Unranked Lehigh upsets No. 7 Cornell
Mountain Hawks’ Schuyler comes through with win with the match on the line.
Cortlandt Schuyler earned a moment he will remember for the rest of his life.
Schuyler, a 149-pound senior for Lehigh, scored a victory most of the 1,820 fans at Grace Hall in Bethlehem will never forget as well.
With the match on the line, Schuyler charged into and around Cornell’s Jonathan Furnas to score the decisive takedown 36 seconds into sudden death of the very last match as unranked Lehigh upset Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association nemesis and No. 7 Cornell 19-16 in the annual Sheridan Dual, giving Lehigh (3-7, 2-1 EIWA) its third straight win.
Upon Schuyler putting Furnas bellydown in the center of the mat, the appreciative crowd at Grace Hall erupted in a roaring cheer that recalled the days of the old arena when it was known nationwide as “The Snake Pit.”
“I’ve never been the last match, so that was really big,” Schuyler said. “It was in the back of my head that it comes down to me. That’s the pressure that [sixth-ranked Jordan] Wood feels all the time.”
The match started at 157 on a draw of weights between Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro and Cornell coach Rob Koll, whose teams have won the last dozen EIWA Championships, with Lehigh ending Cornell’s historic feat of 11 straight during last year’s championships.
That meant the final match would come down to 149 in a series of momentum swings where Lehigh led 13-0 before Cornell tied it when returning national champion Yianni Diakomihalis got held to a regular decision against unranked Ryan Pomrinca to set the plate for Schuyler’s heroics.
“Courts is great,” Lehigh’s Jordan Kutler, ranked No. 7 at 174, said. “He works so hard. He’s so good. He’s been battling an injury and it’s great to see him come out back on top.”
Schuyler and Furnas traded escapes in regulation
and then came the match-defining moment and the crowd celebration.
“That was awesome looking up in the stands,” Schuyler said. “It was electric. It’s a feeling I’m never going to forget.”
He said the pressure never weighed heavy on him, even in the sudden victory period.
“We were both wrestling the same kind of match, we were both getting really tired,” he said. “It’s not like he was fresh or anything … I knew I could take this kid down. I felt tie-breakers would be worse, so finally with 30 seconds left, I was like, ‘I gotta take this kid down.’ ”
Both teams were without some top names, but it pretty much equaled out in the end.
Cornell (5-2, 1-2) is missing AllAmericans Brandon Womack (No. 15 at 184) and John Jay Chavez at 165 due to injuries and Ben Darmstadt, a breakout freshman from a year ago.
Lehigh, which had been ranked No. 6 in the preseason before the injury bug and starting the season with seven straight dual meet losses, is missing several studs as well, with Luke Karam out for the season with a knee injury. Senior two-time All-American Scott Parker’s career is over after a shoulder injury, and younger brother Matt Parker hasn’t recovered fully from offseason hand surgery and withdrew from school to contemplate his next move.
“We lost a lot of guys,” Santoro said. “I’ve never seen anything like it. We’ve got to get better and stay healthy.”
Fortunate starting weight
Both coaches agreed to a draw at when it came up at 157, Lehigh knew it could build some early momentum and did thanks to bonus-point wins from No. 17 freshman Josh Humphreys, and Kutler.
The swing really occurred in the opening bout when Humphreys not only won as expected, but received an injury default midway through the first period after Cornell junior Fredy Stroker injured his shoulder or chest while Humphreys was in the process of turning him.
Lehigh 165-pounder Gordon Wolf survived a scare at 165 when he was up 7-2 in the second period before getting hit in the head. The bout went into a delay for about 10 minutes as the wrestler was tested for a concussion, but came back to the mat to finish off a 10-6 decision for a 9-0 team lead before Kutler’s major at 174.
Surviving another injury scare
Wood, No. 6 at 285, tweaked a knee and needed first-period injury time against Jeramy Sweaney just 45 seconds into their bout. Wood got back on the horse but trailed 3-0 and 7-4 before putting on a monster display of takedowns en route to a dominating 17-12 decision.
Lehigh travels to American and Navy next weekend before returning home to face Arisona State on Jan. 26 and Virginia Tech on Jan. 27.
Lehigh 19, No. 7 Cornell 16
Lehigh’s Jordan Kutler (right) works for points against Cornell’s Andrew Berreyesa in a 174-pound bout during Saturday’s match at Grace Hall in Bethlehem. Kutler scored a 13-4 major decision.