#15 ranked 133 lber Michael Colaiocco (photo courtesy of Sam Janicki; SJanickiPhoto.com)
The Penn Quakers released their wrestling schedule this morning, and boy, it's a good one! Let's look at some dates I am excited about that you should add to your calendar.
Sunday, November 21st - The Keystone classic will resume this year after last year's COVID-hiatus. The 26th annual classic will continue with nine total teams. Campbell of the SoCon is this year's new addition. The Quakers will be looking to repeat as champions over incoming Keystone Classic competitors such as Appalachian State, Rider, and George Mason, plus familiar foes from the EIWA in Franklin and Marshall, Sacred Heart, Drexel, and Harvard.
Friday, December 3rd - The Penn State Nittany Lions will be coming to town, along with their four returning national champions. During the 2019-2020 season, Penn took on the returning champs in their home gym in State College, PA. This year, Penn State will travel to the Palestra. Coach Reina was excited for this match as it will be a "good test early in the season to see where our team is at." Penn State has a large following, so get tickets to this one early if you plan to be in attendance. Coincidentally, two of the four coaches on Penn's staff are Penn State alums (Bryan Pearsall and Mark Hall).
Sunday, January 9th - Oregon State will travel to the City of Brotherly Love to wrestle both Drexel and Penn on the same weekend, actually the same day. Pretty interesting to travel nearly 3,000 miles to wrestle one team, then literally walk 3 blocks to wrestle the other team. The Oregon State Beavers are slowly improving under second-year head coach, Chris Pendleton and staff.
Sunday, February 6th - A unique event, in which Cornell will bring both their wrestling and gymnastics team to the Palestra in Philadelphia. Penn and Cornell will have a wrestling dual meet simultaneously with the gymnastics meet, calling it a "Rumble & Tumble" event. This has been done before by other programs, but not very often. What a great way to display some of the most underappreciated athletes in all of sports.
The one-of-a-kind Cheeseteak Trophy
Sunday, February 13th - The friendly Drexel-Penn Rivalry will battle for the Cheesesteak Trophy, which may be the coolest trophy in all of wrestling. Drexel has had the honor of showcasing the trophy on their campus for the past 5 years. The match is always high in attendance, competitive, and most importantly, competitive! These guys train in the off-season with the Pennsylvania Regional Training Center - causing so much familiarity between athletes. Expect this dual to be a thriller, coming down to the last match.
Looking further down the line, for those of you who prefer to plan at least a year ahead of time, the EIWA Conference Championships will be held at Penn in March of 2023. The year 2025 will be a huge year for wrestling in Philadelphia, as Penn and Drexel will co-host the NCAA D1 Championships. The last time the event was held here was in 2011. After 16 cities put in bids to host in 2025, Philadelphia was chosen. The Wells Fargo Center and greater Philadelphia area better be ready for the wrestling fans to ascend in March of 2025.
Here is the full schedule.