Hempstead, NY - The Hofstra Pride Wrestling Team will wrap up the dual meet part of their schedule this Saturday, February 22 when they travel to Ithaca, New York to face the fourth-ranked Big Red of Cornell at the Friedman Wrestling Center. Match time is 1 p.m.
Hofstra, 6-9 on the season in dual matches and 4-2 in the EIWA, is coming off losses to two top 20 opponents at the NWCA National Duals in Columbus, Ohio last Sunday. The Pride fell to 13th-ranked Ohio State, 29-10 in the opening match before losing to 17th-ranked Iowa State, 36-9 in the consolation round. Red-shirt freshman Jahlani Callender was the only Pride grappler to win both of his contests at the National Duals.
Senior Luke Vaith posted a 1-1 mark in Columbus. His 5-1 victory over Iowa State’s Gabe Moreno was his 100th career win at Hofstra.
Hofstra continues to have five wrestlers ranked in the five weekly polls. Heading the group is Vaith, who improved to 24-5 on the season with the victory over Iowa State. Vaith is ranked fifth by FLO Wrestling, sixth by the Open Mat,10th by InterMat and WIN Magazine and 14th by the Wrestling Report.
Graduate-student Joe Booth, who has 98 career victories including a 27-7 on the year, is ranked 15th by FLO and InterMat, 16th by the Open Mat and the Wrestling Report, and 17th by WIN Magazine. Senior Jamie Franco, who is 18-10 on the season at 125, is ranked 20th by TWR. Junior Cody Ruggirello, who is also having the best season of his career with a 21-8 mark, is ranked 22nd at 149 pounds by the Wrestling Report. Red-shirt freshman Jamel Hudson, who is not expected to wrestle at Cornell this week, is 16-4 at 133 pounds this year. He is ranked 18th by InterMat and FLO and 23rd by the Wrestling Report.
The fourth-ranked Big Red of Cornell is 12-1 on the season including an 8-0 mark in the EIWA. Cornell is coming off a second-place finish at the NWCA National Duals. The Big Red defeated #16 Virginia Tech (34-0) and #11 Oklahoma (23-20) before losing to #1 Minnesota (24-15) in the finals.
Cornell also has wins over Binghamton (33-6), Maryland (31-9), Illinois (18-15), Lehigh (33-7), Harvard (33-6), Brown (38-0), Rutgers (29-9), Penn (31-0), Princeton (36-7) and Columbia (22-15) this season.
The Big Red have seven nationally-ranked wrestlers led by top-ranked sophomore Nashon Garrett, who is 26-1 at 125 pounds. Senior Chris Villalonga is 27-3 and ranked third at 149 pounds while freshman Gabe Dean is 30-2 and ranked third at 184 pounds. Freshman Brian Realbuto is 29-5 and ranked 10th at 157 pounds.
Following the Cornell match, the Pride will prepare for the EIWA Championships at the Palestra in Philadelphia on March 8-9.