Sports

Stewart hopes to follow father's example

GTNS photo by Doug Brenneman

Cory Stewart (center) smiles after signing a letter of intent to attend Cornell College and wrestle. His mother, Deb (from left to right), assistant coach Nick Cole, head coach Derick Ball and father Eric watched him sign.
GTNS photo by Doug Brenneman Cory Stewart (center) smiles after signing a letter of intent to attend Cornell College and wrestle. His mother, Deb (from left to right), assistant coach Nick Cole, head coach Derick Ball and father Eric watched him sign.

Cory Stewart hopes to have the kind of career his father did.

Stewart signed a letter of intent Wednesday at Highland High School to wrestle at Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.

Cornell is sometimes confused with Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. One big difference, especially for Stewart, the college holds two national wrestling team titles; the university holds zero.

“Cory is from a wrestling family,” Huskies coach Derick Ball said. “His dad never placed in high school but went to Central College and finished as a runner up in the nation.”

Stewart made the state tournament this past season as a senior, but didn’t place. While he is not following his father’s footsteps as far as the college of choice, he has the chance to walk the same path.

“Cory didn’t get some of the accolades of others, but I don’t think his total ability has been tapped,” Ball said. “I’m very proud of him. He is my first wrestler to compete in college. Cory is one of those kids who is going to thrive at the next level. He will be able to sharpen his focus there.”

An institution since 1853, in 1978 Cornell faculty adopted the One Course At A Time curriculum, transforming the way teaching and learning happen at Cornell. With the 1996 publication of Loren Pope’s Colleges That Change Lives, Cornell’s life-changing education was formally recognized.

“They do three weeks of one class before they move to another class,” Ball said. “He will be able to put everything he has into wrestling.”

Stewart also considered Coe and Simpson, but the class schedule was a definite plus for Cornell.

“They were all really nice campuses but I just felt more at home at Cornell. I thought it was really interesting that they just do one class at a time,” Stewart said. “I like their block plan. I really liked that.”

While the classes were a deciding factor, Stewart is undecided about a major.

“I don’t know what I want to be so I am just going to go and try to figure that out,” he said. “I do know I really liked the coaching staff and the wrestlers.”

Having a coach as committed as Ball showed Stewart what he appreciates at the next level.

“The coaches are very supportive,” Stewart said. “They know what I want to accomplish. I know I need to get better on my feet and better when I’m on the bottom.”

“I can’t predict what he is going to be as a wrestler, but what I do know is that college is getting a great kid who will be a great teammate,” Ball said. “Sometimes that is more important than everything else.”