Legendary Dick DiBatista Honored by Lower Merion High School
University of Pennsylvania and National Wrestling Hall of Famer Dick DiBatista was heralded for his accomplishments on the mats on Feb. 4 as Lower Merion High School named its wrestlingfacility in his honor. DiBatista, 84, was honored during a special ceremony at his alma mater before Lower Merion's meet against rival Harriton High School.
Grapplers' Club Newsletter - Winter 2005
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Reina Reaches Milestone
Head Coach Roger Reina reached a career milestone against Columbia on Jan. 28 as he earned his 200th victory as head coach of the Red and Blue. In his 19th year at the helm of the Quakers, he has held the position longer than any other in program history and his wins are more than double of any of his predecessors. Out of the six current Ivy League coaches, only Brown’s Dave Amato (323-197-3) has more career victories.
Matt Feast Eclipses the Century Mark
Senior Matt Feast joined exclusive company on Dec. 29 as he became the fifth wrestler in Penn history to record 100 victories in his career. Feast notched his historic win during the first round of competition at the 2004 Midlands Championships by defeating Iowa’s Chad Barkalow, 3-1. The two-time All-American took Barkalow down in the first 50 seconds of the bout and recorded an escape in the third to secure the win.
Feast, with 111 decisions, currently stands in third place in all-time wins behind two-time All American and NCAA Champion Brett Matter (128) and two-time All-American Yoshi Nakamura (115). He has already surpassed two-time All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay (110) and two-time All-American Rick Springman (109).
He’s Back! Mason Lenhard Returns to the Mat After a Two-Year Hiatus
It had been a little more than two years since the last time Mason Lenhard had stepped on the mat. Injuries and surgery had sidelined the Parma, Ohio native stopping a young, burgeoning career in its tracks. Despite being small in stature, Lenhard made his presence known in a big way for the Red and Blue. Ranked as high as sixth in the nation in 2002, he qualified for the NCAA Championships, took third at the EIWAs, captured the Keystone Classic and Penn State Open crowns and compiled a 25-8 record during his sophomore campaign. As a freshman, he won the 2001 EIWA Championship at 125 lbs., was named the Ivy League Co-Rookie of the Year and a first-team All-Ivy selection. The following year Lenhard continued his success.
As the 2004-05 season rolled around, Lenhard, his coaches and his teammates were anxious to see what he could do after his two-year hiatus. And he truly did not disappoint as he opened the season with a 4-0 record. Wrestling in his first event of the season, Lenhard capture his third Keystone Classic title. He met up with Rider’s Ryan Smith in the championship and was involved in one of the most exciting bouts of the day. In the final minute of the third period, Lenhard recorded a reversal and a near fall to overtake Smith, 8-7.
Lenhard’s success continued as he advanced to the quarterfinals of a tough 125 lbs. field at the Las Vegas Invitational. He also picked up a victory at the 2004 Midlands Championships. In his first dual meet of the season against Purdue, Lenhard picked six points the easy way as his opponent forfeited. Two days later at Central Michigan, Lenhard found himself up against No. 14 Luke Smith. The two grapplers battled into five overtime periods, but it was Smith who came away with the 3-2 decision on an escape. Lenhard currently posts a 3-2 record in duals so far this season.
“It's terrific to have Mason back on the mats for Penn,” Head Coach Roger Reina said. “He is taking some time to round into form, but is making steady progress and gaining confidence each week. He maintains phenomenal ability, quickness and balance.”
There is no doubt that the rust has begun to shake off and, as the dual meet season, heats up Lenhard is ready for the challenge.
-Written by Kelly McCarthy, athletic communications assistant
Making the Most of an Opportunity: Dustin Wiles is Earning a Name for Himself
When Dustin Wiles came to Penn in 2002 he found himself in an opportune situation. Two-time All-American Rick Springman had just wrapped up his 109-win career leaving an open space at 174 lbs. For Wiles, who had grown out of his recruited 165 lbs., was ready for the challenge of moving up a weight class. Joining Wiles in the quest, however, was fellow freshman Matt Herrington. Both were in the nation’s top-recruiting class, Herrington was the nation’s top-recruit. Both were two-time state champions, Wiles in Missouri and Herrington in New York. Both were Cadet National Greco-Roman and Junior National All-Americans. Both had dominated their opponents in high school. The two battled for starting rights, but it was Herrington who got the nod.
Wiles continued to work hard and made the most of his rookie season going 6-6. The next season, he continued his diligence on the mats as he improved. So when Herrington, an NCAA qualifier as a rookie, went down with an injury midway through the 2003-04 season, Wiles was ready. Splitting time with senior Greg Hallahan, Wiles compiled 11-5 record, pinning five opponents, andwas undefeated in Ivy League action.
As Wiles entered this season, he knew that Herrington would not be competing and the starting job was as good as his. He understood that he needed to step up and show everyone what he was capable of. So far this season Wiles has been taking full advantage of the opportunity and is making his presence known. He is 16-7 so far this season and leads the team in pins (4) and is second on the team behind senior Matt Feast with 39 takedowns. He also upset the No. 10 wrestler in the country Paul Siemeon of Hosftra.
“Dustin is very physically and mentally tough, wrestles a very high pace, and is very determined to excel,” said Head Coach Roger Reina.
Wiles opened the year with back-to-back third-place finishes at both the Brockport Oklahoma Gold and the Keystone Classic. He advanced to the quarterfinals of the Las Vegas Invitational and to the quarterfinals of the Midlands Championship. Against No. 14 Central Michigan, Wiles took 11th-ranked Mitch Hancock down to the wire, but was edged 8-7, the difference a riding time point. As he continues to improve, Wiles is poised to crack the top-25 by the end of the season.
“Dustin is beginning to break out and prove he can wrestle with the best in the nation,” Reina said. “He’s gaining valuable experience in national level events, and with two months to go before the post-season tournaments has good time to continue making improvements.”
Wiles commitment and dedication to the program has allowed him to sharpen skills and compete with the best. He’s making the most of his opportunity now and there’s no telling what the future will hold.
-Written by Kelly McCarthy, athletic communications assistant
Download: Winter 05 Newsletter.pdf