STEVENS POINT, Wis. – Phillip Opelt (SR/Neillsville, Wis.) made a triumphant return to Cornell's wrestling lineup and was among three Ram individuals to go 2-0 at Saturday's UW-Stevens Point Duals.
Cornell fell 29-14 in the opening meet to the host Pointers. The Rams were edged by Luther in the final dual, 21-18.
Opelt, a two-time NCAA qualifier and 2016 all-American, posted an 18-6 major decision over UW-Stevens Point's Alex Heiden at 149 pounds, marking Opelt's first match in more than 13 months. Opelt then earned a 5-3 decision over Gilbert Valadez in the Luther dual.
No. 2 nationally-ranked 141-pounder Josh Martin (SR/Lombard, Ill.) and heavyweight Tyler Ortmann (SR/Forsyth, Ill.) also went undefeated with impressive outings for the Rams (3-5). Martin collected two pins to push his season record to 17-2. Ortmann improved to 12-4 with a major decision and a decision.
Martin put Cornell on the scoreboard against Luther with a fall in 5:48 over Tyler Menegay. Opelt's two-point victory followed by a forfeit win by Seth Niichel (SR/Charles City, Iowa) at 157 pushed the Rams ahead 15-9.
Luther (5-3) won the next four matches – all by decision – to regain the lead at 21-15. Cornell's Bryce Oveson (FR/Wilton, Iowa) dropped a 5-4 battle with Ira Kuehn at 184. Luther's Hunter Weaver prevailed 6-4 in overtime against Cornell 197-pounder Chris Lyons (JR/Overland Park, Kan.).
Ortmann claimed a 5-2 decision in the final bout, leaving the Rams three points short.
The Rams picked up three individual wins against UW-Stevens Point (3-6), highlighted by Martin's pin in 5:29 over Bobby Uttecht. Opelt's major decision brought Cornell within 12-10 through four matches.
The Pointers pulled away with wins in the next five matches. Nic Jarvis (SO/Iowa City, Iowa) dropped a tight 3-1 decision at 157. Lyons fell short in overtime, 5-1, to 2017 NCAA qualifier Dylan Diebitz.
Ortmann finished the meet by taking a 12-3 major decision over Ross Agg.
Coming up – The Rams host the 40th Annual Matman Invitational next Saturday, Jan. 13, in the Small Multi-Sport Center Arena. Action gets underway at 9 a.m.