Cornell's Coolidge returns to NCAA finals

Coolidge became Cornell's first two-time NCAA finalist since Walter Romanowski in 1950-51

Published: March 15 2014 | 11:57 am - Updated: 1 April 2014 | 9:39 am in

CEDAR RAPIDS - Alex Coolidge has to tend to some unfinished business.

The Cornell senior was a win short of claiming a national title. He earned another chance to complete his quest.

Coolidge scored a takedown in the final 20 seconds, beating SUNY-Cortland's Joe Giamarita, 3-1, in the 197-pound semifinals Saturday morning of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Coolidge, a three-time national qualifier, was the 197-pound runner-up last year.

"It's good to be back here," said Coolidge, who improved to 28-4. "The tough part is out of the way and now it's time to try to shine on the big stage."

A silver medal has eaten at Coolidge since the end of last season. He turned his focus immediately to getting another shot at gold.

"It's not only this year," Coolidge said. "It's been all summer, last spring, all fall. It's been every day working up. Runner-up is good, but you don't train to be second best in the country."

Coolidge and Giamarita exchanged escapes before Coolidge capitalized on the shot at the edge of the mat. Officials briefly reviewed the call and upheld it.  Coolidge hit a similar move in the second, but was reluctant when Giamarita bailed out of the position. He finished it the next time.

"I committed to that one in the third," Coolidge said. "I was able to trap both ankles and get my two."

He faces University of Wisconsin-Whitewater's Shane Siefert (41-4) in his final bout. Coolidge is Cornell's first two-time finalist since Walter Romanowski in 1950 and 1951. He will attempt to be the first Ram NCAA champion since Shawn Voigt in 1990 and the ninth in program history.

"It's an awesome feeling," top-seeded Coolidge said. "I got the semifinal match out of the way and now I have a very tough Shane Siefert in the finals. I have split matches with him this year. I have to be ready to go. He's been wrestling extremely well."

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