After a tough winter break, Penn wrestling is looking to get back into the win column.
And luckily for the Quakers (2-3), a favorable matchup presents itself for the Red and Blue with Binghamton coming to the Palestra on Friday evening before Penn travels to Bucknell on Sunday afternoon.
Binghamton (2-7) is in its first year in the EIWA and the Bearcats are in a transition period, going 1-4 so far in conference play, with the one win coming against Brown on Saturday.
“One of the reasons why we allowed them into the conference is because they’re a good program,” Penn coach Rob Eiter said. “They’ve got a pretty good history and the last few years, they’ve put a pretty good investment into the program.
After coach Pat Popolizio left the school two seasons ago to become the head coach at N.C. State, Matt Dernlan took over as coach and is looking to help the program continue to make progress.
“They’ve had success and they’ve gone through a coaching change,” Eiter said. “[The Bearcats have gone] from a coach that brought them to the next level and added a new coach who … is just going to raise it another level.”
Meanwhile, coach Eiter expects a similar level of competition against Bucknell when Penn faces them on Sunday.
“Individually, they have some pretty decent kids,” Eiter said. “I don’t think they are up and down the line as strong as they have been in the past.”
After going through tough matches at Nebraska and the Southern Scuffle in Chattanooga over break, Eiter put the team through a solid practice schedule to get them ready for the rest of the year.
“We came back with probably the two toughest weekends you could probably have competition-wise,” Eiter said. “We brought the team back early after break and got two or three days of training in here.
“We go two-a-days so the mornings are more technique and low impact, and then we come back in the afternoon and we warm up and go live.”
Kent and the Red and Blue saw the Nebraska match as a teaching moment and something they can definitely improve on.
“We’ve been working on wrestling the whole match because at Nebraska, we got a wake-up call,” Kent said. “I wanted to wrestle more in defensive positions so that is what I have focused on this week. I gave a pretty bad takedown at the end of the match at Nebraska.”
But Kent and his team will aim to bounce back with two winnable matches on the horizon.
The Quakers are keen on taking advantage of some weaker competition.
“I think it will be a good time to get two wins in for the team,” sophomore Casey Kent said. “I think [they are] two teams that we can definitely beat.”
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