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Cornell beats Penn to win EIWA Tournament championship

Cornell won their first EIWA championship since 2017 on Sunday in Itacha, N.Y. (Eldon Lindsay photo courtesy Cornell Athletics)

Cornell claimed its 26th EIWA (Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) title in program history and its first since 2017, crowning three champions and qualifying six for NCAA Division I national tournament when the two-day meet concluded Sunday at Newman Arena in Itacha, N.Y.

The Big Red’s 153 team points narrowly held off Ivy League rival Pennsylvania (143). Princeton (120½), Lehigh (111) and Columbia (84½) rounded out the top five teams.

Sacred Heart finished 16th in the field of 17 teams with five points. Newtown’s Joe Accousti (184), Nick Palumbo (157), Anthony Petrillo (133) and Robert Hetherman (197) each went 1-2 in the tournament.

Accousti (7-11) and Palumbo (9-5) were each looking to return to the NCAA Div. I tournament. Both lost their opening round matches, won their first consolation round and were eliminated with a defeat in their third match of the day.

Cornell junior Yianni Diakomihalis (149) won his third EIWA championship and his first at 149 pounds while Big Red teammates Vito Arujau (125) and Jonathan Loew (184) clinched their first titles. Arujau was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Cornell’s Lewis Fernandes was also a finalist, coming out on the short end of a 2-0 decision to Lehigh’s Jordan Wood, who claimed an unprecedented fifth EIWA individual title. Wood improving his career record in five tournaments to 19-0.

Wood extended Lehigh’s streak of consecutive seasons with at least one individual champion to 23. He also won the Fletcher Trophy for career team points scored at the EIWA Tournament for the second straight year.

At the end of Sunday, Cornell’s Arujau, Diakomihalis, Julian Ramirez (165), Loew, Jacob Cardenas (197) and Fernandes had each qualified for NCAA nationals in two weeks, while Dom LaJoie (133), Hunter Richard (149) and Chris Foca (174) will hope for word on at-large bids. All nine reached the podium with LaJoie taking third, Ramirez taking fourth, Cardenas slotting in fifth and Richard and Foca placing sixth in addition to the finalists.

The 26th title didn’t come easy, which was to be expected. The Big Red’s semifinal session was full of adversity – second-seeded Jacob Cardenas dropped consecutive matches at 197, while second-seeded Chris Foca was forced to injury default with a lead in his semifinal that resulted in him medically forfeiting out to sixth. Top-seeded Julian Ramirez fell in the semis at 165, as did fourth-seeded Dom LaJoie. He was caught in overtime by Navy’s Josh Koderhandt.

Cornell entered the finals with a slim two-point edge over Penn but the Big Red won three of four matches, including a head-to-head matchup at 149 pounds. Penn had four wrestlers in the finals but only one came away with a victory – Michael Colaiocco at 133 pounds.

Lehigh had eight place winners and qualified five wrestlers for the NCAA Championships. Wood is the first wrestler in league history with five championships.

“You’re not going to find a better human being,” Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said of Wood. “To be the first to do that is pretty impressive. This tournament is hard to win once, and he did it five times. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

Princeton finished third, tying its best finish since its 1978 title, along with third-place finishes in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The team had nine placewinners, tying the 1975 team for the most in program history. Five Tigers, including Patrick Glory (125), Marshall Keller (149), Quincy Monday (157), Travis Stefanik (184) and Luke Stout (197) earned bids to the NCAA tournament with their finishes.

