One of the standout wrestlers from Roger Reina’s coaching era was Brandon Slay, who still holds the unique distinction as the only Penn grappler to win an Olympic gold medal (he won it in freestyle at the 2000 Sydney Games).
You might say the success Penn has had in the last 15 years on the mats can trace directly to Brandon’s arrival on campus in 1993 -- he made an immediate impact, helping the Quakers win their first Ivy title since 1972 and earning Ivy League Rookie of the Year as well as first-team All-Ivy. After receiving first-team All-Ivy honors again in 1995 and finishing second at EIWAs, Brandon took a year off -- winning national freestyle and greco-roman titles during his break -- and returned with a vengeance in 1996-97. Each of the next two years, he won EIWA titles and advanced to the NCAA Championships final in his weight class (167 lbs.); was named both EIWA and Ivy League Wrestler of the Year; and led the Quakers to a pair of Ivy League and EIWA team titles.
In fact, the 1997 EIWA championship team, to this day, holds the record for points accumulated at the Championships, with 183.0 (the second-best score in the event’s 104-year history is 166.5).
Brandon also became the first wrestler in program history to win 100 matches in his career, finishing with 110 which now sits fifth all-time, and he scored 33 victories in 1996-97 which was a school record for several years and remains seventh all-time.
Following his Penn career, Brandon was a two-time University National Freestyle champion (1998, 1999), won the freestyle title at the 2000 United State Open (where he was named the Outstanding Wrestler), and finally Olympic champion.