Following three consecutive victories, the Penn wrestling team looked to continue riding its recent success into the state of Arizona. However, powerhouse Arizona State, ranked No. 14 in the nation, proved to be a major roadblock for the Quakers (5-6) and their chances for a fourth straight victory. In a star-studded match that contained 11 wrestlers ranked within the top 25 in their respective divisions, the Sun Devils (10-3) defeated the Red and Blue, 25-13. The Sun Devils didn't shine so brightly at first though, as the Quakers jumped out to a 4-0 lead after freshman Mason Lenhard recorded a 19-7 major decision over ASU's Chris Knox. Arizona State then accumulated 13 unanswered points in the next three matches. David Douglas, ranked No. 11 nationally at 133 pounds, defeated Penn's Jeff Eveleth by major decision, 15-5. At 141 pounds, the Sun Devil's Eric Larkin, ranked third in his weight class, pinned the Quakers' Dan Mousetis at the 2:45 mark. Surprisingly, at 149, ASU's Dana Holland upset nationally ranked No. 14 Joe Henson by a slim 12-9 margin. But the string of losses for the Quakers stopped there, as No. 2 Yoshi Nakamura stepped to the mat next. In a match between two wrestlers ranked within the top 15 in the nation at 157, Nakamura edged out No. 13 Rocky Smart in overtime by a 2-1 count. "My opponent wrestled an ideal match for himself and kept it close the whole time," Nakamura said. Nakamura's national ranking is causing his opponents to be extremely cautious in his presence. "They are straying away and trying to tie me up and hold on the whole time," Nakamura said. "But I'm still putting forth my best effort and I'm still pushing forward for a national championship." Nakamura has defeated every opponent he has faced this season and holds an impressive 18-0 record. The third and final victory for the Quakers came from the 197-pound division. Mike Fickell, now ranked 10th in the country, pinned Andy Swanson of ASU at 1:45. In the Quakers' final two dual meets, Penn will battle Princeton at the Palestra on February 14 and travel to Lehigh on February 18. The Red and Blue will look to regain the momentum they had prior to the Arizona State match in these two matches, as the season-defining EIWA and NCAA championships quickly approach.Comments powered by Disqus
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