Location: Friedman Wrestling Arena - Ithaca, NY
Day & Time: 19 JAN 20 at 1:00pm
Viewing: ESPN+ and in-person
Updates: Twitter @HokiesWrestling, and Trackwrestling
The Opponent: Cornell Big Red
2018-2019 Season and Now
Cornell's dual record last year was 13-3 (5-0 EIWA), winning the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association regular season championship, against the other Ivies. They would not get the sweep, tying for 2nd in their conference tournament though. The Big Red did defeat Virginia Tech last year, in Blacksburg, 17-16. Four members of the Cornell squad are taking Olympic Redshirt years and will miss the 2019-20 season Vito Arujau (125), Yianni Diakomihalis (141), Andrew Berreyesa (165) and Max Dean (184). Arujau, Diakomihalis, and Dean are former All-Americans. Most importantly Yianni Diakomihalis is the reigning 141lbs NCAA Chmpionship for the past two years.
Because the have many redshirts, Cornell has not been so successful for 2019-2020. They are currently 6-4, and only two of those matches were against unranked teams. The hold duals wins over #24 South Dakota State, #22 Rutgers, and #19 Missouri. There losses were against #9 NC State, #8 Ohio State, #15 Minnesota, and #14 Lehigh.
Coach: Rob Koll
Coach Koll is part of the old guard of coaches. He is in his 27th season at Cornell and is the program's all time winningest coach with a record of 312-98-5. He has a National Coach of the Year award under his belt for the 2005 season. His teams best NCAA finish is 2nd, doing so twice in 2010 and 2011.
He has coached 71 All-Americans and produced an astounding 16 national champions. Koll's coaching success stems from his own wrestling careers. A four time All-American from the University of North Carolina. He himself won the national championship for the 158lbs weight class in 1988. His collegiate career record is 150-20-1 between 1986-1989.
125lbs: Dominic LaJoie (SO, Gaylord MI)
LaJoie is holding down the 125lbs spot till Arujau completes his Olympic Redshirt. He is currently 11-12 this season and his career record is 29-17.
133lbs: #4 Chas Tucker (r-SR, Worcester MA)
The two time NCAA qualifier (2018 & 2019) is 20-0 this season, but is still looking for his first All-American status. The scary thing is, he isn't even Cornell's best wrestler. His career record is 71-18 with three EIWA championships. He defeated Korbin Meyers in the Virginia Tech dual last year
141lbs: Noah Baughman (SR, Doylestown OH)
A more than capable wrestler who was actually the starter for 125lbs in his freshman and sophomore year. He just regained his spot at 141lbs as Diakomihalis takes his redshirt. He is currently 16-8, with a career record of 66-33 and surprisingly has yet to make it to the NCAA tournament.
149lbs: Hunter Richard (JR, Barneveld NY)
Richard is currently 14-7, but a deeper look into his record shows he's a tough wrestler. This is his first time being a starter for the Big Red. His overall record is 39-19
157lbs: Adam Santoro (JR, Vahalla NY)
Santoro was the starter at 157lbs last year, but was actually unseated by Colton Yapoujian. Yapoujian suffered an injury so it's back to Santoro. Also last year Santoro lost to LaPrade in the VT dual. His record so far is 9-10 and 52-46 for his career.
165lbs: Jake Brindley (r-SO, Orlando FL)
Brindley just recently took over the starting spot having only wrestled in three of Cornell's duals. His 2019-2020 record is 4-5 and adding his freshman record brings his total to 9-9.
174lbs: Milik Dawkins (r-SR, Flint MI)
Dawkins will most likely be the starter for this dual as #19 Brandon Womack has not wrestled since the end on December. Dawkins had to bump up from 165lbs, but his record this season is 9-8. His career record stands at 50-36.
184lbs: #19 Jonathan Loew (r-FR, Wantagh NY)
The freshman is doing well to hold down last year's NCAA runner up, Max Dean's spot. His 17-8 record, this year, gives Cornell another ranked wrestler. His overall record is 34-19.
197lbs: #5 Ben Darmstadt (r-SO, Elyria OH)
The best wrestler in this line up, he currently the nation's leader in falls this season with 11. He took a medical redshirt last year, but earned All-American status in 2018. His record this season is 19-5 while his career record so far is 71-13.
HVY: Brendan Furman (r-SO, Canonsburg PA)
Furman is a starter for his first season. He has already wrestled John Borst this year and lost at the Cliff Keen invitational. His season and career record is 13-9 and 37-22 respectfully.
Virginia Tech goes into this match with six ranked wrestlers and nothing has changed since Binghamton: #12 Joey Prata (125lbs), #18 Mitch Moore (141lbs), #19 BC LaPrade (157lbs), #3 David McFadden (165lbs), #2 Hunter Bolen (184lbs), and #17 John Borst. The Hokies are quite fortunate that Cornell is with out four redshirted wrestlers and an injured Brandon Womack. Once again, I'll be at this match to answer question to those who want an explanation of what happens. Hopefully I dont get stuck in the snow like I did at Binghamton
There will still be great matches to watch. The match of the day will be Bolen versus Loew. Bolen was lucky that he didnt have to face Deprez yesterday so he should be healthy to face his opponent. The other match to watch is if Gerardi can prevent bonus points against Cornell's Tucker. I'm not saying that Gerardi has no shot of an upset, but something like that would send shockwaves through the wrestling world.
125: #12 Prata dec. LaJoie (3-0 VT)
133: #4 Tucker maj dec. Gerardi (4-3 CU)
141: #18 M. Moore dec. Baughman (6-4 VT)
149: Andonian dec. Richard (9-4 VT)
157: #19 LaPrade dec. Santoro (12-4 VT)
165: #3 McFadden maj dec. Brintdey (16-4 VT)
174: Dawkins dec. Hughes (16-7 VT)
184: #2 Bolen dec. #19 Loew (19-7 VT)
197: Darmstadt fall Smeltzer (19-13 VT)
285: #17 Borst dec Furman (22-13 VT)
Even though Virginia Tech is the better team on paper, many believe this will still be a close match. I will say my prediction are more on the positive side than usual. 149lbs, 174lbs, and 285lbs are all tilt matches. Andonian has been on a roll lately, but Cornell always produces technically sound wrestlers. And technically sound wrestlers are a true freshman's kryptonite. He could win by a major or could lose by a decision. Hughes match is a total coin flip. He has the natural weight advantage, but Dawkin's record is more convincing. Lastly, Borst should handle his opponent, but he has been disappointing offensively. Yesterday was the first time he completed a take down in his last four matches. He needs to take shots. If two of my predictions are wrong in this dual, that's a six point swing and Virginia Tech would lose a close match. Nevertheless, I have Hokies winning 22-13.