With the turning of the leaves and the air becoming crisper, Penn wrestling is ready to hit the mats with hopes for a season as strong as last year's.
In the 2022-23 campaign, the Quakers went 9-5 overall and 8-1 against Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) teams, a mark that they will look to build on. In the first national poll released by the National Wrestling Coaches Association on Tuesday, Penn was ranked No. 22 in the country.
Penn is returning plenty of talent this season, as seniors Cole Urbas and Michael Colaiocco, as well as junior Nick Incontrera, who all competed at the NCAA championships in Tulsa, Okla. last season, will look to return to the national stage once again. Colaiocco, in particular, will be looking to compete in his fourth consecutive NCAA championships, ending what has been a consistently successful collegiate career on a high note.
On the flip side, a freshman class that includes Andrew Connolly, Zach Delsanter, and John Vinciguerra will each look to bring something to the mat this season, particularly with a lack of depth in several heavyweight classes on the roster this year. Senior John Stout and sophomore Matthew Cruise will both provide mentorship and experience this season, as Cruise won the heavyweight title at the Messiah Open last season and Stout won a big decision during the PRTC Keystone Classic.
In terms of tournament play, Penn’s wrestling season starts with Wrestle-Offs on Nov. 4, followed by the Journeymen Collegiate Classic on Nov. 12. The Red and Blue will also look for high placement at the PRTC Keystone Classic, Patriot Open, Midlands Championship, and F&M Open through early January to set the team up for Ivy contests.
The Quakers will also be seeking to rebound from some of their tough losses last season. Iowa, Rutgers, Stanford, and Cornell accounted for four of Penn’s five dual meet losses last year: all four of these teams are set to feature in both this season’s schedule and the national rankings, with Iowa ranked No. 2 and Rutgers ranked No. 15.
Penn’s schedule also includes dual meets against non-conference opponents North Carolina and Morgan State. Conference dual meets will include Lehigh, as well as fellow Ivy League foes Columbia, Brown, Harvard, and Princeton.
The Quakers will round out their conference season with the EIWA Championships in Lewisburg, Pa. next March, where many wrestlers will seek berths in the NCAA Championships that will take place March 21-23 in Kansas City, Mo. But between now and then, Penn has a lot to build on, and should be set for plenty of success throughout this season.