PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/1/2014 – The University of Pennsylvania wrestling team looked to bounce back after a dual meet loss to Army. The Quakers also looked for a win that would mark the second-ever win over a Top Five team since defeating #3 Iowa State on January 17, 2013. It would have to happen against the #4 Cornell Big Red. It did not happen for the Red and Blue as they could not win a match against the Big Red losing 32 to minus 1. Penn was in the minus point total as the were given two bench warnings resulting in a team-point deduction.
Coach Rob Eiter felt the team competed, but parts of the matches went against the Quakers which caused the final result.
“We came out with a much better attitude and fight,” Eiter said. “We were a hundred times better than last week. Unfortunately, we were wrestling a top-five team. That’s your rebound team, and it’s Cornell. Little, tiny mistakes were really the factor in the match. Those minor things are what matters in a match like this. There were some close matches. You don’t get a takedown and now you are down three. You tend to get a little excited and do uncharacteristic things that you would not do in a two to one match.”
Two ranked Penn wrestlers had a chance to put a match in the win column, but in matches those ‘little things’ Eiter referred to went in the direction of Cornell. In the 165 pound match #17 Casey Kent of the Red and Blue scored a neutral to tie the match at a point each in
the third period against #10th ranked Dylan Palacio. Kent went for a single-leg pick up, got the leg, and was ready to trip Palacio to get the two-point takedown. Kent hurried to get the winning points, but Palacio was able to turn it and takedown Kent with 15 seconds left to earn a 4 – 2 win. Penn 184 pounder Lorenzo Thomas, 13th ranked, fell victim to a late takedown losing to #2 Caleb Dean 7 – 5. The same fate awaited Penn heavyweight Steven Graziano who gave up a late takedown losing his match to Jacob Aiken-Phillips 3 – 1. Graziano led the match 1 – 0 after two periods. He was the only Penn wrestler to hold a lead the entire day.
In the first six matches Cornell had ranked wrestlers take the mat, started by top-ranked Nahshon Garrett at 125 pounds. Penn would have to win some of the matches to engineer the upset, but did not. Garrett won a 10 – 2 major decision against Caleb Richardson of the Red and Blue.
“I knew that sets the tempo, but slowly but surely the energy leaves the room as they steal those matches where we had a good shot at competing,” Eiter said.
The Quakers are now 4 – 5 in dual meets while Big Red is 8 – 0. Penn readies for a New England trip next weekend for duals against Harvard and Brown. It will be the next chance for Penn to get their needed bounce back win.
“We have to,” Eiter said. “They are tough matched as Cornell is the top and we are the metric other teams use to measure against. We have a good young group. They are on the fence now.”
125: #1 Nahshon Garrett (Cornell) MD Caleb Richardson (Penn), 10-2 Cornell leads, 4-0
133: #14 Mark Grey (Cornell) dec. Ken Bade (Penn), 7-3 Cornell leads, 7-0
141: #5 Mike Nevinger (Cornell) dec. Jeff Canfora (Penn), 6-0 Cornell leads, 10-0
149: #8 Chris Villalonga (Cornell) MD Andrew Lenzi (Penn), 9-1 Cornell leads, 14-0
157: #7 Brian Realbuto (Cornell) dec. Steve Robertson (Penn), 4-2 Cornell leads, 17-0
165: #10 Dylan Palacio (Cornell) dec. #17 Casey Kent (Penn), 4-2 Cornell leads, 20-0
174: Duke Pickett (Cornell) dec. Brad Wukie (Penn), 7-1 Cornell leads, 23-0
184: #2 Gabe Dean (Cornell) dec. #13 Lorenzo Thomas (Penn), 7-5 Cornell leads, 26-0
197: Jace Bennett (Cornell) dec. Frank Mattiace (Penn), 4-0* Cornell leads, 29 – (-1)
285: Jacob Aiken-Phillips (Cornell) dec. Steven Graziano (Penn), 3-1 Cornell leads, 32 – (-1)
*Penn had one team point deducted at 197 following a second bench warning
Written By: Glenn Papazian