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Senior Lucas Revano during Penn wrestling's meet against Iowa on Dec. 1. Credit: Agustinus Porajow

In a daunting matchup against a top opponent where it managed to keep up throughout, Penn wrestling lost to No. 3 Iowa 22-13 to open their dual meet season. 

It was a tough, gritty match from beginning to end. Despite the advantage Iowa held by intermission — leading the Quakers 12-3 — Penn managed to hold its own, bringing the meet to as close as 16-13 before falling by decision in its last two matches. It was a meet where, despite it being early in the season, the Red and Blue left it all on the mat.

“I think we faced one of the best teams in the country,” junior Nick Incontrera, the No. 10 wrestler in the country for the 174-lb weight class, said. “For the most part, we stood toe to toe with every match.”

Penn’s first and only points before intermission came off of a decision by senior Michael Colaiocco — the No. 8 wrestler in the country for the 133-lb weight class — as he defeated Hawkeyes redshirt freshman Jace Rhodes. Iowa’s pre-intermission points came off of narrow decisions, with their largest victory coming from Real Woods, a redshirt senior who is ranked No. 1 nationally in the 141-lb weight class. He won by decision against junior CJ Composto, the No. 11 ranked wrestler in the same class, by a score of 5-0.

Colaiocco spoke on how he and the team prepared for a matchup against such a tough opponent in Iowa compared to others.

“Personally, and as a team, I think we prepare the same way,” he said. “You know, every match we want to put our best foot forward, and we don’t wrestle the singlet. We don’t wrestle the name. The way I like to think about it is, I’m wrestling a nameless face, and I’m going to go out there and wrestle as hard as I can and perform to the best of my ability.”

Following intermission, senior Lucas Revano would struggle against the Hawkeyes’ Michael Caliendo, the No. 6 wrestler in the 165-lb division. Penn would then see key victories from two other wrestlers: a major decision from Incontrera, and the lone submission of the match forced by junior Maximus Hale, the No. 32 wrestler in the country for the 184-lb weight class. These brought the score to within three before freshman Martin Cosgrove and senior Cole Urbas — who made his season debut in the 285-lb class — would lose by the decision to close out the meet. 

Afterwards, Colaiocco praised the team’s effort while looking ahead at what’s in store.

“I think overall … we’re happy with our effort," he said. "We’re happy with our fight. And I think what’s really going to help us move forward is going back and watching film, adjusting our technique, adjusting our practices, to improve in the areas that we saw deficiencies in today.”

Incontrera echoed these sentiments, stating how this is only the beginning for the Quakers.

“It’s tough. We have to go back, watch film, see what we did wrong, but there’s progress and we’ll improve. This is December 1. March is the end goal, so there’s a lot of time in-between to get better.”

The Quakers hit the mats next on Dec. 3 in the Patriot Open, where they’ll be joined by five top-25 teams.