MOUNT VERNON – Cornell's 18th-ranked wrestling team won three tight decisions and earned bonus points in three others for a 24-14 dual triumph over the University of Dubuque Friday night in the Small Multi-Sport Center.
The Rams bumped their dual record to 10-3, securing the seventh 10-win season under ninth-year head coach Mike Duroe. Cornell has three dual meets remaining, starting with a home date with rival Coe next Friday, Feb. 7.
Cornell closed out the Spartans (8-7) by winning the final four matches in a competitive meet that featured five lead changes. Trailing 14-10 with four bouts to go, junior 174-pounder Brent Hamm (20-8) started Cornell's comeback with a hard-fought 3-2 decision over Manuel Mendoza that brought the Rams within a point.
The Rams grabbed the lead for good with a 10-8 sudden victory from sophomore Aburough Abegesah over Derek Minch. Minch rallied for three third-period points to tie it at 8-8 at the end of regulation. Abegesah (11-8) regrouped and scored a quick takedown just 14 seconds into the extra period to put the Rams ahead 16-14.
Fifth-ranked Alex Coolidge made quick work of Shykeem Williams for a 17-1 technical fall at 197. Coolidge (19-4) recorded nine back points and three takedowns, ending the match in the second period.
Senior heavyweight Carl Gaul notched a 6-4 decision over Nathan Christion to provide the final margin. Gaul (19-7) picked up a third-period takedown to seal the win.
Freshman Phillip Opelt at 133 and ninth-ranked sophomore Trevor Engle at 149 gave the Rams a boost with bonus-point victories during the first half of the dual. Opelt (17-9) went to his offense early, building an 11-1 first-period lead en route to a 15-6 major decision over Stephen Rosenburg.
Engle (24-5) provided the highlight of the night for the home fans with a fall in 4:56 over Nick Drendel. The action-packed match witnessed a series of throws by both wrestlers and had Drendel leading 1-0 in the second period. Engle caught the Spartan freshman and sent him to his back just before time expired for the pin. It was Engle's 17th win in his last 18 matches.
The Rams tallied 16 near-fall points, to Dubuque's nine. Cornell held a 15-9 edge in takedowns.
Coming up – The Rams compete in Loras College's Duhawk Open at 9 a.m. Saturday in Dubuque.