GREENSBORO, N.C. - Senior Cesar Grajales made a huge splash in his first event of this wrestling season for Penn, advancing all the way to the 149-pound final at the Southern Scuffle before having to default to Army's Matthew Kyler due to injury at the 5:22 mark. The Scuffle took place Tuesday and Wednesday at the Greensboro Coliseum's Special Events Center and was hosted by UNC-Greensboro.
As a team, Penn finished 11th out of 31 scoring teams with 62.5 points. Cornell won the event with 164 points, ahead of second-place Minnesota (151.5) and third-place Indiana (131.5).
Grajales entered the tournament as the seventh seed in his weight class, but rolled to a major decision win in his first match and followed that up with three more decisions over unseeded opponents. In the semifinal round, Grajales downed sixth-seeded Frank Gayeski (Liberty), 2-1.
Bryan Ortenzio earned fourth place in his weight class, up from the sixth seed he was given prior to the tournament. Ortenzio won a pair of matches to start the tournament before falling 8-4 to the third seed, Cornell's Mike Grey, in the quarterfinal round. In the consolation bracket, Ortenzio beat fifth-seeded Quentin Keyes (Ohio), 12-1, among his three wins before he fell to national No. 10 Grey again, 8-2, in the consolation final. Zack Ellis also competed at 133 pounds, going 0-2.
Gabriel Burak was the ninth seed at 165, but moved up to a seventh-place finish. Burak began the tournament with three wins -- two by pinfall -- before he lost in the quarterfinal round to top-seeded and national No. 1 Jarrod King (Edinboro). In the consolation bracket, Burak lost to fourth-seeded Paul Young (Indiana) in the semifinal round but rallied to beat sixth-seeded P.J. Gillespie (Hofstra), 3-1, for his seventh-place finish. Also at 165, Tom Timothy won his first two matches before falling to Gillespie in the Round of 16; in the consolation bracket, he won two more times before falling to Young in a quarterfinal (a win would have pitted him against Burak in the semis).
At 141 pounds, Zack Kemmerer -- the pre-tournament sixth seed -- had his troubles with wrestlers from the University of Virginia en route to an eighth-place finish. After advancing to the Round of 16, he lost to UVA's Derek Valenti, 3-0. In the consolation bracket, Kemmerer fell to eighth-seeded Nick Nelson, also of Virginia, 5-3, and then fell in the seventh-place match to the 11th-seeded Valenti again, 1-0.
Like Grajales, senior Matt Dragon made his first appearance on the mats this season, competing as the sixth seed in the 157 bracket. Dragon won his first two matches to advance to the quarterfinal round, then lost 7-1 to UNC's Thomas Scotton, the third seed (No. 7 nationally). Dragon, who entered the season battling an injury, was forced to take an injury default in the consolation bracket and saw his tournament end.
Cory Beaver and Harrison Cook competed in the 184 bracket. Beaver fell in his first-round match, then defeated Cornell's Nate Holley in the consolation bracket before losing his second consolation match. Cook went 0-2 at the event. In the heavyweight division, Tyler Blakely went 1-2.
Penn has concluded the open-tournament portion of its 2009-10 schedule, and will begin the dual-meet grind leading up to the championship season in March. The Quakers' first duals will take place Saturday, Jan. 9 at The Palestra, as they face Rider at noon followed by Binghamton at 2 p.m.