Elmira College ushers in new wrestling era


ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – College wrestling is now in Elmira.

Elmira College not only welcomed back men’s wrestling for the first time in decades, the school is proud to introduce its new women’s team for 2020-21. The women’s team is the only one of its kind at a four-year collegiate institution in New York. Being the first is something the Soaring Eagles are proud of but they want to be the first to make an impact.

The Soaring Eagles will have their chance for impact Wednesday night. The men’s team travels to Alfred State with the first match set for 6 pm. The EC women will make the trek to East Stroudsburg University at 7 pm.

New Elmira head coach Cody Griswold will be the head coach of both the men’s and women’s teams. The men’s roster is smaller and will compete in primarily tournament style competition. Although smaller with five wrestlers on its roster, the Soaring Eagles have plenty of local flair. Freshman 125-pounder Mason Cardinale is on the squad after a standout run at Elmira High School.

Fellow Elmira Express wrestler and Section IV Champion in 2011, Zakk Rolfe, will serve as an assistant coach for the Soaring Eagles after being the head coach at Corning High School.

The women’s team is loaded with recruits from all over the country. From Seattle and California, to Texas and Alaska, this squad is poised to make a statement to help the sport grow.

“There is only one first team ever, and that’s why I chose to come here,” said freshman Skylah Chakouian of Rhode Island. “It’s going to grow women’s wrestling altogether as a sport. Across the country it’s going to start other schools to start wrestling,” added Chakouian.

For Griswold, who’s thrilled to be the first head coach of the program after Ian Clark left Elmira amid the pandemic, there is no better place to be.

“Over the last year and half, finally getting together and making our debut tomorrow (it’s exciting),” Griswold said. “(To) bring Elmira men’s wrestling back from the 1970’s and to have the first-ever women’s wrestling team and go out and compete…we’re fired up about it,” said Griswold.

18 Sports will have a recap of both Elmira College matches Wednesday night at 11.

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