February 7, 2003

Grapplers Hit Road

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The No. 6 wrestling team is on the road this weekend, as it takes on the Columbia Lions tonight at 6:00 p.m., and the No. 5 Lehigh Mountain Hawks tomorrow at 1:00 p.m.

Last weekend, the grapplers defeated the Princeton Tigers, and defending Ivy champion Penn with scores of 35-9 and 23-10, respectively. The win over Penn was the team’s first in the new Friedman Center, and saw seven grapplers earn wins. The Princeton match saw eight team members notch wins, as well as a major decision from sophomore Travis Lee.

Columbia is a young team which sports only two seniors. Paving the way, however, are four national high school place-winners including the No. 18 174-pounder Matt Palmer. He is currently the only ranked member on Columbia’s squad.

Columbia has also been trying to find its way as of late, recently dropping dual meets to Penn and East Stroudsburg. Two wrestlers, including Palmer, have been moving between weight classes to pick up wins. Dan Green could pose a challenge in the 125-pound match, but has been streaky as of late. Green finished fifth last year in the EIWA and he also narrowly held onto a win over Penn’s Mike Silengo.

Having won its past nine dual meets, Lehigh sports a deeper roster than Columbia.

Besides being No. 5 in the nation, the Mountain Hawks also boast seven nationally-ranked wrestlers, with six of them taking places in the top ten of their respective weight classes.

Leading the way are junior All-American Jon Trenge, and sophomore Troy Letters. Both recently won their NWCA matches, with Trenge upsetting the former No.1 Muhammad Lawal in the 197-pound matchup. Letters is currently ranked third at 165 pounds.

Not to be outdone, Cornell also boasts its own nationally-ranked group. Senior tri-captain and All-American Clint Wattenberg recently defeated No.1 Jessman Smith in the 184-pound NWCA matchup. Freshman standout Dustin Manotti also took part in the classic, earning good experience during a close match with No. 4 Jake Percival of Oklahoma. Sophomore All-American Travis Lee is Cornell’s third ranked team member, currently No. 2 at 125 pounds.

Tomorrow’s 184-pound match will feature Wattenberg versus No. 10 Travis Frick. The Lehigh freshman most recently lost to Greg Parker of Princeton, but currently has a 15-5 record.

Tonight’s match is part of a celebration of 100 years of collegiate athletics. Columbia, home to the oldest wrestling program in the nation, held the first ever dual meet with Yale in 1903. Former coaches, athletes, and supporters are expected to attend this weekend’s event.

Tomorrow’s match, being dubbed as Lehigh’s biggest dual of the year, is also Jon Trenge bobblehead day. The first 500 fans will take home a miniature version of the All-American. The match will also be broadcast live on Lehigh’s website, as well as on DirecTV at channel 628.

Archived article by Matt Janiga