Philadelphia The Penn wrestling team lost a heartbreaker to EIWA rival Lehigh, 21-16, and defeated Ivy League foe Princeton, 52-0, on Sunday afternoon in The Palestra. The Quakers led by senior Dustin Wiles overtime win and junior Matt Valenti’s pin won four matches against the 15th- ranked Mountain Hawks, including two by bonus points. The Red and Blue dominated their Ancient Eight opponents winning all their matches by bonus points en route to recording its second shut out of the season.
Valenti moved into a tie for sixth all-time in wins at Penn with a win by forfeit against the Tigers. The junior has 96 victories at Penn which ties him with Brian Butler. Valenti leads the Quakers in wins this season with 26.
“This is what it’s all, getting out their and battling hard,” Head Coach Zeke Jones said after the Lehigh match. “The guys knew they needed to compete hard and they did. Valenti came out on the mat with a lot of energy and gave the team momentum and Dragon come through big as well. It as nice to see a senior like (Dustin) Wiles get the win in overtime in his last match.”
In the first dual of the day, Penn lost a tough battle at 125 pounds. Senior Mike Silengo fell behind 9-0 early against Matt Frisk and battled back with two takedowns and two nearfall points to make it, 9-6. Two stalling warnings on Frisk pulled Silengo within one, but the clock would run out before Silengo could score. And Lehigh took an early 3-0 lead.
Valenti put the Quakers on top 6-3 by pinning John Stout in 1:45. Valenti took Stout down and turned him to his back and held him for the call. A major decision for No. 3 Cory Cooperman over Cesar Grajales at 141 pounds gave the Mountainhawks a one-point advantage. Freshman Matt Dragon shutout No. 16 Matt Ciasullo, 13-0, and put bonus points on the board. At 157 pounds junior Gene Zannetti won his match against Trevor Chinn, 10-6, and Penn took a 13-7 lead.
Lehigh’s Troy Letters made his return to the mat against Penn’s Andrew Coles. Letters, the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the nation, was out since December with an injury and won by major decision, 10-2.
The next two matches took overtime to decide. Lehigh won the first No. 12 Travis Frick over No. 13 Matt Herrington, 3-2 in double ot and Penn took the second Dustin Wiles beat No. 19 David Helfrich, 7-3. At 174 pounds, neither wrestlers scored in the first period. In the second, Herrington escaped in two seconds and cut Frick loose in the third. Neither team scored the rest of the third period or in the first overtime. Frick chose top first and held Herrington down during the 30-second period. Frick escaped during his 30-second period and held off Herrington’s shots for the win. At 184 pounds, Helfrich was hit with a stalling warning, but no one scored in the first period. Wiles chose bottom to start the second and escaped. Helfrich was hit with a stalling warning, giving Wiles a penalty point. In the third, Helfrich started on bottom and escaped. He then took Wiles down, but Wiles escaped to tie the match. Wiles took Helfrich down in the overtime section and turned him for two nearfall points.
Senior Paul Velekei lost a close match at 197 pounds to No. 16 Matt Cassidy. Each grappler escaped from bottom, but it was a takedown late in the third period that was the deciding factor. With the win, Lehigh held a one-point lead heading into the last match. Senior Paul Weibel defeated freshman Jack Sullivan, 17-4 to give the Mountainhawks the win.
Against the Tigers, Penn won all 10 matches. The Tigers forfeited at 133 and 141 pounds and the Quakers took the rest by bonus points. Silengo, Dragon and Wiles won by fall, while Veleki and Zannetti won by technical falls and Herrington, Coles and Sullivan earned major decisions.
The Quakers finish the 2005-06 season with a 11-5 overall mark and a 4-1 Ivy League record. Penn will have almost two full weeks to gear up for the EIWA Championships March 4 and 5 at Lehigh University. Tickets are still available for this event and can be purchased by calling 215-898-6151.
No. 22 Penn 16, No. 15 Lehigh 21
125 No. 13 Mike Silengo lost to Matt Fisk, D:9-8
133 No. 9 Matt Valenti def. John Stout, F:1:45
141 Cesar Grajales lost to No. 3 Cory Cooperman, MD: 12-3
149 No. 19 Matt Dragon def. No. 16 Matt Ciasulli, MD. 13-0
157 Gene Zannetti def. Trevor Chinn, D: 10-6
165 Andrew Coles lost to No. 3 Troy Letters, MD: 10-2
174 No. 13 Matt Herrington lost to No. 12 Travis Frick, D: 2-1 2OT
184 Dustin Wiles def. No. 19 David Helfrich, D: 7-3 OT
197 Paul Velekei lost No. 16 Matt Cassidy, D: 3-1
285 Jack Sullivan lost to Paul Weibel, MD: 17-4
No. 22 Penn 52, Princeton 0
125 Mike Silengo def. Robert Benitez, F: 4:31
133 No. 9 Matt Valenti won by forfeit
141 Cesar Grajales won by forfeit
149 No. 19 Matt Dragon def. Andrew Sichel, F: 2:14
157 No. 19 Gene Zannetti def. John Clore, TF: 25-10
165 Andrew Coles def. Martin Everin, MD: 19-6
174 No. 13 Matt Herrington def. Matt DeNichilo, MD:16-6
184 Dustin Wiles def. Logan Lowe, F: 4:26
197 Paul Velekei def. Gordon Scharf, TF: 19-4
285 Jack Sullivan def. Kris Berr, MD: 11-1