Wrestling Hosts No. 1 Cornell on Saturday Night
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

NEW YORK - The Columbia wrestling team will open the Ivy League portion of the its schedule when its hosts top-ranked Cornell on Saturday, February 5 at 6 p.m. in University Gymnasium. Seniors Nick Standish and Mike Pushpak will be honored in a ceremony prior to the match.

Columbia swept a trio of home matches on Saturday, January 29.  The Lions easily defeated Millersville, 46-3, and Franklin & Marshall, 41-7, and had a thrilling come-from-behind 18-14 victory over Rider.

Pushpak was the game-changer against Rider with a huge sudden-victory pin over Joe Ferber in a must-win bout at 197 pounds, which put the Lions ahead, 15-14.  Kevin Lester followed that match with a 9-2 victory against Evan Craig at heavyweight to give the Lions an 18-14 win.

Penn Gottfried (125), Nick Mills (184), Pushpak (197) and Lester (Hwt.) all finished 3-0 for the day.

Cornell reclaimed its top spot in the national rankings and is 7-1 in dual action this season.  The Big Red's lineup includes seven wrestlers ranked in the top-11 in the country, highlighted by No. 1 Cam Simaz at 197 pounds. Kyle Dake (149) and Mack Lewnes (174) are both ranked No. 3, Mike Grey (133) and Steve Bosak (184) are ranked No. 6, Frank Perrelli (125) is No. 10, and DJ Meagher (157) is No. 11. Cornell's only loss came at Lehigh, 17-15, on Jan. 20.

Check back to gocolumbialions.com on Saturday for a live blog!  Fans will be able to write in with questions and follow along as the match against Cornell is underway.

Lester was perfect in January, as the junior heavyweight finished with an undefeated 9-0 record for the month.  He began the month with a major decision against Army on January 7, and pinned his opponent from Binghamton the following day. The junior followed that up by winning the New York State title, the second of his career. Lester closed out the month of January by finishing 3-0 in dual action against Millersville, Rider and Franklin & Marshall, pinning two of his three opponents. Not only does the junior co-captain lead the Lions with 18 wins so far this season, he also has a team-high five pins and is ranked No. 19 in the country by Amatuer Wrestling News.

Lester and Nick Mills are both ranked in the latest EIWA rankings.  Mills is ranked No. 5 in the conference at 184 pounds with a 16-7 record, while Lester is ranked No. 4 at heavyweight sporting an 18-6 record.

Standish and Pushpak, the team's two seniors, will be honored in a ceremony prior to the match on Saturday night.  Standish is a two-time captain of the team, while Pushpak has had a successful senior campaign after after a one-year hiatus from the mat last year.

Kyle Gilchrist has been the definition of consistency for Columbia this season in dual action.  The junior co-captain is a 9-1 in dual matches, and is coming off a big win against Franklin &Marshall's Jake Bucha.  Gilchrist had a 5-2 tie-breaker win against Bucha, who is ranked third in the EIWA.

Columbia has a pair of matches next weekend, squaring off against Princeton at the New York Athletic Club on Friday, February 11 at 6:30 p.m., and Penn on Saturday, February 12 at 3 p.m. in University Gym.