OMAHA - Scott Giffin became Penn's 24th All-America on Friday night with a 3-1 win over No. 6 Mike Benefiel of Oklahoma State. On Saturday, he secured 7th place with a win over Jarion Beets of Northern Iowa by injury default. Giffin was in control throughout the match, leading 9-0 in the middle of the second period when an injury flared up for Beets causing him to default out.
In the seventh-place match, Giffin attacked quickly with his vicious single, scoring at 0:14. He immediately took Beets to his back scoring two nearfall points at 0:30 to take a 4-0 lead. Giffin rode full the rest of the way, taking 2:46 of riding time to the second period. In the second, Giffin scored another single-leg at 3:40, again pushing Beets down to his back for three backpoints at 3:55. It was in the midst of the five-point move that Beets reinjured himself leading to the default.
"It is great to win that last match," Giffin said afterwards. "It has been a long time since I won my last match of the season."
Giffin is the first All-America as a head coach for Rob Eiter and Penn's first national placewinner since current assistant coach Matt Valenti won his second national championship in 2007. Giffin's All-America finish at 174 pounds is the fourth such finish at that weight by a Penn wrestler, joining Matt Herrington (2006) and Rick Springman (2000, '02) as placewinners at 174. At this NCAA Championships, Giffin is one of 13 wrestlers to earn All-America honors despite entering the tournament unseeded.
"We all knew Scott had this type of talent and potential," Eiter said on Friday after his win in the Round of 12. "At this tournament, sometimes things can be more mental than physical. Scott had been wrestling with a lot of confidence of late and it helped carry him through a tough road.
Giffin did not have it easy this weekend, drawing undefeated second seed Jay Borschel of Iowa in the first round. Giffin was unable to defeat the previous All-America and moved to the wrestlebacks. Giffin did just that, wrestling back with four-straight wins to earn his spot in the parade of All-Americas and a place on the podium Saturday Night.
"You always want to think you can stun the two-seed," Giffin said on Saturday. "When that didn't happen, I knew I needed to come out strong in the first wrestleback and get on a roll. I felt I deserved to be an All-America and was one of the best in the country and it was up to me to prove that out on the mat."
Giffin needed to finish his matches strong, scoring late in all four consolation wins to secure the victory. Included in that progression was an 11-4 win over Cal Poly's Ryan DesRoches secured with a five-point move in the third period, a 6-4 win over Michigan's Justin Zeerip in sudden victory, a 6-3 win over Missouri's Dorian Henderson clinched with a reversal in the waning seconds and the win over Benefiel punctuated by a takedown with 14 seconds remaining in the bout.
After that final takedown, Giffin began to realize what he accomplished and at the final whistle jumped up, extending his arms in celebration and pointing to his family and Penn supporters in the crowd. He made his way to the corner and leapt into his coaches' arms and raced back to the locker room.
"I really felt that I could take him down whenever I wanted to," Giffin said of the late match situation against Benefiel," I wanted to set up the one perfect shot I needed - and it connected. I put everything I worked for all season into that shot. I just had to make it count."
Penn's final results at the 2010 NCAA Championships:
174 - Scott Giffin (7th Place - All-America)
First Round - lost to #2 Jay Borschel (Iowa), 1-7
Consolation Rd. 1 - def. Ryan DesRoches (Cal Poly), 11-4
Consolation Rd. 2 - def. Justin Zeerip (Michigan), 6-4 (SV)
Consolation Rd. 3 - def. Dorian Henderson (Missouri), 6-3
Round of 12 - def. #6 Mike Benefiel (Oklahoma St.), 3-1
Consolation Quarterfinals - lost to #10 Jordan Blanton (Illinois), 4-8
Seventh-Place Match - def. Jarion Beets (Northern Iowa), Inj. Default (4:00)
Note: Giffin was ahead 9-0 at the time of the default.
133 - Bryan Ortenzio (1-2)
First Round - lost to #8 Tyler Graff (Wisconsin), 6-16
Consolation Rd. 1 - def. Akif Eren (Purdue), 4-2
Consolation Rd. 2 - lost to William Ashnault (Rutgers), Fall (5:47)
141 - Zack Kemmerer (0-2)
First Round - lost to Elijah Nacita (CSU-Bakersfield), 2-4
Consolation Rd. 1 - lost to Todd Schavrien (Missouri), 9-13
149 - Cesar Grajales (1-2)
First Round - lost to #3 Kyle Terry (Oklahoma), 3-6
Consolation Rd. 1 - def. Michael Kessler (Rider), 6-3
Consolation Rd. 2 - lost to #9 Kevin LeValley (Bucknell), 0-2
165 - Gabriel Burak (0-2)
First Round - lost to Josh Asper (Maryland), 1-5
Consolation Rd. 1 - lost to #3 Nick Marable (Missouri), 3-18 (7:00)
197 - Micah Burak (1-2)
First Round - def. James Hamel (Buffalo), 6-5 (TB2)
Second Round - lost to #4 Cam Simaz (Cornell), 4-12
Consolation Rd. 2 - lost to Cody Magrum (Ohio State), 1-3