The Movement keeps on moving up.
Penn wrestling continued its success this past weekend, with two big conference wins against the No. 19 Princeton Tigers and the Drexel Dragons. Both meets had extra significance, as the Quakers (7-2, EIWA 7-1) were facing off against strong rivals.
Princeton Tigers (6-4, 3-2)
On Saturday, the Red and Blue took the short trip to Princeton, N.J. to take on Ivy League rivals Princeton. This was Penn’s first win in the series since 2015, emerging victorious by a score of 20-13.
Penn started slowly falling into a 4-0 deficit after the first bout, but sophomore No. 9 Michael Colaiocco fought to pick up the first win of the day with a 15-11 decision over Princeton’s Nicholas Kayal, which cut Princeton's lead to 4-3.
In the next bout, sophomore No.16 CJ Composto continued his success, coming away with a major decision over Daniel Coles by a score of 17-4. This win catapulted the Quakers into the lead, and they never looked back.
The highlight of the match came at 149lbs, where Quaker fans saw a familiar sight in junior captain Carmen Ferrante. Ferrante, wrestling up from his usual weight class of 141, was able to pick up a sudden victory by a score of 6-4. The win by Ferrante helped to keep the Tigers from clawing their way back into the match.
“We had some guys step in," coach Roger Reina said. “Anthony Artalona is out of the lineup this weekend. Carmen Ferrante stepped in yesterday and wrestled up a weight class. [He] won a huge match that really swung the meet in our favor, so huge shoutout to Carmen.”
In the final match of the day at 285lb, with the Red and Blue leading 17-13, junior No. 29 Ben Goldin came up big with a 10-4 decision that put the meet out of reach for the Tigers and sealed the win for Penn.
After the meet, the Red and Blue had extra countable matches, with the highlight of those coming at the 141lb match, where freshman Kaya Sement got his first taste of dual-meet action in a Penn jersey. The Chester, N.J. native, who grew up only 40 miles away from Princeton University, got himself a win by fall at the 1:43 second mark.
Drexel Dragons (5-8, 4-4)
Quickly rebounding, the Quakers took on cross-town rival Drexel in a match that would determine bragging rights for University City. Penn started off quickly and dominated throughout the day for a 35-8 win.
“It's a great rivalry,” Reina said. “You know, we got a lot of respect for Drexel in their program. We partner with them on our Olympic Regional Training Center, and we're also partnering with Drexel to host the 2025 NCAA championship team."
Before the meet, Penn wrestling honored the soon-departing class of 2022, which included seniors Neil Antrassian, Grant Arnoff, Greg Bensley, Jake Hendricks, Willy Kaiser, Blair Orr, and Josh Swason.
Coach Reina had only great things to say about the class after the meet, being they were his first recruiting class since taking over the program for a second time in 2017.
“Big day for all of our seniors to be recognized,” Reina said. “They were in our first recruiting class, and I came back and took the program over, so these guys were really the pioneers that got the movement started. Big appreciation to them and their families.”
The meet started at 149lbs, where Quaker fans got a second look at Sement in as many days. The freshman stepped up and got a win by fall at 4:52 with Artalona out of the lineup. The victory gave the Quakers a commanding 6-0 lead early.
“I feel like the first match, you have a little bit more pressure because you have to start off the momentum,” Sement said. “I went out there and tried to score some points and get us started off right.”
The real turning point in the match came at 165lbs, with sophomore No. 21 Lucas Revano triumphing via a come-from-behind win against No. 24 Evan Barczak. With about 15 seconds left in the match, Revano was down 3-2 and was able to scramble for a takedown that put him up 4-3. Revano was able to ride his way to the win that put the Quakers up 12-0.
“I think Lucas Revano’s come-from-behind win, the late third period takedown was really gutsy,” Reina said. “I think once we got that in the back, then things really started swinging our way.”
Goldin, additionally, continued his success this weekend, coming up with a fall early in the 285lb. bout at 1:22. Penn was able to hold on to the lead and come away with its third consecutive win.
"We’re rivals and have spirited competition with the dual meet in the same conference, and yet at the same time, we partner really to grow wrestling throughout the city of Philadelphia," Reina said "So it's a special kind of rivalry.”
The Quakers now have one more EIWA conference meet on Sunday, Feb. 20 at American University before they head to EIWA Championships in two weeks.