2022 EIWA Championships
At Itacha, N.Y. (Cornell)
Team results – 1. Cornell 153, 2. Penn 143, 3. Princeton 120½, 4. Lehigh 111, 5. Columbia 84½, 6. Binghamton 79½, 7. Navy 63½, 8. Army West Point 57, 9. Harvard 49, 10. Drexel 47, 11. Bucknell 39½, 12. Hofstrat 36, 13. Franklin and Marshall 29, 14. Brown 26½, 15. American 25½, 16. Sacred Heart 5, 17. Long Island University 3
Championship matches
125 (3 automatic qualifiers): Vitali Arujau (Cornell) dec. Patrick Glory (Princeton), 19-6
133 (2 automatic qualifiers): Michael Colaiocco (Penn) dec. Josh Koderhandt (Navy), 8-4
141 (4): Matt Kazimir (Columbia) dec. CJ Composto (Penn), 6-4
149 (4): Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) dec. Anthony Artalona (Penn), 11-2
157 (5): Quincy Monday (Princeton) dec. Andrew Cerniglia (Navy), 9-4
165 (7): Philip Conigliaro (Harvard) dec. Joshua Ogunsanya (Columbia), 8-3
174 (4): Mickey O’Malley (Drexel) dec. Nick Incontrera (Penn), 1-1 TB2
184 (3): Jonathan Loew (Cornell) dec. Travis Stefanik (Princeton), 12-5
197 (5): Lou Deprez (Binghamton) dec. Luke Stout (Princeton), 10-4
285 (4): Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. Lewis Fernandes (Cornell), 2-0
Third place (consolation final)
125 Ryan Miller (Penn) dec. Joe Manchio (Columbia), 10-2
133 Dom Lajoie (Cornell) dec. Jack Maida (American), 4-0
141 Wil Gil (Franklin & Marshall) dec. Connor McGonagle (Lehigh), 10-5
149 Max Brignola (Lehigh) dec. Marshall Keller (Princeton), 5-3
157 Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Markus Hartman (Army), 10-0
165 Zach Hartman (Bucknell) dec. Julian Ramirez (Cornell), 16-3
174 Ben Pasiuk (Army) dec. Jacob Nolan (Binghamton), 3-1 OT
184 AJ Burkhart (Lehigh) dec. Charles Small (Hofstra), 3-2
197 Jacob Koser (Navy) dec. Cole Urbas (Penn), 9-0
285 Joe Doyle (Binghamton) dec. Ben Goldin (Penn), 4-0
Fifth place
125 Beau Bayless (Harvard) medical forfeit over Sheldon Seymour (Lehigh)
133 Richard Treanor (Army) dec. Nick Kayal (Princeton), 9-8
141 Darren Miller (Bucknell) dec. Ryan Anderson (Binghamton), 2-1, 2 OT
149 Danny Fongaro (Columbia) medical forfeit over P.J. Ogunsanya (Army)
157 Doug Zapf (Penn) dec. Hunter Richard (Cornell), 5-3
165 Brevin Cassella (Binghamton) dec. Lucas Revano (Penn), 3-2
174 Jake Logan (Lehigh) medical forfeit over Chris Foca (Cornell)
184 Neil Antrassian (Penn) dec. Bryan Mclaughlin (Drexel), 13-8
197 Jacob Cardenas (Cornell) dec. JT Davis (Lehigh), 4-1
285 Matt Cover (Princeton) dec. Zachary Knighton-Ward (Hofstra), 3-1
Seventh place
125 Brandon Seidman (Bucknell) dec. Reese Fry (Brown), 9-4
133 Jaxon Maroney (Drexel) dec. Nicky Cabanillas (Brown), 7-5 OT
141 Danny Coles (Princeton) dec. Justin Hoyle (Hofstra), 11-4
149 Lukus Stricker (Harvard) dec. Nick Lombard (Binghamton), 8-2
157 Nick Delp (Bucknell) dec. Trevor Tarsi (Harvard), 3-1
165 Evan Barczak (Drexel) dec. Val Park (Navy), 5-0
174 Nick Fine (Columbia) pin Nate Dugan (Princeton), 6:24
184 Brian Bonino (Columbia) dec. Cory Day (Binghamton), 3-2
197 JT Brown (Army) dec. Sam Wustefeld (Columbia), 4-1
285 Cenzo Pelusi (Franklin & Marshall) dec. Daniel Conley (Columbia), 3-1 OT

2022 EIWA championships – brackets and results (FloArena)
Outstanding Wrestler: Vitali Arujau, Cornell (125)
John Fletcher Memorial Award (most cumulative team points at the EIWA Championships during his career): Jordan Wood, Lehigh, 109
Billy Sheridan Memorial Award (most falls in least time in the championship bracket): Lewis Fernandes, Cornell — two falls in 3:36.
EIWA Coach of the Year: Roger Reina, Pennsylvania
Good Sportsmanship Award: Columbia University

EIWA Hall of Fame Inductees, Class of 2022
Nahshon Garrett, Cornell, Class of 2016, wrestler
J. P. O’Connor, Harvard, Class of 2010, wrestler
Tom Sculley, Lehigh, Class of 1974, wrestler
Phillip Simpson, Army West Point, Class of 2005, wrestler

EIWOA Hall of Fame Inductee, Class of 2022
William Doran, Morrisville College

Connecticut Wrestling Online has been covering the sport of wrestling in Connecticut and New England since 2001.

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