MOUNT VERNON – Junior second-ranked Alex Coolidge won a Top-10 matchup with Luther's Trent Flegel in the finals to claim the 197-pound championship at the Cornell Matman Invitational Saturday in the Small Multi-Sport Center Arena.
Coolidge's 4-0 performance headlined the day for Cornell, which placed fourth in a competitive 12-team field that included six nationally-ranked schools. The No. 28 Rams totaled 102.5 points behind seven individual placewinners.
No. 24 Luther edged No. 17 Concordia-Moorhead for the team crown, 134.5-123. Top-ranked Wartburg was third with 104 points.
The second-seeded Coolidge raised his season mark to 22-3 in taking his first Matman title, following a third-place finish a year ago. He prevailed in a hard-fought 7-6 championship bout over seventh-ranked Flegel, the No. 1 seed in the weight class. Coolidge took a 7-4 lead into the third period and held on for the win.
Coolidge was dominant on his path to the finals, recording a first-round pin in 1:50 followed by a 15-0 technical fall. He scored an 11-3 major decision in the semifinals over Willie Wiggins of Loras.
The Rams had two placewinners at 125, highlighted by a runner-up showing from freshman Scott Smith. Smith (15-8) advanced to the finals with a pair of tight decisions that sandwiched a first-period pin. He lost by fall in the championship match to Will McCarthy of Concordia-Moorhead.
Rosen (18-12) wound up fourth at 125 with a 4-2 record. He won three consecutive consolation matches – including two major decisions – before falling 6-2 to second-seeded Nick Scheffert of Luther in the third-place bout.
Cornell fourth-ranked freshman Trevor Engle (21-5) bounced back from a tough 9-8 semifinal loss and finished third at 149. The top seed in his class, Engle opened with a pin in 3:21 and an 18-7 major decision. He lost by a point on a last-second move in the semifinals. Engle won his place match, 5-2, over Coe's Chris LeClere.
The Rams picked up another third-place finish at 174 from Brent Hamm, who won 5-4 in the first tiebreaker of his place match with Sebastian Gardner of Concordia-Moorhead. Hamm (17-10) finished 3-1 with two decisions and a technical fall.
Junior heavyweight Carl Gaul (19-10) and sophomore 165-pounder Colin Bertucci (12-6) both finished fourth at their respective weights. Gaul rebounded from a first-round loss and reeled off five straight wins on the consolation side before falling 6-5 in the third-place bout. Gaul had an impressive string of three quick pins – in 1:34, 1:19 and 1:22 – to give him 12 on the season.
Bertucci lost by fall in the semifinals to UW-Oshkosh's second-ranked Nazar Kulchytskyy, who was named the meet's Most Outstanding Wrestler. Bertucci finished with a 3-2 mark, which included two pins.
Coming up – Cornell (5-2) travels to face top-ranked Wartburg (12-0) at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 in Waverly. The Rams have been off from dual competition since Dec. 12, when they dropped a 27-20 decision to Augustana. Wartburg is coming off a 29-3 win Friday over No. 12 Coe.
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