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Penn men's wrestling traveled to Kansas City, Missouri from March 21-23 for the NCAA wrestling championships.

Credit: Nathaniel Sirlin

The national collegiate wrestling championships began on Thursday and were scheduled to last three days, but by Friday afternoon, no more members of Penn wrestling were left standing in either the winners’ or consolation tournament bracket. 

The Quakers left Kansas City, Mo. with a team ranking of 37 out of 63 programs that attended the competition. Penn State yet again led the pack nationally, earning a third consecutive first-place team finish at the event and cementing its program's dominance in American collegiate wrestling.

With eight wrestlers representing Penn across eight different weight classes, the Red and Blue competed in all but two sections of the tournament. Seniors Michael Colaiocco, Lucas Revano, and Cole Urbas wrestled in the 133, 157, and 197-pound divisions, respectively. Despite all three exiting the winners’ bracket in the first championship round, Revano and Urbas each claimed a victory in round one of the consolation-seeded matches before exiting the competition entirely.

Freshman Jude Swisher, competing in the 149-pound class, earned a victory over The Citadel’s Jeffery Boyd in the preliminary round of the consolation bracket, before losing to Wisconsin’s Joseph Zargo in the first official consolation round. Although he suffered an early exit in the winner's division, Swisher ended his season with a first-career national championship qualification and a victory on the biggest stage of collegiate wrestling — rare achievements for a freshman.

After a strong performance at the EIWA Championships, junior Nick Incontrera looked to build on his momentum, entering the NCAA tournament ranked top 15 nationally in the 174-pound weight division. In the first championship round taking place on Thursday morning, Incontrera, the 10th seed, defeated Luca Augustine, the 23rd seed, out of Pittsburgh. Incontrera set the standard for Penn in Kansas City, being the only Quaker to earn a victory in a winners’ bracket round.

On the back of this success, Incontrera fell short in the second championship round, losing to Ivy League rival Lennox Wolak of Columbia. The latter would go on to finish sixth in the 174-pound weight class after sending Incontrera to the consolation bracket. Columbia trailed only Cornell among the Ancient Eight, with the Big Red finishing second overall in the team rankings, trailing only Penn State.

Incontrera was placed in the second consolation round, matched up against Andrew Sparks of Minnesota. The Penn junior defeated Sparks in a 8-4 decision, advancing to the third round. At this stage, Incontrera’s run would come to an end with a 13-8 defeat to Army West Point’s Benjamin Pasiuk. The junior will look to get further into the championship bracket next year after displaying signs of growth and leadership this past season.

The Quakers regressed slightly from the standards they set at last year’s tournament. With multiple key wrestlers graduating, it remains to be seen what the program’s future has in store. Regardless, underclassmen like Swisher have shown signs of promise and ability. With leaders like Incontrera, constantly refining technique and maturing in both the mental and physical aspects of the sport, entering their senior year, Penn Wrestling will look to tighten the gap with its Ivy League competitors in the 2024-25 campaign.