The Columbia wrestling team competed in three matches this weekend at University Gym, but emerged with only one win. The Lions suffered losses to both Penn and Drexel, but were able to vanquish Princeton in between the dropped matches.
On Saturday, the Lions (2-11, 1-2 Ivy) suffered a painful 6-32 loss to Penn (11-5, 4-0 Ivy) in their homecoming match. The Quakers, who currently rank first in the Ivy League, made winning look easy as they won six of eight matches.
The day began with honoring Columbia seniors Kenji Porter and Sal Tirico. However, the joyful ceremonial occasion didn’t match the event’s upsetting outcome.
Columbia realized its opponent’s tremendous strength and agility as soon as the first match between the Lions’ Kevin Tao and the Quakers’ Rollie Peterkin commenced. Peterkin, who is ranked 11th nationwide, shutout Tao 15-0 to earn his team five points.
From there, the Lions’ efforts proved futile until sophomore Eren Civan was able to break the losing stretch by defeating Quaker Andrew Coles at 165 pounds. The matchup almost ended in Penn’s favor as Coles took a 2-1 lead into the third period. However, the resilient Civan managed to knot the score at two and force overtime on an escape. With a mere 16 seconds left in overtime, Civan pummeled Coles for a takedown and the win.
Only heavyweight sophomore Ryan Flores experienced the same success as Civan. Flores wrestled senior Trey McLean and, despite a sizeable height and weight disadvantage, Flores was unfazed and won the match 9-6. The tight contest stood at a score of 7-6 in Flores’ advantage well into the third as McLean stalled for a point. Nevertheless, Flores engineered a powerful takedown with one second remaining in regulation time for the win. Though Flores improved his win streak to 15, Columbia dropped the contest for its third consecutive loss.
Entering their first competition against Princeton on Sunday, the Lions remained composed despite their loss to Penn. The Tigers have not fared well this season and traveled to the Empire State looking to break a nine-game losing streak. Most recently, Princeton was annihilated by Cornell, 0-54 and Brown, 3-41.
Columbia’s Kyle Gilchrist started his team off on the right track by defeating Princeton’s Robert Benitez 17-1 on a technical fall. Lions Andrew Grabfelder and Shane Strumwasser, at 133 and 144 pounds respectively, proceeded to force their opponents to forfeit. Princeton regained some composure by winning the following two matches, making the score 17-6 Columbia.
The Lions’ confidence never wavered as they continued to pick up wins from Civan and Mike Wolfer. Though Kenji Porter lost in a decision to Princeton’s Kirt Brendel, 4-7, at 184 pounds, Lou Miller beat Tiger Zach Morse 10-3 and heavyweight Ryan Flores once again dominated, pinning Stephen Turner in 1:33.
Columbia won its first match of the day’s double-header with a final score of 32-9, marking its first Ivy victory of the season.
The Lions, however, were unable to maintain their momentum against Drexel (8-14-1) as they dropped the competition 14-21. The Dragons came out of the gate with a bang as Michael Gomez’s late take-down of Tao gave him a 6-4 lead and the win. But Columbia’s Andrew Grabfelder also earned a major decision defeating Frank Cimato, 15-2, to put his team on the board.
The two teams seemed evenly matched as they traded outcomes until midway through the match. Drexel’s Scott Hunter’s sudden death victory over Civan was the start of a four-match win streak for the Dragons. In the day’s final match, heavyweights Ryan Flores and Kyle Frey faced off and, once again, Flores conquered his competitor, pinning him in 2:55.
The Lions will continue conference play on the road this weekend against Harvard on Friday and Brown on Saturday.