Penn wrestling coach Alex Tirapelle has tendered his resignation, Penn Athletics announced Wednesday morning.
No motivation was given for the sudden resignation, and an immediate successor was no announced.
It all comes down to this. For Penn wrestling, the entire season culminates in St. Louis when five Quakers will travel to the Scottrade Center for the NCAA Tournament.
The Quakers are hoping for a third all-American in the last four years.
You know all about Penn men’s and women’s basketball’s performances at the inaugural Ivy League tournament this weekend, but those teams were far from the only Red and Blue squads competing over a jam-packed spring break.
When the smoke cleared at the EIWA tournament, it turned out to be a hallmark performance for Penn wrestling and senior Frank Mattiace. The Quakers (6-8, 4-7 EIWA) did not end up with a high team score, but impressive individual performances led to four NCAA qualifications.
In a sport defined by pushing one’s mental and physical abilities to the brink, this weekend presents the greatest test in fortitude that Penn wrestling has faced all year. For this weekend, Penn will travel to Bucknell to compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships.
On Penn wrestling’s Senior Day in February 2016, then-senior 165-pounder Ray Bethea thought that it might be one of the last times he took the mat as a collegiate grappler. Yet, his wrestling career has managed to find one last year of life down south.
More than just an Eastern Intercollegiate WrestlingA league match, Penn wrestling [6-8, 4-6 EIWA)] welcomed Drexel [(13-6, 8-3 EIWA)] to the Palestra for a match to not only determine bragging rights for 33rd street but also for a cheesesteak.
Through hours of blood, sweat, and tears, athletes spend countless hours training and fine-tuning their skills in order to compete at the highest level when it matters most. After almost a season’s worth of preparation, Penn wrestling will compete in one final meet against Drexel this Sunday in what will be their final chance to iron out any wrinkles before the poignant EIWA and NCAA championships.
Penn wrestling has a lot to feel proud of after this weekend. With two comeback wins against Binghamton and Columbia in an EIWA triple-header, it’s clear the Quakers are never out of it until the last pin or decision of the final match.
Some Penn Athletics programs are given seven days between competition, but the wrestling squad will take on two opponents this weekend with only a four-hour break in between. Making things even more difficult, the Quakers (3-5, 1-4 EIWA) will welcome a pair of stellar teams in Harvard and Brown, two conference rivals that have given the team problems in the past.
With all due respect to the historic offensive outburst from Penn men’s basketball’s AJ Brodeur in his squad’s win at La Salle, Wednesday night can’t really be considered part of the weekend by any stretch of the imagination. So while the freshman’s epic performance is certainly worthy of respect, the efforts from wrestling’s May Bethea in his team’s EIWA doubleheader make him worthy of MVP honors.
One weekend after a signature win against the 17th-ranked Stanford Cardinal, Penn wrestling (2-4, 0-3 EIWA) would go on to face another ranked squad, this time visiting No. 7 Lehigh (8-1, 6-0 EIWA) in Bethlehem on Friday. Unfortunately, the magic would not continue for the Quakers, as the Mountain Hawks were victorious in all but two bouts on the day.
The match against Lehigh is important, but the Quakers still have to deal with Lock Haven in a match they can ill afford to lose. That affair is unique in its own right, with gymnastics simultaneously competing with wrestling in the Palestra. The event, set for Saturday at noon, is being dubbed “Beauty and the Beast.” While many other universities have put on similar events, Saturday marks the first time that such an occasion will take place in the Palestra.