February 4, 2002

Wrestlers Fall to No. 8 Penn

Print More

A weekend without upsets is usually a good thing for the 25th-ranked Cornell wrestling team. This weekend however, it meant a loss to No. 8 Penn and possibly an Ivy title.

In what stands as the most important dual meet for the Red year in and year out, Cornell fell to the rival Quakers 21-9 at the Palestra. Either Penn or Cornell has won or shared the Ivy wrestling title every year since 1987.

“No one was really able to pull off an upset,” said head coach Rob Koll. “Good teams find a way to win these matches, and this weekend we didn’t.”

The weekend started off better for the Red than it finished however, with a victory over the Tigers of Princeton. While Princeton is not often a challenge for Cornell, it made life difficult for a Cornell squad that might have been looking ahead to Penn the next day.

The match ended up 21-14, a little closer than expected, although Cornell wrestled without a number of its starters.

“Princeton was very frightening,” Koll mentioned with regards to the match. “We didn’t wrestle very well.”

Regardless, the team left New Jersey with a win, thanks to the work of junior Gabe Webster and sophomore Scott Roth. The grapplers’ convincing victories put Cornell up 13-7, a lead they would keep for good.

Cornell’s problem at Penn was an inability to garner the upsets. Junior co-captain Clint Wattenberg wrestled well enough to get a win, as did sophomore Matt Greenberg. Yet when Penn’s big guns came up, No. 11 Matt Feast, No. 8 Matt Lenhard, No. 10 Joe Henson, No. 9 Josh Henson and No. 2 Yoshi Nakamura, each delivered wins for the Quakers.

“We couldn’t upset anyone,” Koll said. “We needed something extra and we didn’t have it. Maybe it would have helped being at home.”

However, it was Penn’s turn to be at home, and coming off a close 16-15 loss to the Red last year, the Quakers were obviously out for revenge.

At this point though, it will be the Red searching for revenge. With Easterns coming up soon, Cornell will be looking for redemption against the talented Quakers.

“We’re a young team, but we don’t have time to wait for these guys to mature,” Koll said. “We need to grow up quick.”

The squad will get its next chance to mature against in-state rival Columbia on Saturday at home.

Archived article by Charles Persons