Un­ranked Le­high up­sets No. 7 Cor­nell

Moun­tain Hawks’ Schuyler comes through with win with the match on the line.

The Morning Call (Sunday) - - SPORTS - By Gary R. Blockus

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.’ ”

Lineup losses

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.

Up next

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.

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