The nationally ranked Ithaca College wrestling team captured glory Feb. 17, defeating archrivals No. 6–ranked SUNY Cortland in Ben Light Gymnasium, 23–12, on Senior Night.
Six Bombers wrestlers were honored on Senior Night. Those included Henry Beaman, Zack Conner, Jake Davenport, co-captain Eamonn Gaffney, Dan Glinko and Dan Pak.
Riding high off the the 32–6 win over No. 18–ranked Wilkes University on Feb. 12, the Bombers got off to a hot start in the 125 lbs. bout with junior co-captain Jimmy Kaishian recording a win by the way of a fall over Cortland junior Andrew Roden.
The Bombers continued their dominance early on with a 4–2 win in the 133 lbs. weight class from sophomore Bryan Israel.
However, the most vital match of the night was when sophomore Nick Wahba battled back from a 3–1 deficit with only seconds remaining and captured an astonishing 10–2 victory in the 165 lbs. class in front of the home crowd.
Unfortunately, Pak and Gaffney were the only seniors wrestling on the night who lost. Both wrestlers lost by decision in the 149 and 157 lbs. weight divisions, respectively.
Sophomore Nick Velez would put the Bombers back on track with 10–2 victory by major decision in the 165 lbs. scrum.
Juniors Carlos Toribio and Matt Booth solidified the South Hill squad’s position late in the meet, taking two of the last three matches in the 184 and 285 lbs. divisions, respectively, to seal the win for the Blue and Gold.
Head coach Marty Nichols said he was proud of his squad’s performance against a sturdy Cortland team.
“Winning against Cortland is always good,” Nichols said after the match. “The guys wrestled great, from top to bottom.”
While the win was great, Nichols already had his mind set on the upcoming NCAA Regionals.
“These matches will help us prepare for the tournament next weekend,” Nichols said. “Cortland will be tough. They’ll make some adjustments, and we’ll see them again.”
Despite his individual loss tonight, Gaffney said it felt good beating the the Red Dragons and that it proved how much better of a team the Bombers are.
Gaffney had spent most of the season recovering from a leg injury, but he said there was no way he was skipping out on this match.
“It’s been a rough ride. I just pushed the injury out of my mind,” Gaffney said. “There was nothing I could do about it and had to wrestle through it.”
Gaffney also said it was not hard to motivate his teammates to rise against the Red Dragons and bring them down.
“It’s Cortland. It’s a natural rivalry, and everyone loves to beat them,” he said. “It was good time.”
The Bombers finished the regular season with a 16–5 record overall and will be back in action Feb. 27 for the NCAA Regional Championships when they travel to Springfield, Massachusetts.