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Senior Mike Fickell will be instrumental in Penn's matches against Columbia and Cornell this weekend, as the Red and Blue start their Ivy dual-meet season. (Andrew Margolies/DP File Photo)

The Penn men's wrestling team will look to continue to ride its historical heat wave of success in the Ivy League as it ventures into frigid Manhattan and Ithaca, N.Y., this weekend. When the Quakers cross the New York state line, their Ivy dual-meet season will finally commence. Penn battles Columbia on Friday. The Lions, who do not rank in the EIWA's top-eight, are expected to pose little threat to the No. 2 Quakers. In last year's meet, Penn de-clawed the Lions in a 44-6 uprooting. Yet senior captain Yoshi Nakamura, ranked No. 1 at the 157-lb. slot in the EIWA, is quick to note the importance of Ivy League matches. "Each team we wrestle in the Ivy League we can't look past," Nakamura said. "To show our dominance in the Ivy League we have to beat the best, and beat the teams that are less competitive by a bigger margin." Following the Columbia match, Penn will travel north to Cornell, where fiercer competition lurks. Cornell is currently ranked third in the EIWA, only one spot behind the Red and Blue. With six wrestlers ranked sixth or better, the Big Red pose a significant threat to Penn's quest for winning its sixth consecutive league championship. Cornell's strongest wrestlers hail from the 157-, 165- and 197-lb. weight classes. In the 157-pound division, Cornell sends No. 3 Leo Urbinelli to the mat. Yet Urbinelli's grappling will be greatly tested. He will face Penn senior Yoshi Nakamura, who is widely regarded as the second-best wrestler in the country in that weight class. Nakamura (10-0), will be attempting to remain perfect on the season. He defeated Urbinelli last season in a 6-2 decision. "You can never take anybody lightly, and I think he is ranked No. 13 in the country," Nakamura said. Also, Cornell will put forth Clint Wattenberg -- the EIWA No. 1 in the 165-lb. division -- and last year's EIWA champion, Corey Anderson, in the 197-pound division. Penn coach Roger Reina is looking for his team to unleash its potency this weekend. "We have great potential with our squad, and I am very confident we are on the right road," Reina said. "So I'm excited to see this group just go out and do what they're fully capable of." Following their stay in New York, the Penn wrestlers will head home to the Palestra, where they will begin training for a matchup with Penn State on January 31. Prior to traveling to Penn State, coach Reina and Nakamura will attend the NWCA National All-Star meet. Nakamura will wrestle in the 157-lb. bracket and Reina will act as an honorary coach.

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