It’s not just momentum; it’s a movement.
When he returned to Penn wrestling 20 months ago, coach Roger Reina brought with him a nationally ranked recruiting class for the 2018-19 season and a new energy.
Just starting their season, the Quakers (1-3, 0-1 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) have shown that they are on the rise. The talent of this year’s freshman class is apparent, as first years fill more than half of the starting lineup. But Penn’s recent success on the mat isn’t just temporary.
“A lot of people were talking about our momentum,” Reina said. “But it felt like a lot more than that.”
The next recruiting class, for the 2019-20 season, is also very highly-ranked — between fifth and tenth in the country in Division I. The Quakers are attracting more and more talent and receiving more attention from coaches across the country. Reina believes this is a sign of something bigger.
“It really is more than momentum ... you know, this is really a movement,” he said. “People are getting behind this and recognizing we have something really special going on here.”
Thus, #TheMovement, Penn’s mantra, was born.
#TheMovement has not only been a symbol of the Quakers’ improvement, but also a guiding message for their season. To freshman Ben Goldin, #TheMovement is a promise of commitment.
“I think #TheMovement just signifies that we’re looking for 100 percent buy-in from everybody,” Goldin said. “Everybody’s willing to work hard, all towards a common goal. It’s one big movement towards success.”
Fifth-year senior Joe Oliva echoed this sentiment.
“We’ve had historically a really strong program,” Oliva said. “We’re just looking to increase buy-in, increase trust, increase commitment from the guys on the team, from the coaching staff, from the university resources that are supporting us, and [from] our alumni.”
As they head into the weekend, the Quakers are preparing for two important EIWA dual meets. They will travel to Vestal, N.Y. where they will compete against Binghamton (0-3, 0-2) on Friday. By Sunday, they will be back at the Palestra, ready to face off against Army (3-2, 3-0).
But this year might be different. Army defeated the Bearcats, 30-7, last Sunday in its home opener, a major victory. With a brand new lineup of fresh faces, the Quakers will hope to have positive results against both teams.
The Red and Blue have already shown vast improvement so far this season.
This weekend, and as their season picks up, Penn will hope to channel that success to further cultivate #TheMovement.