A three time state finalist and two time state champion in Virginia, Cardinale began his college career wrestling at Old Dominion University in 2017. Cardinale wrestled the 17-18 season unattached at 125 pounds going 18-10 on the year. The following season Cardinale wrestled up at 133 pounds starting for the Monarchs for the majority of the season before moving back down to 125 pounds for 2019-2020 season. Cardinale finished the season with a 25-9 overall record and was the runner - up at the MAC championships qualifying for the NCAA tournament before it was cancelled due to Covid-19. shortly after the NCAA season was cancelled, Old Dominion dropped their wrestling program.