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Coming off a close loss to Bloomsburg, wrestling coach Rob Eiter looked for stronger performances from the team’s freshmen.

First-year heavyweight Kyle Cowan answered his coach’s challenge Sunday with a narrow victory in his second bout of the weekend after besting a nationally-ranked wrestler in his first.

The Quakers (5-3) traveled to Charlottesville, Va., for a dual meet and left with a 18-15 win over Virginia (13-5) and a dominating 33-6 victory over VMI (2-5).

With the teams tied at 15, the outcome of the Virginia meet hinged on Cowan’s performance in the heavyweight match. He came through in his 5-1 win over Jack Danilkowicz.

Cowan was the sole freshman victor against Virginia.

Meanwhile, eight of Penn’s 10 grapplers won their matches against VMI.

And yet again, Cowan delivered a strong performance. Though the team’s outcome against VMI was no longer in doubt by the time he took the mat, Cowan wrestled tough and dispatched No. 14 Josh Wine, 2-1.

Each of Penn’s ranked grapplers went 2-0 on the day, including No. 9, 141-pounder Zack Kemmerer, who recently moved into the top 10.

The Red and Blue open their Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association conference schedule on Jan. 29 in their next match against Bucknell.

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