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Looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss to Cornell and a sloppy win over Columbia last weekend, Penn responded with an all too familiar result: another split.

The Penn wrestling team made quick work of an inferior Princeton squad Saturday, downing the Tigers, 23-11. Sunday proved less fruitful, however, as the Quakers could not keep up with the No. 7 Mountain Hawks, falling 30-9.

On Saturday, the Quakers (10-5, 4-1 Ivy) looked to be firing on all cylinders. They opened the dual with three straight victories from Mark Rappo, Bryan Ortenzio and Zack Kemmerer.

After two straight losses — one by technical fall — the Tigers (9-10, 3-2) managed to close the gap to 9-8.

Juniors Gabe Burak and Scott Giffin, however, won back-to-back major decisions to swing the match back in Penn’s favor. The Quakers didn’t look back, taking two of their next three matches, to seal the victory.

On Sunday, however, the Red and Blue had much more difficulty with a far more experienced Lehigh team (16-3-1).

The Quakers looked to be in for a rough day after Mark Rappo fell 8-0 in the 125-pound weight class.

However Penn hung tough. Despite losing their matches, both Ortenzio and Kemmerer kept it competitive against ranked opponents, with Ortenzio losing due to a late takedown, while Kemmerer fell in an overtime heartbreaker.

After one more loss, which featured the 133-pound Zack Ellis grappling in place of injured captain Cesar Grajales in the 149-pound weight class, Penn’s other oft-injured captain No. 17 Matt Dragon was finally able to eke out a win for the Quakers.

Dragon took down Lehigh’s Sean Bilodeau in the third period and escaped with a 9-7 victory.

Giffin gave Penn another victory shortly after with an upset of No. 16 Robert Hamlin. After two more matches, Penn received its final points from freshman Micah Burak, who took down No. 17 Joe Kennedy 3-2 in overtime.

Though the score might indicate that the Quakers struggled again, Dragon found reason for optimism.

“All the matches were real close,” Dragon said. “A takedown here, a point here, and every match could have switched around.”

However, against a national powerhouse such as Lehigh, which features seven top-25 wrestlers, close just didn’t cut it.

Regardless, the team will spend little time wondering what could have been, and will instead focus on the looming EIWA championships in two weeks.

“There’s no time to feel sorry for ourselves,” coach Rob Eiter said. “We’ve got to get to work.”

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