PHILADELPHIA - The biggest win of Harrison Cook's freshman season helped propel Penn to a 22-13 win over Columbia on Sunday. The rookie came through with a 6-4 decision over senior Cary Aldrich at 184 pounds to give Penn a 19-10 lead with two bouts remaining. Cook's classmate Micah Burak followed with an 8-5 decision at 197 to lock up the win for Penn.
The wins from the two freshmen helped offset losses by two of Penn's ranked wrestlers - No. 9 Cesar Grajales and No. 18 Gabriel Burak - which helped close the gap in the middle of the dual. The Quakers had staked themselves to a 13-0 lead after the first three matches, but the Lions came back with three wins of their own to bring the score to 13-10 after 165. No. 17 Scott Giffin regained momentum for the Red and Blue with a 10-4 win over Stephen West at 174, but the lack of bonus points kept the dual in limbo.
Cook fell behind in his bout early after Aldrich scored a takedown at 0:43. Cook eventually worked the escape, regaining neutral position at 1:20. In the second period, Cook blazed out from bottom just five seconds in to square the match. He then took the lead at 4:15 with his first takedown of the match. Cook was able to lock in a cradle, but did so too close to the buzzer to score backpoints or the fall. In the third period, Aldrich escaped at 5:44 to climb within one. Cook responded with a second takedown at 6:06 as he countered an Aldrich attempt with a go-behind for the two points. Aldrich escaped at 6:41, but it was not enough to change the outcome.
Micah Burak followed with the clinching win for the Quakers. Burak was able to get in on single legs throughout the match, scoring three times with similar shots. Burak really opened up in the third period, escaping at 5:14 and then coming back with a takedown at 5:51 to turn a 2-1 lead into a 5-1 advantage. Columbia's Lou Miller escaped at 6:14, but Burak was right on him again at 6:36 for two more points. Burak senses possible bonus points and cut Miller, but Miller turned a Burak shot against him for a takedown late. Burak escaped for the final 8-5 score.
Mark Rappo started off the dual with a thrilling 5-3 decision at 125 pounds over Kyle Gilchrist. Rappo scored first with a takedown at 1:46, shooting low and pulling Gilchrist back towards the mat near the edge for the score. Gilchrist answered with a reversal at 2:06 to even the bout. In the second period, Rappo chose bottom and escaped at 3:15. In the third, Gilchrist followed suit with an escape of his own at 5:12. It looked like someone would take control of the match around 6:15 as both men fought through a scramble on the edge of the circle, but no score as they went out of bounds. Finally, Rappo scored the deciding takedown at the buzzer, collecting the two legs right before the final second ticked off.
The Quakers finish Ivy League competition Feb. 20 at Princeton at 1 p.m. Penn is back at The Palestra on Feb. 21 at 1 p.m. against No. 8 Lehigh.
Penn def. Columbia, 22-13
125 - Mark Rappo (Penn) def. Kyle Gilchrist (Columbia), 5-3; Penn leads 3-0
133 - Bryan Ortenzio (Penn) def. Andrew Grabfelder (Columbia), 10-0; Penn leads 7-0
141 - Zack Kemmerer (Penn) wins via forfeit; Penn leads 13-0
149 - Steve Santos (Columbia) def. No. 9 Cesar Grajales (Penn), 7-3; Penn leads 13-3
157 - Jake O'Hara (Columbia) def. Troy Hernandez (Penn), 10-1; Penn leads 13-7
165 - Eren Civan (Columbia) def. No. 18 Gabriel Burak (Penn), 7-3; Penn leads 13-10
174 - No. 17 Scott Giffin (Penn) def. Stephen West (Columbia), 10-4; Penn leads 16-10
184 - Harrison Cook (Penn) def. Cary Aldrich (Columbia), 6-4; Penn leads 19-10
197 - Micah Burak (Penn) def. Lou Miller (Columbia), 8-5; Penn leads 22-10
285 - Kevin Lester (Columbia) def. Tyler Blakely (Penn), 7-2; Penn leads 22-13