It was a sobering weekend for the wrestling team (6-6, 3-5 EIWA), which dropped a pair of Ivy League dual meets at Princeton (9-2, 9-2 EIWA) and Penn (6-6, 5-4 EIWA).
On Friday night, the Lions leapt out to a 16-7 lead, but couldn’t survive a strong Princeton finish. The Tigers won two major decisions and a decision in the last three bouts to eke out an 18-16 win.
If the Lions had won one more bout at Princeton, they could have put the meet away. But first-year Markus Scheidel, who leads the team with 21 wins, gave up a pivotal victory when he lost a 5-3 decision at 157 pounds to Princeton’s Kevin Moylan, and sophomore Zach Hernandez, a stalwart this season at 184 pounds, was dominated in a 11-2 major decision.
Head coach Carl Fronhofer said Hernandez’s bout had been uncharacteristically sloppy, ruining a matchup that might have been much closer.
“It’s a toss-up at 84 [184 pounds], and we just wrestled really, really silly,” Fronhofer said. “We just made three huge errors in the match that you normally don’t make. It just was a bad match.”
Scheidel and Hernandez were two of three Columbia wrestlers who came into the weekend having won seven consecutive bouts. Along with No. 16 junior Shane Hughes, whose hot streak continued this weekend, the two had been the foundation of the Light Blue’s recent five-meet winning streak. But the foundation fell away this weekend.
Less than a day after narrowly losing to Princeton, the Light Blue was blown out, 24-10, in Philadelphia.
Against the Quakers, Scheidel and Hernandez lost again, along with every other Lion except Hughes and sophomore Angelo Amenta.
Hughes delivered a fall at 174, and Amenta came up with an 11-2 major decision at 133, but the bonus points were of little use to the Lions after they lost the other eight bouts. Seven of the eight Columbia losses were within two points, adding up to a frustrating defeat for a Light Blue team that had put a scare into No. 4 Cornell in Ithaca a week before.
Columbia will try to salvage a winning season next weekend, when Ivy League rivals Harvard and Brown come to New York.