PHILADELPHIA – With wins in three consecutive dual meets, the University of Pennsylvania wrestling teams enters its first Ivy League dual meet of the season on a bit of a hot streak, and will need every ounce of that momentum in order to successfully navigate meets at Princeton (January 30, 4 p.m.) and at home against Rider (January 31, noon) to close out the month of January.
Setting the Stage …
After a loss to No. 10 Lehigh to open the dual meet slate, Penn has rattled off three comfortable wins in a row against EIWA opponents to enter the weekend with a 3-1 record. The Tigers enter the weekend with a 2-4 record in dual meets, including losses in their last three meets.
In terms of common dual meet opponents, both the Quakers (27-10) and Tigers (33-3) lost to Lehigh, while Penn defeated Binghamton (24-9) and Princeton was defeated by the Bearcats, 18-15.
Rider is 6-8 in dual meets, including a 26-12 loss to Lehigh.
Penn’s Probable Lineup
125: Jeremy Schwartz (1-8)
133: Caleb Richardson (14-7)
141: Marc Mastropietro (6-9) or A.J. Vindici (5-9)
149: No .10 C.J. Cobb (17-2)
157: No. 20 May Bethea (15-7)
165: Ray Bethea (8-5) or Brooks Martino (9-7)
174: No. 17 Casey Kent (17-4)
184: No. 12 Lorenzo Thomas (19-4)
197: Joe Heyob (11-5) or Frank Mattiace (12-8) or Robert Ng (4-7)
285: Patrik Garren (10-7)
Princeton’s Probable Lineup
125: Pat D’Arcy (12-9)
133: Trey Aslanian (1-8)
141: Jordan Laster (13-7)
149: Chris Perez (9-3)
157: Adam Krop (0-0)
165: Judd Ziegler (14-10)
174: No. 14 Jonathan Schleifer (13-5)
184: No. 19 Abram Ayala (11-7)
197: No. 11 Brett Harner (20-2)
285: Ray O’Donnell (16-7)
Rider’s Probable Lineup
125: Zach Valcare (2-12)
133: Robert Deutsch (10-5)
141: Paul Kirchner (13-10) or Jimmy Morris (3-11)
149: No. 18 B.J. Clagon (11-10)
157: No. 12 Chad Walsh (17-5)
165: No. 20 Conor Brennan (18-2) or Curt Delia (4-3)
174: Wayne Stinson (9-12)
184: Michale Fagg-Davies (14-9)
197: Ryan Woulfe (18-8)
285: Mauro Correnti (10-8) or Greg Velasco (1-5)
The All-Time Series …
Saturday is the 111th meeting all-time between Penn and Princeton on the wrestling mats. Penn is 51-54-5 over the course of the rivalry that dates back more than a century. In more recent history, though, the Quakers have had the better of the series. Penn has won the last 24 meetings dating back to 1992, and is 26-1 against the Tigers since 1989.
The series against Rider is in its nascent stages, the two teams have met just six times – and all of the meetings have come since 2002. Penn is 5-1 all-time against the Broncs, but that loss was a 21-12 defeat in Lawrenceville last season. The Quakers are 3-0 all-time against Rider in The Palestra.
Ivy League Competition Opens…
Both Penn and Princeton begin the Ivy League portion of their season on Saturday in Dillon Gym. While Cornell has had control of the Ivy League of late with 13 consecutive Ivy titles, Penn has been solidly in second place. Since 2003, Penn is 49-16 in Ivy League duals with a 49-3 record inside the Ivy League when not competing against the Big Red.
Penn vs. Princeton…
This year, he Quakers and Tigers have only crossed paths at the season-opening Bearcat Open in Binghamton. The major match to keep an eye on from that tournament was between No. 17 Casey Kent and No. 14 Jonathan Schleifer at 174 pounds. In the semifinals, Kent dropped a narrow 4-3 decision to Schleifer. Also in the semifinals of that tournament, Frank Mattiace was clipped by No. 11 Brett Harner, 15-5.
At 149 pounds, No. 10 C.J. Cobb will likely square off with Chris Perez for the fourth time in their careers. Cobb owns a 2-1 overall record, including a 6-1 win in the dual meet last year, but Perez won their most recent bout – a 3-1 decision at the EIWA Championships last March.
Another duo with some history are the big fellas. Patrik Garren and Ray O’Donnell split two meetings last season – Garren with the win in the dual meet and O’Donnell with a decision win at EIWAs.
No. 12 Lorenzo Thomas and No. 19 Abram Ayala have not met as collegiate wrestlers, but will add a second Top-20 matchup to the dual meet. Thomas, who recorded his 100th career win last weekend, is 19-4 this season and will be wrestling his seventh Top-20 opponent of the season. He is 2-4 in those previous matches.
Last year in the dual, Penn won six bouts to claim a 19-12 victory despite an upset loss for Lorenzo Thomas to Harner. There are three likely rematches on Saturday – Richardson vs. Aslanian, Cobb vs. Perez, and Garren vs. O’Donnell. Last year, Penn won all three of those matches.
Penn vs. Rider…
It is likely that all eyes will be on the middleweights on Sunday with marquee matches scheduled at 149 and 157 pounds. Last year, No. 10 C.J. Cobb and No. 18 B.J. Clagon split a pair of matches. Cobb won a grueling 4-2 match in second sudden victory at the dual, but Clagon scored a 5-3 decision in the Round of 12 at the NCAA Championships to earn All-American honors.
At 157 pounds, No. 20 May Bethea defeated No. 12 Chad Walsh, 10-8, in overtime of the championship match at the Southern Scuffle earlier this season.
Last year, a Rider team which was ranked No. 25 defeated the Quakers in the dual meet, 21-12. Penn stormed to a 9-0 lead through three matches, but lineup issues at the bigger weights and a forfeit at 125 allowed the Broncs to snag the win. Outside of Cobb vs. Clagon, the only likely rematch is between Caleb Richardson and Robert Deutsch. The two have met three times over their careers, with Deutsch owning a 2-1 record in the series. Earlier this season, Deutsch scored a 3-1 win in overtime at the Keystone Classic. None of their three meetings have been decided by more than two points.