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Sophomore Cole Urbas wrestles down opponent Sam Wustefeld for a win during the meet against Columbia at the Palestra on Jan. 23.

Credit: Samantha Turner

715 days. 

That is how long it has been since Penn wrestling last faced Columbia. 

After a mass of cancellations and postponements, Penn (1-1, 1-0 EWIA) came out with a massive 32-3 victory over the Lions to claim its first EIWA win. When these two teams previously met, Columbia (1-5, 0-2) came away with a close 17-15 victory. 

The day started at 174 pounds, with Penn freshman #19 Nick Incontrera facing off against Columbia’s #23 Nick Fine. Incontrera came out quick with a quick takedown and was able to control the match, cruising to a 10-6 victory and jumping Penn out to a 3-0 lead. 

“I think Nick Incontrera did a great job getting us off to a strong start,” coach Roger Reina said. “That’s a ranked opponent, and he was just dominant in that match. And I think that really gave some momentum to us early on.”

The Quakers built off that momentum all day and performed strongly in the heavier weights, as they picked up wins in the 184-, 197-, and 285-pound matches to extend the team lead to 12-0. The highlights of the day, though, came in the lighter-weight classes. 

Freshman Ryan Miller took on Columbia’s Joe Manchio in the 125-pound matchup. Both wrestlers are ranked, with Miller at #23 and Manchio at #15. The match was very tightly contested, with the two grapplers both gaining one point before Miller was able to take control. Miller went up 4-1 before Manchio was able to come up with a last-minute escape point and attempt to come back. Miller was able to hold on for the huge upset and a 4-2 victory that extended the lead to 15-0. 

“I’ve been in plenty of those situations before so just staying calm and going back to what I know how to do and not getting too worried,” Miller said.

Credit: Samantha Turner Sophomore Michael Colaiocco begins his round in neutral position against opponent Angelo Rini during the team's meet against Columbia at the Palestra on Jan. 23.

In the 133-pound match, sophomore #12 Michael Colaiocco (133) won by major decision against #26 Angelo Rini. Rini scored the first two points of the match, but Colaiocco was able to escape and then took control of the match with a commanding 14-4 victory. 

“I believe it was February of last year, I actually had an exhibition match against Angelo Rini and I got off to a bad start, got caught into a weird move, and actually got pinned in 30 seconds,” Colaiocco said. “So when I knew I was wrestling this year. I was really excited to go out there and give full effort and just try to dominate. It feels really good to come back on top of that one.”

In the 141- and 157-pound classes, both sophomore #15 CJ Composto and junior #21 Doug Zapf were both able to come away with technical fall scores of 20-5. 

“It's a short week, we traveled on Thursday to go up to Brown and Harvard to continue EWIA and Ivy competition,” Reina said. “It's a sprint to [see] who gets better, faster, and I think we've got a lot of momentum. But we got to make every practice day count and continue to improve.”

The Red and Blue will hope to bolster their momentum next weekend, when they take a road-trip to visit Brown and Harvard in Ivy League matchups.