PHILADELPHIA – The NCAA released the first of three Coaches Panels today, highlighting the top 33 wrestlers in each weight class as voted on by the nation’s head coaches. Penn has six wrestlers featured in the first Coaches Panel – each in either their first or second year as collegiate competitors.
The Quakers are third among the 18 members of the EIWA in terms of grapplers ranked inside the Top-33 at their respective weights, trailing Cornell (nine) and Lehigh (seven) in the first ranking period. No other EIWA school has more than five wrestlers ranked inside the Top-33.
Leading the way for Penn is No. 13 Lorenzo Thomas at 184 pounds. The 2012 Ivy League Rookie of the Year is 16-6 this season with seven wins by fall and 12 total wins with bonus points. Thomas is 3-4 against Top-33 opponents to this point in 2013-14, with the four losses coming to wrestlers inside the top-10 (No. 1, No. 2 No. 7 and No. 10). Thomas has wins over No. 11, No. 21 and No. 33 to his credit, with three remaining matches left on his schedule against Top-33 opponents – including No.3 Gabe Dean of Cornell.
No. 19 Casey Kent is Penn’s second wrestler inside the top-20, entering this weekend with a 12-4 record. One of four EIWA grapplers ranked between No. 13-19, Kent is 3-3 against Top-33 opponents, with his losses by a combined five points and his wins by a combined 14 points. Kent will have plenty of chances to improve his ranking, with four scheduled matches remaining against wrestlers inside the Top-33.
No. 24 Frank Mattiace is one of two true freshmen in the Coaches Panel for the Quakers, entering with a 13-7 record. Mattiace is 2-5 against Top-33 opponents this season, including a 12-4 major decision over No. 8 Christian Boley of Maryland. Mattiace has three Top-33 matches remaining on his schedule, highlighted by a meeting with No. 15 Brandon Palik of Drexel in the season’s final dual on Feb. 22.
Another true freshman, Caleb Richardson, ranks No. 27 in the opening Coaches Panel of the 2013-14 season. Richardson is 2-6 against Top-33 opponents, including a split of two matches with No. 22 Anthony Zanetta of Pittsburgh. Out last week with injury. Richardson should return this weekend and has a looming match with No. 1 Nahshon Garrett of Cornell on Feb. 1.
No. 30 Jeff Canfora is one of seven EIWA wrestlers ranked inside the Top-33 at 141 pounds. Canfora is 13-8 this season, with wins in six of his last seven matches. He has yet to pick up a win in four tries against opponents inside the Top-33, with the four losses by a combined 10 points and three by two points or less. Canfora has three dates circled on his calendar to test himself inside the Top-33, including No. 8 Mike Nevinger of Cornell on Feb. 1.
Ray Bethea rounds out Penn’s six-pack of Top-33 wrestlers, sliding in at No. 30 at 157 pounds. 14-6 this season, Bethea is one of seven EIWA wrestlers ranked at 157. He has wrestled five matches against Top-33 opponents to this point, all inside the top seven. In those bouts, Bethea is 1-4, with a split in two bouts with No. 6 Nestor Taffur of Boston University – the highest-ranked EIWA grappler at the weight.
The Quakers (4-3) host Army this weekend, taking on the Black Knights on Jan. 26 inside The Palestra at 1 p.m.