The Drexel University wrestling team had a good showing at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships. Both redshirt junior Brandon Palik and senior Frank Cimato earned their place in the NCAA Championships. Palik took first place at the CAA Championships, while Cimato took second place in his division.
The Dragons headed to Boston to compete in the CAA Championships March 9 at Boston University. At 197, Palik had the most impressive performance of the tournament for the Dragons. In his first bout he earned an 11-0 major decision over Old Dominion University’s Jacob Henderson. He followed that with possibly his biggest victory of the year, defeating the fourth-ranked wrestler in the country in Nathan Schiedel of Binghamton University to take the CAA title.
At 141, team captain Cimato is another Dragon who stood out at the championships. Cimato earned two victories at the tournament, including a 3-2 win over George Mason University’s Sahid Kargbo and an 11-10 decision against Hofstra University’s Luke Vaith. In his match against Vaith, Cimato came from behind and took down the Hofstra wrestler with only five seconds left to secure the victory and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. In his final match, Cimato was bested by Old Dominion’s Chris Mecate but still took second place.
Although Palik and Cimato were the only Dragons to earn spots in the NCAA Championships, two other Drexel wrestlers still had some success. Both Kevin Matyas and Bryan Sternlieb won decisions at the tournament but fell short of earning an NCAA bid. Despite falling in his first bout, Matyas won in wrestle-backs against George Mason’s Seth Robertson at 174 to progress to the consolidation semifinals before falling 3-2 to Boston University’s Kyle Czarnecki.
Bryan Sternlieb won his first match with a major decision over George Mason’s Ryan Hembury. Sternlieb progressed to the semifinals at 184 before falling in a 5-4 decision to Rider University’s Ryan Wolfe.
Other Drexel wrestlers who competed in the CAA Tournament included Jacob Goodwin, Jordan Hart, Joshua Yurasits, Austin Sommer, Connor Moran and Jon Max Wright. While these Dragons were unable to register any victories in the tournament, there were many hard-fought and close matches.
Both Palik and Cimato will return to the mats March 21 when they will travel to Des Moines, Iowa, to compete for an NCAA title. The tournament will last until March 23.