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PHILADELPHIA - The University of Pennsylvania will enter the 2012-13 season with one of its most-challenging schedules in recent memory as head coach Rob Eiter has put together a slate which features 13 dual meets and three stacked tournaments as the Quakers look to challenge again for an EIWA championship.
The Red and Blue will take on three of the top eight finishers at the 2012 NCAA Championships in dual meets this season - headlined by annual battles with No. 4 Cornell and No. 8 Lehigh. The newcomer to the dual lineup is Oklahoma State as the Quakers will take on the Cowboys - who finished sixth at the national tournament in 2012 - in Stillwater on Nov. 25. The dual with Oklahoma State is just one of two against Big 12 opponents as the Quakers will welcome Iowa State to The Palestra on Jan. 13.
"We are very excited about the schedule ahead for us in 2012-13," head coach Rob Eiter said. "We pride ourselves on being a national contender and a national program. Adding duals with Big 12 programs, heading to California and continuing our presence at Midlands will only grow our visibility as a program while also testing our wrestlers in preparation for high finishes in March."
November will be busy for the Quakers as they will have two grueling tournaments to contend with before the dual-opener with the Cowboys to round out the month. The season will have a new starting point for the squad as the Quakers open at the Brockport/Oklahoma Gold (Nov. 10) for the first time since 2005. EIWA rivals American and Rutgers join the Quakers in the field as Penn will look to add a third champion in three visits to Brockport (Matt Valenti, 133 in '05; Matt Feast, 285 in '04).
The Quakers again will host the Keystone Classic in The Palestra on Nov. 18, welcoming 14 teams for a stacked tournament. Northwestern is back to defend its title, joined by American, Appalachian State, Boston University, Bloomsburg, Brown, Cal Poly, Duke, Harvard, Indiana, N.C. State, Princeton, Rider and VMI.
"The Keystone Classic is always a highlight for us each season," Eiter said. "To have 14 premier programs coming in to compete shows how much other programs are starting to value our tournament as well. We are confident that fans will see multiple matches involving past - and future All-Americans."
Penn will be tested right out of the gate starting with the trip to Oklahoma State and followed up by a weekend which features a trip to Lehigh (Dec. 1) and a home date with Hofstra (Dec. 2). After a break for exams, Penn will return to the Midlands Championships at Northwestern (Dec. 29-30) as Micah Burak will again look to reach the finals at one of the country's most prestigious in-season tournaments.
Winter Break will continue on from Chicago to the west coast for the Quakers as Penn will spend time in Palo Alto around New Year's before a doubleheader on Jan. 6 against Stanford and Arizona State. Penn's last trip to Stanford came in 2003, a 38-6 win for the Quakers.
After hosting Iowa State on Jan. 13, Penn heads to Ithaca for its annual battle with Cornell. The Quakers were four points shy of knocking off the Big Red last season, and will look to snap Cornell's streak on the road in 2013. Penn will be busy that weekend, returning to The Palestra the next day to host EIWA opponent Bucknell.
Four consecutive Ivy League duals will take Penn into February, kicked off by a pair of duals at home against Harvard and Brown on February 9. The Red and Blue will then head to New York City on Feb. 16 to wrestle Columbia before returning again to The Palestra for the latest installment of Penn-Princeton on Feb. 23.
The regular season concludes for the Quakers on Feb 24 at The Palestra as Penn welcomes Drexel back to its regular season schedule. The two neighbors have not met in a dual since 2007, and are split in meetings, 11-11 with one tie.
Conference championships and NCAA bids will be on the line at Rutgers on March 8-9 for the 109th EIWA Championships Penn finished 4th at EIWAs in 2012, with graduated 133-pounder Bryan Ortenzio picking up Penn's first EIWA title since 2008.
The end goal for Penn in 2012-13 is Des Moines, Iowa and the NCAA Championships contested March 21-23. The Quakers sent five wrestlers to the national tournament, with 197-pounder Micah Burak finishing seventh to become Penn's 25th All-American. Burak, Steve Robertson and Mark Rappo are all returners for the Red and Blue who have competed at the NCAA Championships.
2012-13 Penn Wrestling Schedule
Nov. 3 -INTRASQUAD MEET TBA
Nov. 10 - at Brockport/Oklahoma Gold All Day
Nov. 18 - KEYSTONE CLASSIC All Day
Nov. 25 - at Oklahoma State TBA
Dec. 1 - at Lehigh 1 p.m.
Dec. 2 - HOFSTRA 1 p.m.
Dec. 29-30 - at Midlands Championships All Day
Jan. 6 - at Stanford 3:45 p.m.
Jan. 6 - vs. Arizona State 5:30 p.m.
Jan. 13 - IOWA STATE 1 p.m.
Jan. 26 - at Cornell* 2 p.m.
Jan. 27 - BUCKNELL 1 p.m.
Feb. 9 - HARVARD* 10 a.m.
Feb. 9 - BROWN* 2 p.m.
Feb. 16 - at Columbia* 2 p.m.
Feb. 23 - PRINCETON* 1 p.m.
Feb. 23 - DREXEL 1 p.m.
March 8-9 - EIWA Championships (at Rutgers) All Day
March 21-23 - NCAA Championships (at Des Moines, Iowa) All Day
* Ivy League Dual
All home meets in BOLD CAPS and held in The Palestra
Dates and times subject to change