PHILADELPHIA No. 14 Penn got bonus points in four matches, including a pair of quick falls from Matt Herrington and Rollie Peterkin, as the Quakers rolled past Ivy foe Harvard, 28-12, Saturday afternoon at The Palestra.
Penn (6-5, 2-0 EIWA) fell behind early but got a huge momentum shift from Herrington at 174, who put the Quakers out in front for good with his 39-second pin, the fastest fall by a Quaker this year. The distinction didn’t last long - Peterkin bested his senior teammate with a 35-second pin in the meet’s final match to put an exclamation mark on the win.
“Getting wins under our belts gives us some confidence,” said Head Coach Zeke Jones. “It was great for guys like Jack Sullivan, Ben Reiter and even Lior Zamir to get those big wins.”
The meet started at 133 with the highly-anticipated rematch of last year’s EIWA final between No. 2 Matt Valenti and No. 13 Robbie Preston. After a slow start, Valenti started down in the third and got into a scramble, reversing Preston and turning him for two. Valenti rode out the period and earned the bonus point in the 5-1 win.
Harvard picked up its first win at 141 with No. 16 Max Meltzer defeating Brett McCurdy, 5-4, in an exciting bout. Meltzer got his scoring on two takedowns and an escape, and McCurdy tried to score a final late takedown to win but was unable to score before the final buzzer.
Harvard kept on winning at the middle weights with No. 6 J.P. O’Connor pinning Brian Spangler in 2:07 and No. 10 Andrew Flanagan beating No. 14 Matt Dragon, 11-4, at 157.
Penn got a huge momentum boost at 165 and 174 pounds, first when No. 17 Zack Shanaman turned in his third major decision in three duals with his 16-5 win over Frankie Colletta and then when No. 9 Matt Herrington came out and pinned Fred Rowsey in just 39 seconds. Those two wins put Penn out in front, 13-12, with four bouts to go.
Penn kept rolling at 184 pounds. In a heated battle of nationally-ranked wrestlers, No. 14 Lior Zamir beat No. 13 Louis Caputo, 3-2. With the match scoreless, Zamir started down in the third period and nearly got turned, but he stood up, circled out and reversed Caputo to take a 2-0 lead. Caputo earned a point with 40 seconds left and another with five seconds remaining on Zamir stalling warnings to make it 2-2, but Zamir had riding time locked up and won 3-2.
Jack Sullivan tacked on another victory with his 12-6 win over Jonathan Butler at 197. Sullivan dominated from the get-go, taking down Butler immediately and never letting up, accumulating 3:34 of riding time to give Penn a 19-12 win.
The Quakers caught a break at heavyweight with No. 2 Bode Ogunwole out of the line-up for Harvard, and Ben Reiter took full advantage with a 9-5 win over Andrew Knapp.
Peterkin put the icing on the cake, coming out with a quick takedown into a three-point near-fall on Ryan Fitzgerald before rolling his opponent up again and scoring the pin 35 seconds into the match.
Penn returns to action next Friday for a showdown at No. 16 Cornell at 7 p.m.
Penn 28, Harvard 12
133 #2 Matt Valenti (P) def. #13 Robbie Preston; D, 5-1
141 #16 Max Meltzer (H) def. Brett McCurdy; D, 5-4
149 #6 J.P. O’Connor (H) def. Brian Spangler; F, 2:07
157 - #10 Andrew Flanagan (H) def. #14 Matt Dragon; D, 11-4
165 - #17 Zack Shanaman (P) def. Frankie Colletta; MD, 15-6
174 - #9 Matt Herrington (P) def. Fred Rowsey; F, 0:39
184 - #14 Lior Zamir (P) def. #13 Louis Caputo; D, 3-2
197 Jack Sullivan (P) def. Jonathan Butler; D, 12-6
285 Ben Reiter (P) def. Andrew Knapp; D, 9-5
125 Rollie Peterkin (P) def. Ryan Fitzgerald; F, 0:35