Stage is Set for the 101st EIWA Championships

Thirteen Going on 42 - Thirteen schools will compete in the 101st edition of the EIWA Championships – American, Army, Brown, Columbia, No. 13 Cornell, East Stroudsburg, Franklin & Marshall, Harvard, No. 5 Lehigh, No. 21 Navy, No. 23 Penn, Princeton and Rutgers. Columbia and Penn are the only two schools that have competed in all 101 EIWA Championships. Each schools individual competitors are vying for 42 invtiations in the NCAA Championships. The top-three in each weight class will receive an automatic bid, while 12 other berths will be voted on by the coaches.

Scouting the No. 23 Quakers - The Quakers (9-4, 4-1 Ivy League, 5-2 EIWA) closed the regular season by winning five of its last six duals. Penn is led by senior heavyweight Matt Feast who sports a 24-3 overall record, an 8-1 mark in duals and is a perfect 5-0 in the EIWA this season. Feast, ranked sixth in the nation, leads the team with 62 takedowns. Behind Feast is junior Dustin Wiles at 174 lbs. Wiles has a 21-9 overall record, 8-3 in duals. He is tied for the team lead in falls with four and is second in takedowns with 57. No. 16 Doug McGraw returned to the Quakers midway through the season and is 10-2 overall with a 6-2 mark in dual meets.

The Quakers have two defending EIWA Champions in Feast and McGraw and a past EIWA Champion in senior Mason Lenhard. Feast has taken the crown at 285 for the past two seasons while McGraw etched his name in the record books by winning the 141 lbs. title last season. As a freshman, Lenhard captured the EIWA at 125 lbs. Penn also has an NCAA qualifier in senior Marcus Schontube. Schontube, who placed second at EIWAs last season, is 20-12 on the year and is third on the team with 38 takedowns.

Penn and the EIWA - The Red and Blue has had success in the EIWA with four team titles. Since 1996, Penn has produced the most EIWA individual champions with 30, and has had 59 NCAA qualifiers. Lehigh is next with 21 EIWA champions and 56 NCAA qualifiers. Last season, the Quakers finished second at the 100th EIWA Championships, crowning three, including two-time champion Matt Feast at heavyweight. Matt Valenti won his first EIWA title after he defeated Lehigh’s Mario Stewart, 8-2, at 125 pounds and Doug McGraw defeated Lehigh’s Cory Cooperman, 10-8 in overtime, at 141, also to claim his first EIWA title.

Scouting the Field - With five nationally ranked programs, the competition will be fierce. Cornell and Lehigh sit atop the EIWA as the teams to beat. The Big Red (12-4) boasts five top-10 wrestlers in No. 2 Travis Lee (133), No. 1 Dustin Manotti (149), No. 9 Joe Mazzurco (174), No. 8 Tyler Baier (184) and No. 10 Jerry Rinaldi (197). Lee will be aiming for his fourth EIWA title and, if successful, would be just the eighth wrestler in EIWA history and first member of the Big Red to complete the feat.

The Mountain Hawks on the other hand, went a perfect 7-0 against EIWA competition and notched a 21-4 regular season record. They have a pair of number ones in Troy Letters (165) and Jon Trenge (197) and five others ranked in the top-20 – No. 6 Matt Ciasulli (133), No. 5 Cory Cooperman (141), No. 9 Derek Zinck (157), No. 6 Travis Frick (174), and No. 18 Paul Weibel. Letters and Trenge each will be seeking their third EIWA individual title.

Army (14-3) and Navy (11-5) have come on strong this season and will challenge for EIWA bragging rights. Navy has several nationally ranked grapplers in Sam Gray (133), Nate Gulosh (141), John Cox (149) and Tanner Garrett (285) and have nine ranked in the top-six in the EIWA.

Army, knotted with Penn for fourth in the EIWA, have seven ranked among the top-six in the EIWA and three ranked nationally. Senior Phillip Simpson, ranked third in the country, will challenge for the 149 lbs. title, while No. 15 Luke Calvert will make a run for the 184 crown. Simpson won the 141 title two seasons ago.

