The Drexel University wrestling team ended its regular season with a weekend of mixed results. While the team dropped its Feb. 24 dual against the University of Pennsylvania at the Palestra, there was some good news on the day. Kevin Devoy Jr., competing at 125, took first place, while Matt Cimato, at 149, took third place at the National Collegiate Open.
The Dragons headed into their dual against the Quakers looking to rebound from their loss against Rutgers University and possibly also upset the 23rd-ranked team in the nation. To the Dragons’ dismay, things did not go their way, as they fell 37-0 in a tough matchup to finish out the regular season.
Freshman Jacob Goodwin began the day for the Dragons with a matchup against No. 14 Mark Rappo but fell 15-7. Penn’s Jeff Canfora followed with a major decision of his own at 133. Senior Frank Cimato fought hard in a match against No. 9 C.J. Cobb but was unable to complete the upset and ultimately lost 4-1. The Quakers’ Andrew Lenzi followed with a dominant performance at 149 to earn a major decision.
At 157, Austin Sommer had one of the Dragons’ strongest performances of the day but lost a close match 3-2 to Penn’s Troy Hernandez. The Quakers’ Casey Kent picked up a victory at 165 with a 17-2 tech fall. Ian Korb and Canaan Bethea followed with back-to-back major decisions at 174 and 184, respectively. The two major decisions gave Penn at total of five major decisions on the day.
Junior Brandon Palik put in a strong effort against No. 9 Micah Burak but was ultimately defeated 6-1. In the final match of the day, Jon Max Wright gave the Dragons another good performance but could not take down Steven Graziano to break the shutout.
With the loss, the Dragons finished their regular season at 8-12 overall, while the Quakers improved to 10-3. Despite the defeat, head coach Matt Azevedo has a positive outlook on where the team is and where it is going.
“We are moving on as a team,” he said. “We are focused on the [Colonial Athletic Association] Championships and the NCAA Tournament. Everything up to this point is just practice for the end of the year.”
While most of the team was taking on Penn, some Dragons traveled to Richmond, Va., to compete at the National Collegiate Open. Devoy, Matt Cimato, Franco, Ferriana, Nicholas Maccini, Jason Fugiel and Joseph Giorgio represented Drexel.
The big performances of the day at the tournament came from Cimato and Devoy. Cimato had a good day, as he went 5-1, including a major decision. He finished the day with a third-place finish at 149. Devoy had the most memorable performance of the tournament, as he ended the day 5-0 overall and earned a first-place finish with a win by fall over North Carolina State University’s John Sparks.
“Kevin winning the National Collegiate Open is a big deal,” Azevedo said regarding Devoy’s performance. “This tournament is a strong indicator of who is going to have success in the future at the NCAA Tournament. I am very proud of the year that Kevin Devoy has had. He has the potential to be a multiple All-American and national champion before he graduates.”
As a whole, the Dragons’ regulars had mixed results. The team battled injuries of key wrestlers throughout the year, which hindered them in some duals. Despite having a record of only 8-12 overall, the Drexel wrestlers showed they can win some big conference matches. Azevedo does not want his to team to think like the season is over.
“Our season is not over yet,” he said. “Our season has just begun.”