PHILADELPHIA – The days leading up to a Penn-Lehigh wrestling match are often filled with the coaching staff and veteran members of the team educating the new guys on just how combustible the rivalry is.
It’s territorial. It’s prideful. It matters.
On December 1, the Quakers loaded up a bus to Bethlehem with maybe more confidence than they had in recent trips to its storied Keystone State rival. The Red and Blue felt underappreciated and underrated. They were ready to shake things up.
Six hours later, the young crop of Quakers had taken care of business – and the No. 21 Mountain Hawks – to the tune of a 24-12 win, silencing what is usually a boisterous and hostile Grace Hall crowd. That moment comes in at No. 7 on this year’s “Penn Top 10” which chronicles the 10 best moments from the Quakers this season.
Head coach Rob Eiter picked up his first win at Lehigh as skipper of the Quakers, watching his charges win seven of ten bouts. The Red and Blue secured their first victory at Lehigh since 2007 without its best wrestler – 2012 All-American Micah Burak was out of the lineup with an injury which would shelve him until early January. Canaan Bethea – the regular starter at 184 pounds – would step up a weight class and deliver a come-from-behind 3-1 win at 197 to clinch the win.
Senior Mark Rappo started the dual in fine fashion, pinning his opponent in 1:05 to add six huge team points to the cause. That win was one of four in a row to start the day. Andrew Lenzi capped the 15-0 run to start the dual with a 3-2 win over defending EIWA champion and 19t-ranked Shane Welch.
After the Mountain Hawks notched a major decision, it was a true freshman who came through for the Quakers in the form of Casey Kent. The Pennsylvania native scored a takedown with five seconds remaining to rally past No. 17 Eric Hess, 4-3, to give Penn an 18-4 lead and Penn would cruise to its first road win over a ranked opponent since a 20-13 win at No. 24 Penn State in 2009. The next day, the Quakers would create a little Penn history with a win over Hofstra – the first time in program history that Penn defeated Lehigh and Hofstra in the same season.
The 2012-13 Penn Top 10 list was selected by members of the athletic department. But here is your chance to weigh in. Was this game ranked too high or too low? Who should be No. 1? Tell us what you think on Twitter with #PennTop10 or give us your thoughts on Facebook.
2012-13 Penn Top 10
No. 1 - July 17
No. 2 - July 15
No. 3 - July 10
No. 4 - July 8
No. 5 - July 3
No. 6 - July 1
No. 7 - Wrestling Upends #21 Lehigh, 24-12
No. 8 - Sprint Football Thriller(s)
No. 9 - Historic Basketball Comebacks
No. 10 - Men's Lacrosse Rolls Past #14 Duke, 14-9