Brett Pfarr’s technical fall at 197 pounds to open the dual was the difference. The Gophers are 6-6 entering this Sunday’s meet with Purdue in Minneapolis.
• 2015 World freestyle champion Kyle Snyder returned to the mat for Ohio State on Sunday, picking up a dual-clinching victory over Nebraska’s Colin Jensen in the Buckeyes’s 21-17 win. Snyder, an NCAA runner-up as a freshman last March, was expected to return in February but took the mat Sunday.
“It’s Christmas morning for him and the tree is filled with gifts underneath, and he can’t wait to open them up,” Head coach Tom Ryan said. “I was doing the math in my head, and I’m telling myself ̒If this thing is within reason, we’ve got a World champ closing it out for us.’ So needless to say, I felt pretty good. Great to see him out there.”
• Duke’s Connor Hartman, a senior 197-pounder, two-time All-American, and three-time NCAA qualifier, moved to 16-1 this season with a 22-second pin in the Blue Devils’ victory over Cal Poly.
• Appalachian State moved into the USA Today/NWCA Poll last week. It marks the first time in program history the Mountaineers have been inside the top 25. ASU is 8-2 entering this Wednesday’s dual at The Citadel.