^^Feb 22, 2015-
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Cornell wrestling team tuned up for the upcoming EIWA championships with a win over the team that will likely be its largest obstacle toward an unprecedented ninth straight conference title, earning third place at the 2015 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals with a 22-15 win over No. 11 Lehigh on Sunday afternoon at Iowa's Carver-Hawkeye Arena. The Big Red ended its dual meet season with a 17-2 record (9-0 EIWA, 5-0 Ivy), the program's msot wins in a season since the 1992-93 team under Jack Spates went 18-4.
The Big Red's second win of the season over its EIWA rival was its fifth straight over the Mountain Hawks and the program's 44th consecutive over league foes.
The teams traded forfeits - Lehigh at 125 and Cornell at heavyweight - and between those were a number of tight matchups. Four decisions were decided by a takedown or less with each team winning two. Impressive wins by top 10 Cornell grapplers Gabe Dean at 184 and Jace Bennett at 197 over their top 10 Lehigh counterparts ultimately was the difference. Dean, the top-ranked wrestler at 184, dominated third-ranked Nathaniel Brown by a 7-2 margin, while Bennett topped 10th-ranked Elliot Riddick for the second time this season as well, this time by a 4-1 margin.
Sophomores Brian Realbuto (157) and Dylan Palacio (165) joined classmate Dean in going 3-0 on the weekend, with Realbuto topping No. 17 Mitch Minotti 5-3, and Palacio holding off former Big Red teammate Marshall Peppelman, 6-4.
Chris Villalonga picked up the only bonus victory of the night with an 11-2 majord decision over Drew Longa at 149, helping put Cornell in the lead for good after consecutive wins by ranked Mountain Hawk wrestlers at 133 and 141 made it 6-6. After Villalonga was joined in the win column by Realbuto and Palacio, Lehigh never threatened again.
Cornell and Lehigh will go toe-to-toe when the EIWA championships begin on Friday, March 6 in Bethlehem, Pa.
2015 NWCA/Cliff Keen National Duals - Third-Place Match
Feb. 22, 2015 * Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, Iowa)
Cornell 22, Lehigh 15
125: #3 Nahshon Garrett (C) won by forfeit
133: #12 Mason Beckman (L) won by decision over #16 Mark Grey (C), 6-2
141: #20 Randy Cruz (L) won by decision over Dylan Realbuto (C), 8-6
149: #5 Chris Villalonga (C) won by major decision over Drew Longo (L), 11-2
157: #6 Brian Realbuto (C) won by decision over #17 Mitch Minotti, 5-3
165: #11 Dylan Palacio (C) won by decision over Marshall Peppelman (L), 6-4
174: Santiago Martinez (L) won by decision over #18 Duke Pickett, 2-1
184: #1 Gabe Dean (C) won by decision over #3 Nathaniel Brown (L), 7-2
197: #9 Jace Bennett (C) won by decision over #10 Elliott Riddick (L), 4-1
285: Doug Vollaro (L) won by forfeit