Nov. 18, 2004
The Cornell wrestling team, ranked as high as 11th in the nation, will commence its 2004-05 season on Saturday, Nov. 20, when it hosts the 2004 Cornell Body Bar Invitational at Newman Arena. The Big Red welcomes 10 other teams to the event, including No. 6 Michigan and No. 19 Edinboro. Other top squads who will be making the trip to Ithaca are The Citadel, Army, Virginia and Drexel, while Sacred Heart, Davidson, Maryland and Ithaca round out the field.
Eight former Body Bar champions will be competing, including seven who will be looking to defend their 2003 titles. Big Red All-Americans Travis Lee (Sr.-133) and Dustin Manotti (Jr.-149) will be attempting to claim their third-straight Body Bar titles. Cornell claimed the team title last season with 162 points, while Edinboro placed second with 147.
Wrestling will begin on Saturday at 9 a.m. and the final round will start at approximately 7 p.m.
Here is a preview of each weight class in what figures to be a very competitive day of wrestling on East Hill:
Drexel senior Rob Rebmann, ranked fifth in the preseason rankings, returns to defend his 2003 Body Bar title, but will have stiff competition in the way of No. 15 Ryan McClester (Citadel) and No. 16 Mark Moos (Michigan). Rebmann earned All-America honors last season with a seventh-place showing at nationals, while McClester and Moos were both NCAA qualifiers. Cornell freshman Nick Bridge will look to make a strong showing at home after claiming second place at last week's Empire Open.
The past two 133-pound title winners at the Body Bar should meet up in this year's final, as Lee, who is ranked first in the nation, looks to defend his 2003 title against No. 5 Shawn Bunch (Edinboro), the 2002 champion at this event. Bunch was a redshirt during the 2003-04 campaign after qualifying for nationals in each of his first two seasons. Lee also claimed the 125-pound title as a sophomore at the 2002 Body Bar before becoming a national champion later that season.
Senior Sean Markey from The Citadel, ranked 18th in the preseason rankings at 133 pounds, moves up a class and will face a strong group of challengers. Edinboro junior Ron Doppelheuer was the Body Bar runner-up a year ago, falling to All-American Scott Moore of Virginia, and looks to be a top contender again this time around. Another strong wrestler who will be tough to beat is Army junior Patrick Simpson. Cornell freshman Jordan Leen is the Big Red's top entrant at this class and has a good chance of making noise in this bracket.
This weight class should provide a top-notch final, as Manotti and Army's Phillip Simpson, both two-time All-Americans, are ranked second and third, respectively, in the nation. Manotti has claimed the past two 149-pound titles at the Body Bar, while Simpson returns to this class after claiming the 157-pound title here last season and falling to Manotti in the 149 final in 2002. Highly-touted freshman Eric Tannenbaum of Michigan, ranked 14th in the country, and junior Mark Cartella of Drexel are talented entrants who will make this a competitive bracket.
In arguably the most wide-open weight class of the tournament, junior Travis Piccard (Citadel) and freshman Ryan Hluschak (Drexel) are probable favorites along with Army junior Jon Anderson and the Cornell duo of sophomore Joey Hooker and junior John Cholish. Piccard posted 29 wins a year ago at 149 pounds and Hluschak had an outstanding debut at last week's Empire Open, claiming the 157-pound title.
A pair of All-Americans who are competing in a new weight class are the highlights of this bracket, as juniors Nate Yetzer (Edinboro) and Ryan Churella (Michigan) are ranked fifth and seventh in country, respectively. Yetzer earned All-America honors last year at 174 pounds and claimed the 2003 Body Bar title. Churella makes a big jump this season to 165 after taking third place at nationals this past spring at 149 pounds. Sacred Heart sophomore Sherwood Fendryk will pose a threat after a strong freshman campaign that included 33 wins. Other wrestlers to look for in this class are Will Durkee (Virginia), Matt Brienza (Drexel) and Marc Isreal (Ithaca), a Division III All-American.
This class is up for grabs after Yetzer and Cornell senior Tyler Baier, the 174-pound finalists a year ago at the Body Bar, moved to different weights this season. Sophomore Nick Roy of Michigan enters the year ranked 18th in the nation after qualifying for NCAAs as a freshman. His top challengers in this bracket will include Cornell sophomore Luke Hogle, Virginia freshman Rocco Caponi, Army junior Gabriel Lucero and Drexel sophomore Nick Kozar.
This is probably the deepest weight class at this year's Body Bar, as four nationally-ranked competitors will battle it out. Baier, a two-time NCAA qualifier for the Big Red, moves to 184 this year and is ranked 10th in the country. Army's Luke Calvert, ranked 12th in the nation, also moves up a class after making an appearance at nationals as a sophomore and will be a strong threat along with senior Keith Clifton (Citadel), who enters the season ranked 17th at 174 pounds. Rounding out this class is Michigan sophomore Josh Weitzel, a young talent who is just outside the top 20.
Cornell sophomore Jerry Rinaldi, the champion at last week's Empire Open, looks to be the favorite here after qualifying for NCAAs as freshman at 184 pounds and entering this year ranked 18th in the country.. None of the top five wrestlers from last season's 197-pound Body Bar bracket are back, so the other top contenders should be junior Willie Breyer (Michigan), sophomore Connor Sanders (Army), and freshman Jon Oplinger (Drexel).
Junior Joe Hennis of Edinboro, ranked 18th in the country, figures to be a favorite among the heavyweights, but will be pushed by Sacred Heart sophomore Payam Zarrinpour, who claimed the Empire Open title last weekend and is ranked as high as 15th in the country. Two seniors who are just outside the national rankings, Cornell's Matt Bogumil and The Citdael's Billy Linane, also look to challenge for the tournament title. Army's Joe Forsman finished third in the 197 bracket at last year's Body Bar and will be a strong competitor in this class along with Nick Smith of Virginia.
Junior Dustin Manotti and senior Travis Lee are two-time defending champions at the Body Bar.