Jonathan Loew.jpg

Jonathan Loew versus Israel’s Uri Kalashnikov

Two Cornell student athletes stepped onto much larger stages last week, and wrestler Jonathan Loew and volleyball player Sydney Moore did their university—and their programs—proud.

Loew won Gold (and two other medals) at the Maccabiah Games in Israel, winning the Freestyle competition with a dramatic 6-4 come-from-behind victory over home-country favorite Uri Kalashnikov, a U-23 World Freestyle Bronze medalist. In that match, Loew game from a 4-0 deficit to take the top podium spot.

According to the New York State Wrestling News' Facebook post, Loew was “playfully dubbed 'The Hebrew Hammer' by his family,” and his wrestling career continues on an upward arc. Loew came into Cornell as a NYSPHSAA champion, having won the NYS title after a dazzling 53-1 senior season at Wantagh High School, where he won over 200 matches as a six-year varsity starter. He also helped lead his school to two state titles.

At Cornell, after a pandemic-abbreviated sophomore season, Jonathan came back strong to win his first EIWA title at 184 pounds, and earned Division 1 All-American recognition, finishing 8th at the NCAAs.

I caught up to Jonathan after his return from Israel, and he said, “Competing at the Maccabiah Games was my first international competition, and it was the chance of a lifetime. It was really cool to see that many athletes following their passion.”

I asked how his spot on the team came to be, and he said, “My dad, Irwin Loew, (who was also a collegiate wrestler) competed in the Maccabiah Games in the 1980s, and his coach—a gentleman named Dave Groverman—is still around! He reached out to my dad in late-April and asked if I was interested.” Jonathan's parents and his sister were able to make the trip too, and Jonathan said, “It was an amazing experience, from a competition standpoint, but also form a cultural standpoint. Seeing Israel, seeing the sights, meeting the people... it was great.”

Loew sees the Maccabiah experience as not just a fun summer diversion, but as a stepping stone in his collegiate career. “It was a real confidence boost to know that I could compete with a guy with experience in the World Championships, and while the style of international wrestling I saw featured a slower pace and was much more methodical than I am accustomed to, I learned a lot of good stuff to bring back to my next collegiate season.”

Anyone familiar with elite collegiate wrestling knows that Loew is just one of many Cornell wrestlers competing in various tournaments around the world. The level of competition—internal as well as external—faced by these guys pretty much means that they have little time to relax. According to Jonathan, “There are a ton of guys at every weight class, and we're all good friends and we're all hungry to win.” He laughed and added, “We definitely beat the hell out of each other in practice, so when we compete against other programs, we can't wait to get our hands on other guys. It's tough, for sure, but it's all the result of a great system run by Coach (Mike) Grey and his staff.” (Jonathan also expressed his appreciation for the support put forth by the Maccabiah Games wrestling staff, led by coach Rob Prebish.)

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Congratulation also to Sydney Moore, a rising junior on the Big Red volleyball team. Sydney was among five women honored last week at the 2022 ESPY awards in Los Angeles as one of five the Billie Jean King Youth Leadership Award winners.

According to Cornellbigred.com, “Moore's work in various avenues throughout campus and the community was recognized on a national platform alongside many of the top athletes in the world. In March, Moore addressed members of Congress about NCAA reform, gender equity and Title IX. On June 23, Moore led a panel discussion in the United States Capitol Building to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the passing of Title IX legislation, representing both Cornell and Voice In Sport, an advocacy group that creates community and connects and inspires girls and women to drive positive change in athletics. ​She is also actively involved in the Women of Color in Athletics (WOCA) and has helped drive programming around promoting positive body image for women athletes.”

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