It’s difficult to pick just one most valuable player from a team that upset the nation’s seventeenth-ranked squad, but the weekend that Penn wrestling’s Frank Mattiace had is more than worthy of recognition.
The Quakers hadn’t beaten a nationally top-25 ranked opponent since the 2012-13 season — two years before head coach Alex Tirapelle’s arrival — until welcoming No. 17 Stanford to the Palestra on Sunday, so the 19-17 upset over the Cardinal represented not only the biggest upset of the weekend in Penn Athletics, but also the greatest of Tirapelle’s tenure in Philadelphia.
And while several athletes contributed to the wild victory, Mattiace managed to stand out despite an especially rigorous slate of opposition.
Ranked 15th nationally in the 197-pound weight class, the senior faced off against No. 20 Josh Marchock in what ended up being the only top-20 bout in either of the Quakers’ two weekend matches — and in the most hyped up individual scuffle of the day, Mattiace eked out a 3-2 win with a third-round escape to gain three crucial points for Penn, points whose importance became even more evident considering the meet’s final score.
Additionally, Mattiace had given his all to snatch a team win in Penn’s first matchup of the weekend, topping Army’s Rocco Caywood to briefly give the Red and Blue a 7-6 lead over the Black Knights.
Although Penn eventually fell in that contest by a score of 18-14, it was by no fault of Mattiace, who ended up being one of four Quakers to individually finish 2-0 on the weekend.
Considering the weekend as a whole, the bottom line is that if there’s no Mattiace, there’s no upset of Stanford. And for that, the senior is our choice as the weekend’s MVP.