When the last fall occurs on an Ivy League mat this winter, the Ivy standings should resemble those of the last half decade. According to this historical trend, Penn and Cornell will be atop the Ivy League standings, Harvard and Brown will occupy the middle of the pack and Columbia and Princeton will inhabit the basement. Dartmouth and Yale do not have wrestling teams. Penn Penn will be looking to win its sixth title since 1994, and its fifth straight. With a recruiting class ranked fourth in the nation by the Amateur Wrestling News, and the leadership of senior captains Mike Fickell and Yoshi Nakamura, the Penn team is poised to be the juggernaut of the Ivy League. But coach Roger Reina, who holds 165 coaching victories at Penn to date, is cautiously optimistic. "In my experience as a head coach of 15 years, every year is different," Reina said. "Each year does not roll into the other." Cornell Cornell will be Penn's greatest challenge within the Ivy League. With their 1995 Ivy League title, the Big Red are the only squad to have interrupted Penn's string of dominance in recent years. Further, in a preview of its strength this year, the Big Red won the Cornell Invitational on November 18. "Over the course of the last 15 years, Cornell and Penn have been the dominant programs within the Ivy League. There is a likelihood that could happen again," Reina said. But this year's Cornell team is a youthful one, as freshmen and sophomores are projected to comprise more than half of the 10 weight class positions. "Cornell has traditionally had good recruiting, but they have been hard-pressed to produce an All-American at the NCAA level," Reina said. "But they have been pretty consistent with the strength of the entries in all the weight categories." Harvard Harvard should put forth a decent team this winter. In fact, the Crimson hold a pre-season EIWA ranking of No. 4, one spot behind the Red and Blue. "Harvard is a team that is emerging but hasn't yet been able to put forward a full lineup with strength in every weight class" Reina said. Brown Brown looks to pose little threat to the big guns in the Ivy League this winter. Last weekend, Brown finished finished fifth in the Keystone Classic, a tournament the Quakers won. "We saw that Brown had some strong people, but I didn't see anyone that dominant," Reina said. Princeton This winter, Princeton will be looking to avenge its winless season against Ivy League teams last year. Despite last winter's 0-5 record and running a program short of funding due to Title IX, the Tigers rank third among Ivy League teams, according to the EIWA preseason rankings. "Princeton has been a program that was nearly discontinued, largely because of unintended consequences of Title IX, but they have rallied and gotten increased alumni support," Reina said. "There is good enthusiasm there." Columbia Rounding out the six Ivy League teams involved in wrestling competition is Columbia. The oldest wrestling program in the country will be led this year by a new a head coach, Brandan Buckley. "They have some good recruits, but transition phases are always difficult," Reina said. Despite the Lions' long tradition and a new coach, it is indeed expected to be a difficult year in Morningside Heights.Comments powered by Disqus
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