The Penn wrestling team wrapped up the dual meet portion of its season on a low, losing to perennial powerhouse No. 10 Lehigh on Sunday.
The meet started off well for the Quakers as No. 17 Mark Rappo defeated Mitch Berger of Lehigh 14-6 to win the 125-pound weightclass. But that strong start came to a screeching halt as Penn dropped the next nine matches of the meet, resulting in a 35-4 defeat.
“Mark Rappo continued to wrestle well and do everything right,” coach Rob Eiter said. “Being aggressive, wrestling in all positions, looking for bonus points and always looking to put the kid on his back. He started us off exactly how we needed him to start us off.”
At 141 pounds, No. 10 senior Zack Kemmerer fell, 8-7, just his sixth loss in 37 matches this season. No. 5 Micah Burak also lost a close one, 4-3, at 197 pounds.
Despite losing to the nation’s top heavyweight in Zach Rey, Penn’s Kyle Cowan was a brightspot, Eiter said.
“Cowan rode him for almost two minutes and came very close to earning back points,” Eiter said.
The meet concluded the regular season for Penn. The Quakers finished with a 10-6 record in dual meets, including a 5-2 record against Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Assocation teams.
Looking back on the regular season, Eiter described it as a “roller coaster,” noting that there were both highs and lows. Overall, however, Eiter said, “the team did about what we expected this year.”
The coach also sees the season as a positive step towards the long-term improvement of the team.
“The young kids in the lineup gained a full year of experience. We are going to be counting on those guys next year to get those wins for us” he said.
The Quakers will try to turn the loss against Lehigh into motivation as their focus shifts toward the EIWA championships on March 5.
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