It is the first weekend of November, and a light snow glazes narrow country roads that zigzag through miles of cornfields. On a sprawling campus that overlooks this rural scene, the country’s top-ranked college wrestling team is in a gym working out with an eye on a national championship.
Some things never change in Iowa, do they?
But this is not Iowa.
Then it must be Oklahoma. Or perhaps Minnesota?
Although every N.C.A.A. wrestling championship since 1989 has been won by teams from Iowa, Oklahoma or Minnesota — with only 4 of 80 N.C.A.A. championships won from outside those states in history — this season, Cornell is the unanimous preseason No. 1.
It is the first time a team from the Ivy League, which prohibits athletic scholarships, has had the top ranking in wrestling and is one of the rare times an Ivy team has been ranked No. 1 outside sports like lacrosse, fencing, squash, and ice or field hockey.