MOUNT VERNON – A key win by 197-pounder Alex Coolidge gave Cornell's wrestling team a chance, but No. 22 Luther prevailed in the heavyweight bout to secure the meet, 22-15, Monday night in the Small Multi-Sport Center.
The 30th-ranked Rams closed out their dual season with a 5-6 mark. All six setbacks came against nationally-ranked opponents.
The second-ranked Coolidge (26-3) posted an 8-3 decision over eighth-ranked Trent Flegel in the marquee match of the night. The Ram junior scored a takedown in each period and improved to 2-0 this season against the Luther All-American.
Coolidge's victory brought the Rams to within 18-15 heading into the heavyweight match between Cornell's Carl Gaul (26-11) and Nick Pearch (26-12). The Luther wrestler built a 6-3 lead after the first period and went on to earn a 15-7 major decision.
The Norse (12-8), who won four of their six matches by major decision, came away with their first dual victory over Cornell since 2008. The Rams had won seven straight in the series.
Junior 125-pounder Ben Rosen (24-14) put the Rams on top early with a 10-5 triumph over Angelo San Juan. Rosen recorded four takedowns en route to his 75th career victory, most among active Rams.
Luther won the next two matches to take a 7-3 lead. Zachary Henning fell 11-3 at 133, while fellow freshman Todd Murakawa lost a tough 5-3 sudden victory to Louis Mazzetta at 141. Murakawa led 3-1 before allowing a takedown in the closing seconds of the third period, and then another in extra time.
Freshman Trevor Engle continued his roll with an 8-2 victory at 149. He registered three takedowns and boosted his season record to 27-7.
After Daniel Klema dropped a 10-1 match at 157, Cornell sophomore 165-pounder Colin Bertucci (13-9) brought the home fans to their feet with a first-period pin over Garrett Bonte. Bertucci scored a reversal and then sent Bonte to his back for a fall in 2:53. The move put the Rams back ahead, 12-11, through six matches.
The Norse regained the lead with a 3-2 decision at 174. Cornell's Brent Hamm (20-16) scored the first takedown, but got beat on riding time at the end. Luther added a 14-0 win at 184 from Jayden DeVilbiss over Kevin Stahmer.
Coming up – The Rams prepare for the Central Region Championships March 2 at the Five Flags Center in Dubuque. Under the new regional format, the top three wrestlers in each weight class are awarded automatic berths to the NCAA Division III Championships.