Weekend Wrap

With several teams out on the road this weekend, the Quakers were fortunate to make it through the blizzard up in the Northeast and return safely to campus. Three Penn teams scored significant victories this weekend, with the women's squash, gymnastics and wrestling teams dominating their opponents. Here now is this week's edition of Weekend Wrap.


The Penn wrestling team picked up its first two Ivy League victories of this season by winning 17 of 20 total matches against Harvard and Brown. The Quakers were able to avenge last year's loss to Harvard due in large part to strong performances from  junior Canaan Bethea, sophomore Ian Korb and No. 20 Mark Rappo. After dropping two matches to the Crimson in the victory, Penn fell one victory shy of a clean sweep of Brown later in the afternoon. The Quakers controled the matchup from start to finish, and won, 35-4.

Penn wrestling puts Harvard back in its place

Men's Squash:

The season ended on a sour note for the Penn men's squash team. The squad dropped both of its matches this weekend, first to No. 11 Columbia on Friday, 5-4, and then on Sunday to No. 5 Cornell, 7-2. The Quakers completed the regular season having lost eight of their final nine games. While the matchup against Columbia was tied at 4 wins a piece,  Penn junior John Dudzik dropped his match against Columbia’s Tony Zou to give the Lions the 'W'. On Sunday, the Big Red dominated the Quakers, with only junior Daniel Judd (8-5, 4-3) and sophomore Jack Maine (7-7, 3-4) scoring victories for Penn.

Men’s squash finishes Ivy League slate on a sour note

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30 Seconds with…men’s squash sophomore Hunter Schlacks

Favorite racquet sport besides squash?

Tennis — I played throughout high school and continue to play today. It’s very similar to squash in terms of strategy and competitiveness, and I love those aspects of both sports.

Funniest person on the team?

Matt Sheridan, always makes the team laugh during our meetings (sometimes unintentionally) with his unexpected comments.

Who loses their temper the most during matches?

Derek Chilvers (nickname: ‘time bomb’). Always one of the most energetic and enthusiastic members of the team during matches, which sometimes results in an explosion on-court.

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Women’s Squash Opponent’s Unexpected Edge

Penn’s women’s squash team will have it’s handful against Trinity, but not for the reasons you’d think.

The Bantams are currently third in the nation by the College Squash Association’s latest rankings, and stand as one of the perennial powers in Women’s Squash. Individually, Trinity boasts the 2nd best player in the nation, Pamela Hathway, at the top of their ladder. She is followed by the 8th, 14th, 22nd and the 33rd ranked players to round out the Bantams’ top 5.

While the talent that Trinity showcases is a clear indicator of how difficult the match will be, the Bantams have a distinct advantage over the Quakers in regards to emotional control.

As I was reading up on the Bantams, I stumbled upon (literally, not with the help of the website) a video (see below) posted by Trinity’s assistant coach Dr. Randy Lee. Last year, Lee taught the team a relaxation technique called Transcendental Meditation.

The method allows for the Bantams to stay calm in key situations. In the video, one player says, “I used to get really angry on court and after doing Transcendental Meditation, the anger went away.”

This uncommon relaxation technique is just another aspect of Trinity’s game that will make the Quakers’ match against the Bantams (12pm, Saturday at Ringe Courts) a tough one.

In spite of their beneficial off-court practices, the Bantams go into Saturday fresh off a lost to Yale on Wednesday night. Conversely, the Quakers have played well of late, as they ride a three game winning streak into Saturday.

Football cracks top 25 (and other news ‘n’ notes)

While the rest of Penn is reeling from the drop to No. 5 on the US News & World report rankings (don't ask how Columbia snuck into the 4 spot), Penn Football has made its way into the FCS top 25 preseason rankings, grabbing the No. 23 in the media poll.

This can't come as much of a surprise after the undefeated Ivy season in which Penn finished with the nation's top overall defense, however, the Quakers did drop 3 spots from the No. 20 ranking with which they finished the season. Penn is the only Ivy in the top 25, while Crosstown rival Villanova is No. 1.

The minor surprise here is the fact that Penn was the top Ivy in the FCS poll, while Harvard was picked as the preseason favorite in the Ivy League Media poll announced a week ago. It's worth mentioning that Penn was a narrow second, just 4 ballot points behind.

Other news and notes from the past week:

One potential concern here is how Wyant will handle the obvious added responsibility — especially the doubling of recruiting. Squash, of all sports, is and has been increasingly international, and the recruiting trail extends much further than other sports, so that may be tricky. Thorpe-Clarke said in the above article that he hoped his replacement would have international recruiting experience.

In that same article, Men's team senior Porter Drake said he hoped for, "maybe someone younger who’s a little more keen and has more energy for the program to kind of reenergize it."

Wyant is in his mid 30s.

  • Women's golf sophomore Isabel Han competed in the US Women's Amateur in North Carolina last week. Though she lost (1-up) in the first round of match play to top seeded Rachel Rohanna of Ohio State, Han was the first Penn player to ever reach the match play round of the tournament.
  • Mike Fisher of the Men's rowing team won thrice at the 128th Royal Canadian Henley Regatta last week, taking gold in the Under 23 Men's Fours, Senior Men's Eight Dash and the Senior Men's Eight. "It took me a while to realize what just happend was pretty special," Fisher told Penn Athletics. "It didnt click in until I was watching the last few races, but it was pretty exciting."
  • And finally, the new Weiss Pavilion fitness center was featured in the Inquirer this week (check the slideshow for pictures of Penn Athletes pumping iron.)

M. Squash coach resigns

According to a press release from Penn Athletics, M. Squash coach Craig Thorpe-Clark has resigned.

He offered a simple reason; the job meant to much time commuting and traveling with the team, which meant time away from his family.

The team went 4-7 in regular season play this year, but went on to win a title in the B division at the national championships.

Despite a losing season in 2009-10, Thorpe-Clark saw Penn Squash flourish in his 11 years — the program was ranked in the top 10 between 2001 and 2010 by the College Squash Association. He finished in the black, with a 95-79  mark overall.

The search for a new coach is underway, Penn Athletics says.