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No. 17 Lehigh takes down No. 8 Cornell 18-15 for rivalry win in Bethlehem

by Steve Lomangino, Lehigh Athletics

Action image courtesy of Lehigh Athletics.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Boosted by a pair of early wins by unranked wrestlers over top 15 opponents, No. 17 Lehigh knocked off No. 8 Cornell 18-15 Saturday inside Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall on Pinning Cancer Day presented by Red Robin in partnership with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

First-year (eligibility) Jake Logan (174) and sophomore AJ Burkhart (184) delivered those wins as the Mountain Hawks won six bouts overall. Another first year, Connor McGonagle locked up the dual with one bout remaining with a win at 141 to put Lehigh up by eight heading into the final bout.

Lehigh improved to 3-0 at home this season and 6-4 overall. Saturday's dual marked the 99th meeting between Lehigh and Cornell and the Mountain Hawks have now won three straight to take a 63-33-3 lead in the series.

"Our guys were really excited to compete in Grace Hall because we hadn't had a match like this in two years," Lehigh head coach Pat Santoro said. "Today was a great opportunity against a great team in Cornell. We knew it was going to be a fight. We knew we were going to need to have some upsets on paper, but our guys came out and wrestled really well."

The dual began at 157 with junior Josh Humphreys registering his eighth straight victory. He scored a takedown in each period, plus a second period escape, a stall point and riding time to defeat Hunter Richard 9-2.

Cornell (3-2) pulled even as Julian Ramirez rode a first period takedown to a 3-2 decision over sophomore Brian Meyer at 165.

Logan took on 10th-ranked Chris Foca at 174 and was the aggressor with three quality shots in a scoreless first period. He scored a takedown in the second period and was tied 2-2 after two. In the third, Logan escaped and added another takedown, holding Foca down to pick up the 5-2 decision.

"Jake has been in a war every time out," Santoro said. "Every match he is right there. He's starting to break through. Foca's really tough so that was a really good win for Jake. When Jake is offensive, he can be really good. When he gets to legs three or four times in a match he's going to figure it out and score more points."

Burkhart followed with a 7-6 decision over No. 13 Jonathan Loew at 184. He scored the first takedown of the bout and after being taken down himself, reversed late in the first period to lead 4-3 after one. Burkhart added a second takedown in the second period and took a 6-5 lead into the third. Foca used a strong third period ride to gain riding time advantage but cut Burkhart loose. Burkhart kept his positioning late to secure the one-point win, which put Lehigh up 9-3.

"AJ moved up three weight classes and he's showing some power now," Santoro said. "He did a really nice job. He wrestled a really tough kid and wrestled a great match."

The Big Red picked up the first of their two bonus wins at 197 as Jacob Cardenas won a 19-5 major decision over sophomore Eli Jones as Lehigh led 9-7 at intermission.

The second half of the dual began with a matchup of ranked heavyweights. Senior Jordan Wood scored takedowns in the first and third periods and added 1:01 of riding time advantage to defeat No. 18 Lewis Fernandez and put Lehigh up by five.

Second-ranked Vito Arujau brought Cornell back within 12-10 with a 9-3 decision over No. 11 Jaret Lane at 125, but Lehigh responded with wins at 133 and 141 to clinch the dual.

At 133, first year Malyke Hines gave up the first takedown to Dom LaJoie but scored late in the first to lead 3-2 after one. He then rode out the second period and added a pair of third period takedowns in a 10-4 decision.

McGonagle met Cole Handlovic at 141 needed a win to secure the dual for Lehigh. After a scoreless first, McGonagle escaped early in the second and withstood a lengthy scramble late in the period without any points scored. He then rode out the third period, adding a point for 1:48 riding time advantage to win 2-0.

"Connor as a freshman with the dual meet on the line trying to seal it, that was great," Santoro said. "We knew it would be a really scrambly match. Connor was day-to-day this week but he did a nice job. He wasn't quite ready yesterday but today he was ready and showed up."

Cornell claimed the final bout of the dual at 149 as top-ranked Yianni Diakomihalis won by third period technical fall over first year Steven Storm.

Both Storm and Jones made their first career dual meet appearances for Lehigh.

The Mountain Hawks are back home for two more duals next weekend as Lehigh hosts Columbia Friday at 7 p.m. and Navy Saturday at 2 p.m. The Navy match is the annual Sheridan Dual and Salute to Service Day. Tickets for both duals are available at or by calling 610-7LU-GAME during business hours.

The 2021-22 Lehigh wrestling season is presented by the Historic Hotel Bethlehem.

No. 17 Lehigh 18, No. 8 Cornell 15

157 – Josh Humphreys (Lehigh) dec. Hunter Richard (Cornell) 9-2

165 – Julian Ramirez (Cornell) dec. Brian Meyer (Lehigh) 3-2

174 – Jake Logan (Lehigh) dec. Chris Foca (Cornell) 5-2

184 – AJ Burkhart (Lehigh) dec. Jonathan Loew (Cornell) 7-6

197 – Jacob Cardenas (Cornell) major dec. Eli Jones (Lehigh) 19-4

285 – Jordan Wood (Lehigh) dec. Lewis Fernandes (Cornell) 9-3

125 – Vito Arujau (Cornell) dec. Jaret Lane (Lehigh) 9-3

133 – Malyke Hines (Lehigh) dec. Dom LaJoie (Cornell) 10-4

141 – Connor McGonagle (Lehigh) dec. Cole Handlovic (Cornell) 3-2

149 – Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) tech fall Steven Storm (Lehigh) 21-6, 5:35

Attendance – 1,593

Extra matches

141 – JJ Wilson (Cornell) dec. Drew Munch (Lehigh) 3-2

285 – Brendan Furman (Cornell) dec. TJ Moore (Lehigh) 4-3