Drexel wrestling returned with mixed results Nov. 12-13 at the DAC. The opening weekend saw them split their homestand of matches against Franklin & Marshall on the 12th and against Pittsburgh on the 13th.
They got the season started on the right foot after coming out victorious over the F&M Diplomats, 25-10. The Dragons won seven of the 10 matches on the evening en route to their victory. Among the Drexel winners of their respective matches were Joseph Booth, who recorded a major decision in the 165-weight class, and Austin Sommer, who pinned F&M’s Eric Norgard in 5:47.
Through the 165-pound weight class, Drexel had won five of the first six matches and controlled most of the way. The Diplomats won back-to-back matches in the 174 and 184-pound weight classes before Drexel then took the final two matches and the dual match overall.
After the win, the Dragons went right back to action hours later. With little turnaround time, Drexel hosted the 17th-ranked Pittsburgh Panthers early Sunday afternoon.
This time, the matchup saw Drexel on the wrong side of seven of the 10 matches. The Dragons won the first decision, a narrow victory by Booth over Pitt’s Tyler Wilps, only to drop three in a row and five of the next seven decisions.
All three of the Dragon victories were by wrestlers who had won the day before. The weekend saw the trio of Frank Cimato, Booth and Kyle Frey win their second matches in as many days. Head coach Matt Azevedo was pleased with their performances, among others on the team.
“Frank Cimato came out with good intensity and was able to score fall in the first period,” Azevedo said. “This is what we want and expect from our team. It was nice to see Frank with that kind of urgency.
“I was also happy that Joe Booth and Kyle Fry were able to score bonus points for the team.”
All things considered, Azevedo found it to be a positive weekend, but one that can be improved upon going forward.
“I am very pleased with the team’s effort this past weekend,” he said. “They showed that they can battle with top competition. Now, we just need to be able to pull out the close matches.”
After the split, the Dragons will be away from the DAC for over a month, beginning with a tournament in Ithaca, N.Y. next weekend. Drexel will participate in the Cornell Body Bar Invitational Nov. 19, along with a slew of other teams.
They’ll have a week off in between matches this time, and Azevedo will look for a high level of intensity going into the tournament. It’s something he has identified early in this season but something he would like to see the team maintain.
“We need our team to keep their intensity level high for seven minutes,” he explained. “If we can do that, we have a chance to win a lot of matches. I hope we continue to be aggressive in all areas.”
Last year in the same tournament, Drexel struggled and finished in 10th place with 33 points, topping only Sacred Heart. As the host, the Big Red wrestling team took the top spot after racking up 134 points, three first-place winners and four second-place finishers. The tournament will last all day Saturday. Azevedo sees it as a good test for his team in the young season, especially against national opponents.
“We will have the opportunity to wrestle a lot of nationally ranked opponents this weekend,” he said. “It should be a good measuring stick for our guys.”
Look to see where the Dragons measure up against some of the other teams in the nation after their visit to Ithaca.