No. 24 Wrestling Preps for No. 8 Cornell and Bucknell
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PHILADELPHIA - Another year, another dual between No. 24 Penn and No. 8 Cornell expected to go a long way to deciding the Ivy League champion. Saturday's meeting in Ithaca (2 p.m.) will be the first time both sides are ranked in the Top-25 since the 2008 dual where No. 15 Cornell defeated No. 25 Penn, 19-15, in The Palestra.
The past 26 Ivy League titles have either been won outright or shared by either Penn or Cornell, and the past 11 Ivy crowns have gone directly to the winner of the Penn/Cornell dual, with the loser finishing second in the League. The Quakers will be looking to emerge victorious for the first time in the series since 2001-02 and break a 10-match skid against the Big Red. A win at the Freidman Wrestling Center in Ithaca will be the first victory in the Finger Lakes region for the Quakers since a 24-15 win in 1997.
Penn has been ranked as high as No. 20 this season and enters the weekend with a 4-2 record in duals. Penn's biggest win came via a 24-12 win at Lehigh in early December which catapulted the Quakers into the national rankings. A win on Saturday over the Big Red will cement that status.
No. 10 Micah Burak will be looking to finally get his hand raised against a Big Red wrestler after three years of coming very close against 2012 national champion Cam Simaz. The two met in three EIWA championship matches and nine total times, almost each match a close loss for Burak. With Simaz graduated, Burak is poised to lock down his reputation as the man to beat at 197 pounds inside the EIWA this season and a win on Saturday could be a difference maker in the dual.
Another of Penn's veteran leaders looking for his first win against a Cornell wrestler will be Mark Rappo. Ranked No. 20 at 125 pounds, Rappo is 0-4 against Cornell all-time, including a 6-4 loss in the EIWA finals to Frank Perrelli in 2011. Rappo will not meet Perrelli, who has graduated, on Saturday but will take on No. 7 Nashon Garrett. A freshman, Garrett is 24-3 this season with his three losses coming to the No. 2 and 3 wrestlers in the country. 16 of his wins have come with bonus points, including eight of his last nine victories.
A newcomer to the rivalry for the Quakers is No. 11 C.J. Cobb at 141 pounds. In his first full season of competition, the sophomore has posted a 14-5 record with a 3-2 record inside the Top-20. He will have a chance to add to that mark against No. 6 Mike Nevinger for Cornell in what has potential to be a swing bout in the dual. Nevinger enters his first meeting with Cobb holding a 24-6 record and a nine-match winning streak which includes a win at the Southern Scuffle.
After the dual on Saturday in Ithaca, Penn returns to action quickly against Bucknell in The Palestra on Sunday (1 p.m.) in EIWA action. The Quakers have defeated the Bison the last two seasons in duals, and have won three in a row over Bucknell dating back to the 1994-95 season. Senior Corey Lear enters the weekend ranked No. 9 at 165 for the Bison and is a returning NCAA qualifier. He is 16-2 this season and riding a 12-match winning streak. Lear had not wrestled since Dec. 17 before a 1-0 win over Brett Miller of Old Dominion on Jan. 11. Austin Miller is a returning NCAA qualifier for the Bison at 125 pounds after finishing third at EIWAs last season as a freshman. This year, he is 11-7 after missing most of the early portion of the season.
No. 24 Penn Probables for Cornell/Bucknell
125: No. 20 Mark Rappo (14-3)
133: Geoffrey Bostany (7-9) or Jeff Canfora (5-4)
141: No. 11 C.J. Cobb (14-5)
149: Andrew Lenzi (17-8)
157: Troy Hernandez (7-7)
165: Casey Kent (16-9)
174: Ian Korb (14-10) or Harrison Cook (4-9)
184: Canaan Bethea (17-6)
197: No. 10 Micah Burak (5-2)
285: Kyle Cowan (6-6) or Steven Graziano (14-9)
No. 8 Cornell Probables
125: No. 7 Nahshon Garrett (24-3)
133: No. 10 Nick Arujau (8-4) or Bricker Dixon (14-9)
141: No. 6 Mike Nevinger (24-6)
149:No. 14 Chris Villalonga (14-9)
157: Jesse Shanaman (7-4)
165: No. 1 Kyle Dake (20-0)
174: Duke Pickett (13-10) or Marshall Peppelman (12-12)
184: No. 4 Steve Bosak (9-2)
197: Billy George (13-8) or Jace Bennett (16-11)
HWT: Jacob Aiken-Phillips (9-6) or Stryker Lane (15-10)
125: Austin Miller (12-8)
133: Paul Petrov (12-9)
141: Derrik Russell (9-13)
149: Adam Healey (9-13)
157: Vincent Favia (10-12)
165: No. 9 Corey Lear (17-3) or Ray Schlitt (3-13) or Robert Schlitt (2-11)
174: No. 9 Corey Lear (17-3) or Ray Schlitt (3-13) or Robert Schlitt (2-11)
184: Robert Marchese (3-18)
197: Tyler Lyster (15-10)
285: Joe Stolfi (12-11)