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Nickerson, Rinaldi to Wrestle at the NWCA All-Star Classic



ITHACA, N.Y. - Cornell sophomore Troy Nickerson (Binghamton, N.Y.) and senior Jerry Rinaldi (Lodi, N.J.) have been invited to wrestle at the 41st annual National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic, as presented by the United States Marine Corps. This will be the first appearance for both wrestlers.

The All-Star Classic creates an opportunity for two of the top wrestlers in each weight class to compete. This year's Classic will be held on Nov. 20 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

At 125 pounds, Nickerson will take on Oklahoma's Sam Hazewinkel. Nickerson has been ranked first, in front of Hazewinkel, in the rankings from Wrestlingreport.com and W.I.N. Magazine poll. At the NCAA Tournament last year, Nickerson finished in second place while the Sooner took third. As a freshman, Nickerson was named Ivy League Wrestler and Rookie of the Year while also being part of the All-Ivy first team. He won the first 18 matches of his collegiate career taking titles at the Body Bar Invitational, Las Vegas Invitational, and Southern Scuffle. The Big Red sophomore will be looking to avenge his first collegiate loss that came at the hands of Hazewinkel at the National Duals last season. Hazewinkel has won at the All-Star Classic the last two years, a streak that Nickerson will be looking to end.

Rinaldi, ranked second by the NWCA, will square off against No. 1 ranked Phil Davis of Penn State at 197 pounds. Rinaldi, who qualified for the NCAA tournament during all three of his years at Cornell, finished fourth at the NCAA tournament last season. He was also named All-Ivy First Team in 2004, 2005, and 2006. As a sophomore, Davis finished second at the 2006 NCAA Championships and is the defending Big Ten Champion. Davis and Rinaldi met at last year's NCAA Championships in the semifinals with Davis winning the bout, 7-4.

Head coach Rob Koll sees the All-Star Classic as terrific outlet for his wrestlers to get top notch competition exposure.

"This is a great opportunity for Troy and Jerry to wrestle against top guys," Coach Koll said. "This could be the first of many visits for Troy at the All-Star Classic. For Jerry, as a senior, this is a great honor, and he will hopefully come out being the No. 1 ranked wrestler."

Nickerson and Rinaldi, along with the rest of the Big Red wrestlers, will kick off their season Nov. 18 by hosting the Body Bar Invitational.
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