American’s Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov has been the biggest surprise this season. The 157-pounder is ranked sixth in the nation and first in the EIWA. The junior who hails from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, joined the Eagles this season after an impressive junior college career where he won consecutive national titles at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas and posted a 57-4 record in

that time.

Also look for Harvard sophomore Robbie Preston, ranked 16th in the country, make a run at the 125 lbs. title. Heavyweight Bode Ogunwole, ranked seventh, will look to upset two-time defending champ Matt Feast for his first EIWA title.

The Hosts with the Most - In the 101-year history of the EIWA Championships, Navy has hosted the event seven times, last hosting in 2000. The Mids have won two EIWA Championships while being the host school in 1974 and 1984. The host institution has won the EIWA title 18 times in competition history. Lehigh has the most host wins with six while Cornell has done it three times. Penn and Princeton have each done it once. Former EIWA member Penn State did it four times while Yale completed the task once in 1909.

More on the Hosts - Out of the 13 current EIWA members, five – American, Brown, East Stroudsburg, Harvard and Rutgers – have never hosted a championship. Four schools have yet to host a championship this decade. Army has not hosted a championship since 1999, Franklin & Marshall since 1986, Princeton since 1987, and Columbia since 1941.

Penn and the Ivy League - Cornell clinched its third-consecutive Ivy League title on Feb. 12 by defeating Harvard, 36-6, while Penn finished as the runner-up with a 4-1 mark. For the past 11 seasons, the battle for Ancient Eight supremacy has been fought between the Big Red and the Quakers. The Red and Blue have been a prominent force in the League, earning a 55-6-1 record, six outright titles and two shared. Cornell is next on that list going 51-8-1 with three outright and two shared titles.

Climbing the 100-Win Ladder - Senior Matt Feast is quickly moving up Penn’s all-time wins list as he currently stands alone in third with 111 career victories. The two-time All-American won all four of his matches last weekend to surpass two-time All-American Rick Springman (109) and two-time All-American and Olympic Gold Medalist Brandon Slay (110). If his success continues, Feast is poised to surpass two-time All-American Yoshi Nakamura who is second all-time with 115 wins. Two-time All-American and NCAA Champion Brett Matter leads the way with 128 victories. Feast became the fifth wrestler in program history to notch 100 victories on Dec. 29, 2004 recording his historic win during the first round of competition at the 42nd Midlands Championships by defeating Chad Barkalow of Iowa, 3-1. The two-time All-American took Barkalow down in the first 50 seconds of the first period and recorded an escape in the third to secure the win.

Penn Among the Top-25 - The Red and Blue has been ranked among the top-25 all season long and are currently ranked 25th in the USA Today/National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) poll. The Quakers have finished ranked in the top-25 for the past eight seasons. In 2002, Penn was ranked a program-high eighth at the end of season.

Roger Reins Supreme - Head Coach Roger Reina, the winningest coach in program history, recorded his 200th career victory on Jan. 28 at Columbia. Reina, in his 19th season, has held the position of head coach longer than any other in program history and his win totals are more than double of any of his predecessors. Reina’s guidance has produced 15 winning seasons in the past 19 years. Out of the six current Ivy League head coaches, only Dave Amato of Brown has more career victories, amassing more than 320 wins in 27 seasons, with more than 260 of those coming in 21 years at the helm of the Bears.

After serving for two years as an assistant coach under Larry Lauchle, Reina was named head coach in 1986, making him the youngest Division I head coach in the nation at the time. Since taking over the reigns, Reina has elevated the program into one of the most consistently successful in the country.

Under Reina’s tutelage, the program has achieved unprecedented success on both a regional and national level. Reina’s teams have consistently produced nationally-ranked results and individuals who have achieved national success. The Quakers have also established multiple institutional, Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association and Ivy League records.

In developing Penn into a nationally-recognized program, Reina has brought a resurgence to Penn wrestling on all fronts, including recruiting multiple nationally-ranked recruiting classes, overall development of Penn wrestlers in both collegiate and international styles, highly successful fundraising efforts and a commitment to national and international success. His teams have continually set school records, including most team and individual wins (36) in a season.

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