Grappling With No. 1

HepsTrack will have more to say about the upcoming NCAA Cross Country Championships this week, but today we wanted to congratulate the No. 1 Cornell men’s wrestling team as it heads into its 2010-11 season.

Just this morning, Bill Pennington of the New York Times featured the improbable top squad, offering:

Although every N.C.A.A. wrestling championship since 1989 has been won by teams from Iowa, Oklahoma or Minnesota — with only 4 of 80 N.C.A.A. championships won from outside those states in history — this season, Cornell is the unanimous preseason No. 1.

It is the first time a team from the Ivy League, which prohibits athletic scholarships, has had the top ranking in wrestling and is one of the rare times an Ivy team has been ranked No. 1 outside sports like lacrosse, fencing, squash, and ice or field hockey.

In my time at the Ivy Office, I worked closely with the League’s wrestling coaches and I can attest to Coach Rob Koll’s belief, determination and aggression. I was not surprised that he told Pennington, “I’ve been saying for years, ‘Why not us?’ I’ve always believed a national championship was possible.”

HepsTrack certainly hopes that Cornell can bring that distinction back to Ithaca and the Ivy League come March.

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