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ITHACA, N.Y. — With a majority of backups in the lineup as the Big Red wrestling team gets healthy for EIWA’s, Cornell was able to celebrate Senior Day with a 28-19 win over Hofstra on Saturday afternoon at the Friedman Wrestling Center. The Big Red closed its dual meet season with a 13-1 record, including a perfect 6-0 at home.
Knowing they would receive a pair of forfeits, Cornell chose to put out five backups into the lineup to rest some of the starters prior to the EIWA championships in two weekends at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Of the three Big Red starters who did wrestle, two earned bonus point wins and top-ranked Nahshon Garrett won an easy decision over a two-time NCAA qualifier at 125 pounds.
No. 3 Gabe Dean at 184 pounds and No. 14 Mark Grey at 133 each had their hands raised by forfeit to give the Big Red a 9-8 lead after four matches and a 28-8 advantage after eight matches. The dual started at 157 pounds, the first time all season Cornell started wrestling at a weight class other than 125.
Junior Jace Bennett won with a dominant first period, all but bull-rushing Hofstra’s Zeal McGrew for a pair of takedowns before exploding him onto his back for a fall just 1:16 in at 197 pounds. Coming after Dean’s forfeit, the pin gave the Big Red a 15-8 lead at halftime.
The second half began with Jacob Aiken-Phillips earning a first period takedown and three near-fall points while riding out Mike Hughes for the final 1:42, essentially sending him into the second with a 6-0 lead. He reversed out of his bottom position in the second to take a 7-0 and his 2:07 in riding time gave the heavyweight the major decision shutout of Hughes.
At 125, national championship contended Nahshon Garrett dominated two-time NCAA qualifier at 133 Jamie Franco, but a late throw backfired on Garrett, allowing Franco to earn a last-second takedown on a scramble to erase a major decision, but he still took home the comfortable 8-2 win to make it 22-8. Grey’s forfeit win clinched the match, making it 28-8 with two weights to wrestle.
Hofstra claimed wins at 141, 149, 165 and 174, including a pair of tech falls and a pin. The only middleweight to earn a win was Taylor Simaz at 157. The rookie earned an impressive 4-0 victory over Jahlani Callender to get the match started right for Cornell. After a scoreless first period, Simaz picked up a quick escape and a takedown, then rode out the Pride wrestler the entire third period to post nearly three minutes of ride time to close out the win.
#4 Cornell 28, Hofstra 19
Feb. 22, 2014 * Friedman Wrestling Center (Ithaca, N.Y.)
157 – Taylor Simaz won by decision over Jahlani Callender, 4-0
165 – #15 Joe Booth (H) won by technical fall over Jake George (C), 23-8 (5:10)
174 – Frank Affronti (H) won by decision over Jesse Shanaman (C), 5-4
184 – #3 Gabe Dean (C) won by forfeit
197 – #19 Jace Bennett (C) won by fall over Zeal McGrew (H), 1:16
285 – Jacob Aiken-Phillips (C) won by major decision over Mike Hughes (H), 8-0
125 – #1 Nahshon Garrett (C) won by decision over Jamie Franco (H), 8-2
133 – #14 Mark Grey (C) won by forfeit
141 – #10 Luke Vaith (H) won by technical fall over Joe Rendina (C), 21-5 (6:48)
149 – Cody Ruggirello (H) won by fall over Conner David (C), 0:59