Penn wrestling had a roller coaster ride on the mat in a weekend series of three dual meets.
On Saturday at the Palestra, the Quakers lost to No. 19 Princeton, 28-6, but followed that up with a 39-0 victory against California Baptist on Sunday afternoon. Penn then headed up to Franklin & Marshall, a road meet which ended with a score of 30-6 in favor of the Red and Blue.
To kick off the weekend against Princeton (8-6, 4-1 Ivy), two nationally-ranked freshmen at 125 pounds, Penn's Carmen Ferrante and the Tigers' Patrick Glory, wrestled in an anticipated matchup. The first part of the match was tightly contested until Glory pulled ahead with several consecutive takedowns. With two minutes and 22 seconds of riding time, Glory secured the 10-3 victory to hand Ferrante his first dual-meet loss of the season and put the Quakers (5-8, 2-3 Ivy) in an early hole.
“It was a really good experience for [Carmen] to compete against Glory; they’ll likely meet in the EIWA championships again,” coach Roger Reina said.
At 285 pounds, freshman Ben Goldin clocked two minutes and 31 seconds of riding time and defeated Princeton’s Kendall Elfstrum by decision to complete a 4-0 shutout.
“Our team motto is resilience, and no matter what happens, or what the score is, just going in to fight every match, every position,” Goldin said. “We are always staying positive and hoping to win the next one.”
Another important showdown was between freshman Anthony Artalona and Princeton’s Matthew Kolodzik at 149 pounds. In the second period, Artalona pulled ahead with a takedown, which Kolodzik immediately returned. With the score tied at 5-5 late in the third, Kolodzik won two straight points and pinned Artalona to win the match, 7-5.
Yet another freshman, Doug Zapf, posted three wins this weekend at 133 and 141 pounds, beginning with his 1-0 victory against Princeton’s Jonathan Gomez, a match the two wrestlers played almost entirely on their feet. The slow match saw no points in the first or third periods, and a single escape point for Zapf in the second period resulted in his victory.
“It’s fun to go back-to-back-to-back, just picking up little things from each match about what you can do better on,” Zapf said.
In his match against Cal Baptist (2-4), with the score tied at 0 midway through the second period, Zapf and his opponent, sophomore Adam Velasquez, scored points back and forth until the score was 5-2. At that point, Zapf posted multiple consecutive takedowns while holding Velasquez below five points. The match resulted in a 12-4 Zapf victory by major decision.
“I’ve been putting it more together [lately] and still sometimes struggle with getting to my offense, so that’s what I’ve been trying to focus on a lot,” Zapf said. "I did better with it today [against Cal Baptist], and so it’s just about working a lot harder and just trying to keep growing.”
Overall, the Quakers dominated the Lancers, winning matches in every weight class. Ferrante, for his part, opened the meet with a 15-0 win.
“We are encouraging our guys to generate more offense, to be more offensive, to continue to score with a lead,” Reina said. “That’s really important this time of year in the postseason, to not be just satisfied with a lead but continue to build on it, so that was an important step forward for us.”
At 174 pounds, Jake Hendricks secured three consecutive takedowns in the first period alone. At one point, it looked like Cal Baptist had the opportunity to pin Hendricks, but the freshman flipped the script and maintained control until the match ended with a score of 7-4.
Senior Robert Ng, who lost his 184-pound match against Princeton's Kevin Parker on Saturday, defeated the Lancers' Garrett Strang in overtime on Sunday. Ng led for the majority of the match, but in the last 15 seconds Strang scored a two-point pin, sending the match into overtime. However, Ng pulled away in extra time and captured a 5-3 victory.
To finish the weekend, Penn handled Franklin & Marshall on Sunday night, winning eight of its 10 matches. Artalona got things going with a 9-6 victory over Patrick Quinlan. The Red and Blue won the next four matches to give themselves a comfortable lead. To end the night, Zapf continued his strong weekend performance, narrowly defeating Diplomats' sophomore Haroldo Nesbeth by a 7-6 margin.
Next Sunday, the Quakers will take on Lehigh, which will be their final match before the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in March.
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