It's lineup look season. We've gone from State College to Columbus to Stillwater, and now to Ithaca, New York.
The youngest Ivy League school, and the one with the largest enrollment, has been the class of the EIWA for 11 years now. But Cornell's lineup has perhaps more question marks than any team we have reviewed so far.
Losing Gabe Dean, Dylan Palacio, Brian Realbuto and Mark Grey may have devastated the Big Red's roster, for this year at least.
Projected Cornell Lineup125: Noah Baughman
133: Chaz Tucker
141: Yianni Diakomihalis
149: Jon Furnas
157: Joey Galasso/Kyle Simaz
165: Milik Dawkins/Dillon Artigliere/Jonah Barley/Foster Karmon/Matthew Russo
174: Brandon Womack
184: Max Dean
197: Ben Honis/Ben Darmstadt
285: Jeramy Sweany/McZiggy Richards
Even for the blue chip recruits Cornell brings in, it is rare they start the year after graduating high school. Most spend a year training with the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club and defer the start of their eligibility (Vito Arujau this year, for example). But Baughman was in the lineup out the chute, going 26-12 and wrestling in every dual. Half of his wins were bonus and he was almost universally regarded as one of the biggest snubs to not get a wildcard for NCAAs.
Watch Baughman pin Nick Picininni in Stillwater
Chaz Tucker has yet to wrestle a match in his two years on the team, but will take over for another former Blair wrestler in Mark Grey. Tucker twice made the Fargo finals, once as a Cadet and once as a Junior, in addition to his two National Prep titles. It won't take us long to figure out how good Tucker is, with his early schedule featuring matches against Rudy Yates, Bryan Lantry, Mitch McKee, Anthony Tutolo, John Erneste, Cam Sykora, and Scotty Parker, with CKLV thrown in there as well.
Want to know who the last true freshman Cornell started at 141 was? Kye Dake. I'm not saying Yianni will be a four time national champ, but there are legions of people who think he can contend right away. The Who's #1 alum is one of the best there is in the crackdown, and should put a ton of people on their back with his cradle. He was a huge part of why Cornell had the No. 1 overall recruiting class this year, finishing his career third on the Big Board.
The spot at 149 isn't nailed down. Joey Galasso is moving up to 157 after an injury riddled sophomore season. Jon Furnas took over for Galasso in February and was the eventual starter for EIWAs, though he did not qualify for the national tournament. Furnas was 17-11 overall last season, including a win over another contending starter in Matt Russo, and has beaten another teammate Chris Schoenherr each of the past two seasons.
Galasso is the favorite to start at 157, though there is an outside chance Kyle Simaz wins the spot. The junior qualified for NCAAs back in 2016 before not being able to wrestle in the postseason last year due to injuries.
More than any other weight, 165 is wide open for the Big Red. Potential starters include Milik Dawkins, Foster Karmon, Dillon Artigliere, Jonah Barley, and Matthew Russo (not to be confused with 149 Matt Russo), essentially it's an open tryout. The smart money right now is on Dawkins, who was 12-6 last year and had a win over Russo. The wildcard is Greco specialist Jon Jay Chavez, though he has been wrestling at 80kg/176lbs with day before weigh-ins and may not enjoy a cut to wrestle 165 with same day weigh-ins.
Brandon Womack is the only returning All American on the team, but will be bumping up to 174 this season. He started his career there, and even wrestled two duals at that weight last year. The all-time wins leader in the history of high school wrestling was 35-11 last season and is currently ranked eighth in a top-heavy weight. His marquee win came at a great time, beating Anthony Valencia in the Round of 12 in St. Louis after Valencia beat him twice at CKLV earlier in the year.
Lineup Look: Where Will Jordan Kutler Go For Lehigh?
Max Dean made our redshirt report at 184 while deferring his eligibility and competing unattached. He had an impressive showing at the Junior Open, finishing third, as well as making the National Collegiate Open finals, but didn't register any terribly big wins in the process.
The most talked lineup discussion in the Flo offices centers around the pair of Ben's at 197: Honis and Darmstadt. The latter is pretty much unanimously recognized as having a higher upside, but Honis was the starter last year and was briefly ranked in the Top-20. They split last year, with Darmstadt winning the first by an 8-2 score at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, and then Honis majoring Darmstadt 14-5 at the Southern Scuffle.
The tea leaves are leaning towards 2016 NCAA qualifier Jeramy Sweany at heavyweight. McZiggy Richards is in the mix (and certainly an early favorite for all name team), but only wrestled two matches last season.
Since we had not yet looked at Cornell, we didn't mention anything about the EIWA title in our lineup look for Lehigh. But having now dug into Cornell's roster, and with EIWA team rankings are out, it's pretty clear the Big Red have their work cut out for them. The EIWA championships being held in New York (at Hofstra, not Cornell) may not help much, and Rob Koll always has tricks up his sleeve. Even if Fredy Stroker materializes in the second semester with Jon Jay Chavez, even if Yianni is as good as advertised, even if Darmstadt turns into a force of nature on top, Cornell has an uphill battle to catch Lehigh.