Penn Claims Battle of the Cheesesteak Wrestling Trophy Defeating Drexel

The Quakers Win 35 – 8 Getting Victories in 8 Matches

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/13/2022 –

A special and unique rivalry when the University of Pennsylvania and Drexel meet on the mat in collegiate wrestling. Both schools share 33rd Street in University City. Both schools train together. Both schools share the promotion of wrestling in the area. The travel distance for the visitor is a few short city blocks by foot. They are friends. And the winner get the Abner’s Cheesesteak Trophy. Penn wins the trophy winning 35 – 8 over Drexel in an exciting meet at the Palestra for both squads.

“It’s a great rivalry,” said Penn Coach Roger Reina about wrestling with Drexel. “They’re rivals, spirited competition in the dual meet, in the same conference. At the same time we partner to grow wrestling in the city of Philadelphia. That’s a special kind of rivalry.”

The meet began with the 149 pound weight class, and momentum of the meet quickly turned in the favor of the Red and Blue when Kaya Sement registered a pin over Tyler Williams with 9 seconds remaining in the first period.

“Kaya Sement who was filling in and won by a fall in the opening match gave us good momentum,” Reina said.

Penn followed that with a win by nationally ranked (#20) Doug Zapf 8 – 3 over (#32) Parker Kropman, also nationally ranked. Number 21 Lucas Ravano of Penn got a late takedown to beat #24 Evan Barzak 4 – 3.

“Lucas Ravano’s come from behind win with that late third period takedown was gutsy,” Reina thought. “Once we got that in the bank things really started to swing our way.”

Drexel got its first win over the meet at 174 pounds when Mickey O’Malley just beat the horn to get a pin in the first period over Nick Incontrera.

Antrassian in Red and Blue, McLaughlin in Blue

In the most entertaining match Neil Antrassian (Ranked #31) of Penn and Bryan McLaughlin battled to the end. In a match where 27 points were scored Antrassian got a late takedown for two critical points outlasting McLaughlin 15 – 12. Points were coming fast and furious. Antrassian kept his focus and intensity during the match.

“I just think about wrestling hard for seven minutes,” Antrassian said. “That’s what my coaches talk about. Not a lot of people want to wrestle hard for seven minutes. The way we train, we can wrestle hard for a full seven minutes. If you can do that, committing to scoring points for seven minutes, you’re going to have a good chance of coming out on top.”

The Red and Blue won the next two matches when Cole Urbas won by technical fall over Santino Morina at 197 and Ben Goldin registered a pin with 1:38 to go in the opening period defeating Liam Dietrich of Drexel. That win clinched the trophy for the Red and Blue.

The lighter weights took to the mat. Ryan Miller won 8 – 3 at 125 pounds over Antonio Mininno.

Drexel got another one in the win column at 133 pounds. Jaxon Maroney scored a takedown and back points against Kelly Dunnigan to gain a 7 – 4 come from behind win.

Drexel forfeited the 141 pound weight class. The Dragons also lost a point for unsportsmanlike conduct.

The 18th ranked Quakers improve to 7 – 2 overall, 7 – 1 in the EIWA. The Red and Blue is 4 – 1 in the Ivy League.

Drexel drops to 5 – 8 and is 4 – 4 in the EIWA.

Both teams have one dual meet remaining. Penn goes to American U. next week. Drexel travels to Rider on Friday.

Then the sports trends towards the individual as the EIWA Championships and NCAA Championships loom in March. The Quakers feel ready.

“We’re on the right track to peak at the right time,” Reina said. “That’s one of the keys for being successful in the post season. Making sure that physically and mentally you’re peaking at the right time. I feel we’re right on track, a good journey to peak in March.”

“I’ve gotten stronger as the season has gone on, and am waiting for that final push,” Antrassian said.

NOTES: Prior to the meet Penn honored their 8 seniors. Neil Antrassian, Grant Arnoff, Greg Bensley, Jake Hendricks, Willy Kaiser, Blair Orr, and Josh Swanson who were celebrated for their dedication to Penn Wrestling over the last four years. This class was the first full recruiting class by coach Roger Reina in his return to the University.

Penn has ten wrestlers who are nationally ranked. Drexel has three on their roster.

Drexel and Penn are partnering on hosting the 2025 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Philadelphia.

Written By: Glenn Papazian


Cheesesteak Trophy Goes to Penn

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