ITHACA, N.Y. (WETM) – A new season is here for perennial national power Cornell wrestling.

The Big Red enters the 2023-24 season ranked 2nd in the Intermat National Dual Meet rankings and 7th in the NCAA Coaches Poll in Division I. Saturday, Cornell hosts its season-opening dual meet of the season when the team battles Sacred Heart University. Opening match is slated for Noon and the contest will emanate from historic Barton Hall.

It marks the first head-to-head match since 2003 at Barton Hall and it complements The Finger Lakes National Duals youth tournament. Wrestling mats will be end to end at Barton Hall and the tournament will be put on pause for the Cornell vs. Sacred Heart matchup.

Reigning National Coach of The Year Mike Grey of Cornell, who helped guide The Big Red to a third-place finish at last year’s NCAA Tournament, says it’s going to be a special kickoff weekend.

“We’re excited to be back there (Barton Hall),” Grey said. “I think it’s a great opportunity for grassroots wrestling in the area, I think it’s a great opportunity for us to wrestle in front of some young and exciting kids.”

Cornell returns defending NCAA and World Champion Vito Arujau at 133 pounds and All-Americans Chris Foca at 174 and Jake Cardenas at 197. Newcomer and U20 World Freestyle Champion Meyer Shapiro will also bring his talents to the middleweight division.

The Big Red is coming off a strong showing at the Journeyman Classic in Bethlehem last weekend. Cornell won ten different weight brackets but Arujau dropped a tough decision to Lehigh redshirt freshman Ryan Crookham 8-4 at 133.

Although the program does lose four-time NCAA Champion Yianni Diakomihalis to graduation, Grey believes in the process of making the team better. And, it all starts this weekend.

“It should be a lot a lot fun, we expect mats down from wall to wall.”

Cornell wrestling’s complete season schedule can be found below. 18 Sports will be releasing the full interview with Cornell head coach Mike Grey shortly.