PHILADLEPHIA - With a 3-0 record against Ivy League opponents on the books already after sweeping through Brown (35-0), Harvard (35-7) and Princeton (37-10) last weekend, Penn heads to New York this weekend with a chance to make serious noise inside the Ancient Eight and around the Country.
On Friday night, the Quakers will be in Ithaca, wrestling No. 1 Cornell. The Big Red have won the last eight Ivy titles and have not lost an Ivy dual since the 2002 season, entering the weekend with 44 Ivy dual wins in a row. The last team to claim an Ivy title not named Cornell was Penn, as the Red and Blue went 5-0 in the Ivy League in the 2001-02 season for the last of their 11 Ivy titles. In fact, since that 01-02 season, Penn and Cornell have finished 1-2 in the league standings in seven of eight seasons, with Cornell 5-0 and Penn 4-1.
If Penn is to unseat the Big Red and take over the Ivy League, it will have to overcome a top-ranked team that is comprised of high-ranking individuals. Cornell has eight ranked wrestlers out of ten weight classes and all of those wrestlers are inside the top 11. The Quakers, however, counter with five ranked wrestlers, including four ranked at weights Cornell has a Top-20 wrestler.
The battle at 197 pounds is one to watch where Penn lines up No. 5 Micah Burak against No. 1 Cam Simaz. These two have had a tight rivalry in Burak's two seasons competing, with five matches already contested. Burak is still looking for his first win over Simaz, however, with the five losses coming by a combined 15 points. Compounding that number is that one of the losses was a 12-4 loss at the NCAA Championships. The two have met once already this season, a 6-4 win for Simaz in the final of the Binghamton Open.
Another marquee matchup is slated for 133 pounds where No. 5 Rollie Peterkin is schedule to wrestle No. 6 Mike Grey. The two have never met in college with Peterkin spending his first three years at 125 pounds, but are looking to solidify seeding at the EIWA Championships. Peterkin has wrestled a full season, with a 22-2 record. Grey has been hampered by injury all year but recently returned and is 4-0 this season and the defending EIWA champ at 133.
No. 17 Mark Rappo is on the rise for Penn at 125 pounds after a win over No. 18 Garrett Frey last weekend and Rappo has another big chance to climb in the polls as he will wrestle No. 10 Frank Perrelli. The two met last year in the dual, a 6-3 win for Perrelli.
The dual with Cornell isn't the only one on the docket for Penn this weekend, as the Red and Blue will head to Columbia on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Lions are 6-5 overall in duals and 0-1 in Ivy action entering the weekend with dual wins over Army and Rider to their credit.
Against the Lions, Gabriel Burak will be looking to erase two tough losses to Eren Civan last season. Civan picked up a 7-3 win in last year's dual and a win by fall in 4:08 at the EIWA Championships.
In addition, Kyle Cowan will be facing a tough EIWA seeding test at heavyweight against Kevin Lester. Columbia's big man is 18-6 this season, with a pair of wins over Cornell's Stryker Lane to his credit. In the most recent EIWA Coaches Rankings, Lester was ranked fourth at heavyweight while Cowan came in sixth, making this bout one of the most important of the dual.
Penn Probables for No. 1 Cornell/Columbia
125 - No. 17 Mark Rappo, Jr. (23-5)
133 - No. 5 Rollie Peterkin, Sr. (22-2)
141 - No. 10 Zack Kemmerer, Sr. (29-5)
149 - Andrew Lenzi, Fr. (14-10)
157 - Brad Wukie, Fr. (8-13)
165 - No. 18 Gabriel Burak, Sr. (14-3)
174 - Scott Giffin, Sr. (11-5) or Canaan Bethea, Fr. (14-11)
184 - Erich Smith, Jr. (2-4)
197 - No. 5 Micah Burak, So. (23-3)
285 - Kyle Cowan, Fr. (15-11)
No. 1 Cornell Probables
125 - No. 10 Frank Perrelli, Sr. (24-10)
133 - No. 6 Mike Grey, Sr. (4-0)
141 - Corey Manson, Sr. (17-12)
149 - No. 3 Kyle Dake, So. (20-1)
157 - No. 11 D.J. Meagher, Sr. (17-3)
165 - No. 5 Justin Kerber, Sr. (26-2)
174 - No. 3 Mack Lewnes, Sr. (28-2)
184 - No. 6 Steve Bosak, Jr. (26-2)
197 - No. 1 Cam Simaz, Jr. (23-1)
285 - Stryker Lane, So. (20-9)
125 - Penn Gottfried, Fr. (11-10)
133 - Matt Bystol, Fr. (8-9) or Kyle Gilchrist, Jr. (14-8)
141 - Josh Houldsworth, Fr. (7-12)
149 - Steve Santos, So. (9-5) or Shane Strumwasser, Jr. (11-8)
157 - Jake O'Hara, So. (9-14)
165 - Eren Civan, Jr. (13-10)
174 - Stephen West, So. (8-10)
184 - Nick Mills, So. (16-9)
197 - Mike Pushpak, Sr. (5-11)
Hwt. - Kevin Lester, Jr. (19-6)
Penn vs. No. 1 Cornell Notes: This marks the 99th meeting between Penn and Cornell in wrestling...Penn is 21-75-2 all-time against the Big Red...The last time Penn defeated Cornell was a 21-9 win in The Palestra Feb. 2, 2002...The last Quaker win in Ithaca came Jan. 31, 1997 via a 24-15 win...The last time Penn wrestled the No. 1 team was Jan. 13, 2007 when Penn dropped a 27-15 score to Missouri at the National Duals...That was the second time in the 06-07 season Penn wrestled No. 1 - the first a 28-12 loss to Minnesota at Northeast Duals...Gabriel Burak is 0-2 all-time against Kerber...Micah Burak is 0-5 all-time against Simaz...Kyle Cowan is 0-1 against Stryker Lane, losing by fall at 4:49 at Binghamton...Canaan Bethea is 0-1 against Mack Lewnes while Scott Giffin is 0-2...Zack Kemmerer is 1-0 against Corey Manson and 3-0 against Cornell's 141 pounders this season...Rollie Peterkin is 2-4 all-time against Cornell (1-1 at 141 and 1-3 at 125)...Mark Rappo is 0-2 against Cornell wrestlers and 0-1 against Perelli.
Penn vs. Columbia Notes: Saturday's match is the 109th all-time between Penn and Columbia...Penn is 65-41-2 in those meetings...Penn has won three in a row and 15 of the last 16...Last season, the Red and Blue downed the Lions, 22-13, in The Palestra.