PHILADELPHIA -- Wins in three of the final five matches, along with clutch bonus points in all three of those wins, were key to powering Columbia Wrestling (5-3, 5-2 EIWA/0-1 IVY) to a well-earned 19-16 Eastern Collegiate Wrestling Association road win at Drexel (6-8, 2-4 EIWA) on Friday, Feb. 7 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Columbia recorded wins from sophomore Joe Franzese (184), sophomore No. 29 Joe Manchio (125), first-year Angelo Rini (133), sophomore No. 27 Matt Kazimir (141) and first-year Kyle Mosher (157), with Rini, Kazimir and Mosher's wins all coming after the midway point of the match.
"We told the guys coming in that bonus points were going to be key and that this is what this dual was going to be," said John Huemer Assistant Coach of Wrestling Kyle Massey. "Going in we knew that we would need to take our opportunities when they were there, and we took those when we had them.
"Along with getting our own opportunities, we did a good job of eliminating those situations for Drexel, where we could have given up more points, but our guys stayed in the fight and we did a great job in that aspect. Overall it was a good test for the guys to face a tough match and get a solid win against a good team within our conference so that we could see where we are at."
HOW IT HAPPENED: The match opened up at 174 pounds, with first-year Lennox Wolak taking on Drexel's Michael O'Malley, and early on O'Malley looked to be in control, but as was a testament to how the Lions would battle throughout the night, Wolak came on strong during the second half of the match to avoid a technical fall, losing in a major decision, 13-5, to give Drexel an early 4-0 lead. Immediately following the 174-pound bout, Franzese took care of business at 184 pounds, winning via a 6-2 decision over Owen Brooks to get Columbia on the board, at 4-3 in Drexel's favor.
The next two matches would go the way of Drexel, but both would only be decisions, factors that would be key later on the match since it meant that Columbia would keep the score close throughout. At 197 pounds, sophomore Sam Wustefeld battled to a 6-3 decision loss to Bryan McLaughlin and at 285 pounds, sophomore Danny Conley fought off Sean O'Malley, and despite falling 6-2, Conley, much like Wustefeld, battled to keep it at a decision and because of not giving up bonus points the Lions only trailed 10-3 as the lineup flipped.
Manchio got the Lions back on the board, battling against a foe he has faced many times during his pre-college career, but coming away with a 3-2 decision over Antonio Mininno to move the Lions closer to the Dragons. But it was at 133 pounds were the tide turned, with Rini recording a solid technical fall victory, 18-1, over Chase Shields, to push the Lions in front, 11-10, a spot the Lions would sit for the remainder of the match.
At 141 pounds, Kazimir kept the ball rolling for Columbia, snagging a win via major decision, 9-0, over Julian Flores, and despite first-year Andrew Garr falling via a 6-1 decision to Nick Widmann at 149 pounds, Columbia was still in position to pull off the win, leading 15-13 heading into the final two matches. The battle at 157 pounds, with Mosher taking to the mat, was the match that punched the ticket for Columbia's win, as Mosher picked up a key bonus point, winning via a major decision, 11-3, over Parker Kropman, putting Columbia up six points, at 19-13, meaning that Drexel would have to earn a pin at 165 pounds to push the match to criteria.
Knowing this heading into his match, junior Riley Jacops battled hard, fighting off No. 21 Ebed Jarrel at every turn, and despite falling via a 7-2 decision, Jacops' hard work avoiding the pin or any other bonus points helped lock up Columbia's 19-16 team win in the opening match of a three-match weekend.
174 | Michael O'Malley (Drexel) def. Lennox Wolak (Columbia), maj. 13-5
184 | Joe Franzese (Columbia) def. Owen Brooks (Drexel), dec. 6-2
197 | Bryan McLaughlin (Drexel) def. Sam Wustefeld (Columbia), dec. 6-3
285 | Sean O'Malley (Drexel) def. Danny Conley (Columbia), dec. 6-2
125 | No. 29 Joe Manchio (Columbia) def. Antonio Mininno (Drexel), dec. 3-2
133 | Angelo Rini (Columbia) def. Chase Shields (Drexel), TF 18-1
141 | No. 27 Matt Kazimir (Columbia) def. Julian Flores (Drexel), maj. 9-0
149 | Nick Widmann (Drexel) def. Andrew Garr (Columbia), dec. 6-1
157 | Kyle Mosher (Columbia) def. Parker Kropman (Drexel), maj. 11-3
165 | No. 21 Ebed Jarrell (Drexel) def. Riley Jacops (Columbia), dec. 7-2
UP NEXT: Columbia will remain on the road with a Saturday, Feb. 8 Ivy League doubleheader, starting with Penn in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at 11:30 a.m., before hoping in the vans and heading to Princeton, New Jersey to face No. 16 Princeton with that match starting at 4 p.m. Penn's match will be broadcast on ESPN+, while Columbia's match at Princeton is on ESPNU.