PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania wrestling team’s final home meets of the season played out much like one of the romantic comedies that Valentine’s Day is known for – a series of struggles and pitfalls, but in the end a happy ending.
After a tough loss in the final match with Columbia sent the Quakers to a 19-16 loss to the Lions, Penn rallied from an early 12-3 deficit to Bucknell with wins in five consecutive matches for a 19-18 win over the Bison to close out Senior Day.
No. 15 Casey Kent, No. 15 Lorenzo Thomas and Frank Mattiace each won two matches in the final Palestra action of the season. Against Columbia, the trio helped Penn take a 16-15 leading into heavyweight. Versus the Bison, they capped a five-match run which put Penn comfortably ahead, 19-12, with just one bout remaining.
Bucknell picked up major decisions in three of the first four matches to stake itself to a 12-3 lead, but the Bethea Brothers got the band back together to kickstart Penn’s comeback. First, it was May Bethea with a 6-5 decision over Zach Kelly. Trailing, 4-3, after two periods, May escaped and the scored a takedown for the win. Up next was the return of his big brother, Ray. In his final Palestra bout, Ray scored two takedowns against Robert Schlitt – one in the first period and one in the third – for a 5-3 win.
In the only matchup of ranked opponents, No. 15 Casey Kent took down No. 20 Rustin Barrick in the first period and rode him out. In the second, Kent rode for almost a minute more. That three-plus minutes of riding time was the difference as Barrick found a takedown as time expired but fell, 4-3.
Penn’s only bonus points against the Bison came from Lorenzo Thomas in a 13-5 major decision over Thomas Sleigh. The first period ended with the score tied, 3-3, off takedowns for each wrestler, but Lorenzo Thomas has a takedown to four backpoints in the second to break open the match. A takedown in the third locked up the major decision – and ultimately the team score.
The win for Thomas led into a gutty win from Frank Mattiace to secure the team victory. Tied, 1-1, late in the third period, Mattiace scored a takedown with less than ten seconds remaining to knock off Tyler Greene and put Penn ahead by seven points.
The Quakers needed every point of that seven-point cushion thanks to a pin from No. 8 Joe Stolfi at heavyweight. Patrik Garren had the better of the opening moments with a takedown, but Stolfi would reverse before the end of the first period. Stolfi would then add a takedown in the second and worked the fall from a restart in top position.
A big swing at 133 pounds against Columbia was the deciding moment in that dual as Caleb Richardson found himself pinned from neutral against Angelo Amenta. The match was scoreless in the first period, and off of a Richardson shot Amenta was able to gain some leverage and pin Richardson at 2:36.
The fall negated a great start from Penn via a Jeremy Schwartz win at 125 pounds. Trailing late, Schwartz scored a takedown in the final 0:20 for his first dual meet win of the season. After the fall, Penn regained some momentum with a major decision from Marc Mastropietro over Joe Moita, 12-4. Mastropietro had five takedowns in the win.
The Lions won the next three matches, highlighted by a 4-3 win by Markus Scheidel over May Bethea at 157 pounds. Bethea had the first takedown, but Scheidel was able to escape. In the second period, a late takedown for Scheidel and his ability to stay on top was the difference.
After a 9-3 decision for Tyrel White at 165 pounds, the Quakers would win the next three matches to take a 16-15 lead after 197. Casey Kent had two takedowns and 3:00 of riding time lead to a 7-3 win over Zack Hernandez. Lorenzo Thomas scored two takedowns and a reversal, adding a stalling point and riding time but unable to get any bonus points over Mike Fetchet. Frank Mattaice would connect on two takedowns to knock off Troy Hembury, 5-1.
The Lions would snag the win via a major decision from Garrett Ryan at heavyweight over Garren, 9-1. Ryan scored three takedowns in the bout for the deciding victory.
Columbia defeats Penn, 19-16
125: Jeremy Schwartz (Penn) DEC Britain Carter (Columbia), 4-3 Penn leads, 3-0
133; Angelo Amenta (Columbia) FALL Caleb Richardson (Penn), 2:36 Columbia leads, 6-3
141: Marc Mastropietro (Penn) MD Joe Moita (Columbia), 12-4 Penn leads, 7-6
149: Dan Reed (Columbia) DEC Eric Friedman (Penn), 6-3 Columbia leads, 9-7
157: Markus Scheidel (Columbia) DEC May Bethea (Penn), 4-3 Columbia leads, 12-7
165: Tyrel White (Columbia) DEC Brooks Martino (Penn), 9-5 Columbia leads, 15-7
174: No. 15 Casey Kent (Penn) DEC Zack Hernandez (Columbia), 7-3 Columbia leads, 15-10
184: No. 15 Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) DEC Mike Fetchet (Columbia), 8-1 Columbia leads, 15-13
197: Frank Mattiace (Penn) DEC Troy Hembury (Columbia), 5-1 Penn leads, 16-15
285: Garrett Ryan (Columbia) MD Patrik Garren (Penn), 9-1 Columbia leads, 19-16
Penn defeats Bucknell, 19-18
125: No. 11 Paul Petrov (Bucknell) MD Jeremy Schwartz (Penn), 10-2 Bucknell leads, 4-0
133: Caleb Richardson (Penn) DEC Grim Gonzalez (Bucknell), 4-3 Bucknell leads, 4-3
141: Tyler Smith (Bucknell) MD Marc Mastropietro (Penn), 13-5, Bucknell leads, 8-3
149: Victor Lopez (Bucknell) MD Eric Friedman (Penn), 10-0 Bucknell leads, 12-3
157: May Bethea (Penn) DEC Zach Kelly (Bucknell), 6-5 Bucknell leads, 12-6
165: Ray Bethea (Penn) DEC Robert Schlitt (Bucknell), 5-3 Bucknell leads, 12-9
174: No. 15 Casey Kent (Penn) DEC No. 20 Rustin Barrick (Bucknell), 4-3 Match tied, 12—12
184: No. 15 Lorenzo Thomas (Penn) MD Thomas Sleigh (Bucknell), 13-5 Penn leads, 16-12
197: Frank Mattiace (Penn) DEC Tyler Greene (Bucknell), 3-1 Penn leads, 19-12
285: No. 8 Joe Stolfi (Bucknell) FALL Patrik Garren (Penn), 4:41 Penn leads, 19-18
The Quakers close the dual meet season on February 20 at Drexel, taking on the Dragons for the Abner’s Cheesesteak Trophy at 6 p.m. at The DAC.