The weekend road trips for Drexel University wrestling ended with mixed results. The Dragons had a strong performance Feb. 8 against Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., besting the Diplomats 27-9. The next dual, however, did not go as well for the team. The Dragons stumbled Feb. 10 in their conference match against Rider University in Lawrenceville, N.J., falling to the Broncs 26-12.
The Dragons headed into Lancaster looking to build on their impressive conference win against Boston University a week earlier. The night began with Jacob Goodwin winning a 5-4 decision to put the Dragons on the board first. The Diplomats answered by taking the next three matches, including a hard-fought match in which Frank Cimato fell just short. Austin Sommer got the Dragons going back in the right direction with a victory at 157, which was followed by a win by Connor Moran at 165 to tie the score at 9-9. Kevin Matyas gave the Dragons the lead with a vital performance in which he pinned Franklin & Marshall’s Colin Gironda.
After recapturing the lead, Drexel never looked back. The Dragons dominated their remaining matches. Bryan Sternlieb earned an 11-3 major decision at 184 while Brandon Palik added a tech fall at 197. Jon Max Wright put the final mark on the night with a 2-1 decision to solidify the Drexel victory.
“It was a good dual meet,” head coach Matt Azevedo said. “Both teams wrestled well, but we have the stronger team up and down the lineup.”
Following their impressive victory over Franklin & Marshall, the Dragons headed to Lawrenceville to take on conference opponent Rider. Drexel did not have the same success against the Broncs, as they struggled to get any momentum in the dual.
Jacob Goodwin started out the day in the right direction with a 9-7 decision to put the Dragons up 3-0. The lead did not last long, as the Broncs quickly tied up the score with a win at 133. Cimato followed the loss with a strong bounce-back performance. After falling in a hard-fought match two days before, Cimato took care of Rider’s Rob Cigna with a 17-2 tech fall to give Drexel an 8-3 lead. The team captain knew that it takes a strong mental focus to bounce back from a tough loss.
“I try not to let things bother me and just keep doing what I’ve been doing, knowing that I have the right skills and technique to win matches,” Cimato said.
Following Cimato’s win, things began to go south for the Dragons. Rider recaptured the lead with a pin from Curt Delia at 149 and took control of the match from then on. The Broncs took the next four matches at 157, 165, 174 and 184 before Palik earned an 11-2 major decision over Don McNeil at 197, which put the score at 23-12 in favor of Rider. Despite a strong performance by Wright, he was unable to put the Dragons any closer, as he fell in overtime at 285 to finish the dual.
“Their strongest wrestlers are probably where we are weakest, so they were able to run the score up on us and get bonus points, which make the difference in a close dual meet,” Azevedo said about Rider and the Drexel loss. “I think in a tournament we can beat Rider. In a pure individual contest we can beat them.”
The Drexel wrestlers will return home to the Daskalakis Athletic Center Feb. 15 for a Senior Night matchup against Rutgers University. The matches will begin at 7 p.m.