While the Quakers showed a lot of promise Sunday in Lawrenceville, N.J., their flaws also got exposed as they split their dual meets with Clarion and Rider.
After a 25-13 victory against Clarion, in which the Red and Blue strung together four straight victories in the lightweight classes, Penn fell to Rider, 21-12.
Rider (2-0), who is currently ranked 25th in the nation, built on a strong performance at the Keystone Classic, which Penn (1-1) hosted last Sunday at the Palestra. The Broncos finished second and proved they deserved to be voted into the top 25 while the Quakers’ poor performance caused them to surrender their No. 24 ranking.
On Sunday in Rider’s gym, the Quakers showed they had the stuff to hang with a ranked team, but not quite at that level. In the match against Rider no bonus points were scored by either team in what consisted of many tight matches.
Sophomore Caleb Richardson proved he is on track to build on his resume that includes a 2014 NCAA tournament bid. The 133 pounder won his only match of the day against 19th ranked Rob Deutsch of Rider in a grueling 3-2 victory.
Richardson’s performance was not the only highlight for the Quakers. They sent four freshman grapplers out for their first college dual meet experience. 133 pounder Marc Mastropietro, 157 pounder May Bethea, 174 pounder Joe Heyob and heavyweight Patrik Garren all got their hands raised in their first taste of collegiate dual meet competition. Garren would drop his match against Rider as the freshmen finished 4-1 as a group on the day.
Another bright spot for the Quakers came when 13th ranked senior C.J. Cobb returned to the lineup with success en route to two victories. The 149 pounder was forced to sit out of the Keystone Classic as well as the East Stroudsburg Open due to a nagging knee injury.
While the Quakers led Rider, 9-0, early in the dual, the lead would not prove enough. Senior All-American Lorenzo Thomas struggled in his victory over Rider’s Clint Morrison. The 184 pounder was pushed to overtime where he won but was unable to secure bonus points.
The Red and Blue look to regroup this week as they prepare to face 18th ranked Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa. next weekend. This will be a tough test for the Quakers, who have shown promise but will have a chance to impress as a unit.
Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.