Despite four tournament champions and five NCAA qualifiers, the Penn wrestling team finished second this weekend at the EIWA Championships. In the two-day, 12-team event, the Red and Blue were just nine points shy of eventual champion Harvard. The Crimson finished with 123 total team points, ahead of Penn's 114 and Lehigh's 109.5. Harvard's Dawid Rechul pinned four wrestlers during the course of the weekend tournament and earned the Sheraton award for most pins as well as the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler award. Penn coach Roger Reina was generally pleased about his team's second-place finish, but he noted the Quakers' ultimate goal was to win the tournament. Reina also alluded to the performances of seniors Tim Ortman and Mike Fickell, who were able to avenge earlier season losses. "Several opponents we had been beaten by before, and we were able to turn around and beat them," Reina said. Penn's had four wrestlers advance to the finals, and all four -- freshman Mason Lenhard and seniors Yoshi Nakamura, Tim Ortman and Mike Fickell -- won their matches to claim an individual title. Lenhard opened the championship finals last night by earning his and Penn's first 2001 EIWA individual championship. The 125-pounder defeated Lehigh's Mario Stuart by a final score of 9-7. "I wanted to win this -- it was a goal of mine from the beginning of the season," Lenhard said. "I'm glad I came through for the team." In the 157-pound weight class, Penn co-captain Yoshi Nakamura continued his season-long domination of opponents, as he defeated Cornell's two-time NCAA qualifier Leo Urbinelli, 6-2. Nakamura improved his stellar record to 24-1, as the eight-time national judo champion won his second EIWA Championship. "It's good to repeat. You're showing the true mark of a champion," Nakamura said. In the very next match, Tim Ortman won Penn's third individual championship of the night by defeating Lehigh's Ryan Bonfiglio, 4-2. "It feels great," Ortman said. "I've just placed in the last three years and missed nationals. There's a huge burden off my back." Fickell, meanwhile, won the 197-pound crown by defeating defending EIWA champion Cory Anderson by an 11-3 major decision. Anderson had beaten Fickell in last year's EIWA semifinals. "Winning in front of the Palestra is special and in front of my old teammates was even more special," Fickell said. Penn now looks toward the NCAA Championships at the University of Iowa. Lenhard, Nakamura, Ortman and Fickell, as well as junior Joe Henson -- who earned a wild-card bid at 149 for his third-place finish -- will head to the Championships, which will be held March 15-17 at the University of Iowa.Comments powered by Disqus
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