LEWISBURG, Pa. - For the second straight season, Penn sent two wrestlers to the EIWA finals, but as in 2010, the Quakers were unable to take home an individual title. Both second seeds at their weights, Mark Rappo and Micah Burak had great runs to the finals, but ultimately came up short.
As a team, Penn finished fifth overall with 98 team points.
Junior Mark Rappo advanced all the way to the finals at 125 pounds of the EIWA Championships, but a late score by Cornell's top-seeded Frank Perrelli was the difference in a 6-4 decision.
Rappo had a lead in the third period at 4-3, coming back after allowing the first takedown of the match midway through the first period. Perrelli ducked under for those points, just as he did in the third period with 37 seconds left for the winning takedown. Rappo made sure he got at least one point after the first takedown, and in the third period shot quickly for a takedown to tie the match at 3-3. In the third period, Rappo escaped 35 seconds in to take his lead, and after wrestling to a stalemate with just under a minute to go, Perrelli scored the final takedown on the edge, in the process securing riding time at 1:08.
In the 197-pound final, Burak was content to patiently wait for his moment against top seed and national No. 1 Cam Simaz from Cornell. The two were scoreless after two periods, with plenty of ties and close fighting, but no points. In the third, Simaz escaped in three seconds to score the eventual winning point. After that score, Burak became the aggressor, pushing the action and forcing Simaz to the edge of the mat and out. Twice Burak was close to scoring and twice Simaz found the basketball court outside the mat stopping the action. Even with a late stall warning on Simaz, Burak was unable to score or earn a penalty point and Simaz took the title over Burak for the second year in a row.
Senior Rollie Peterkin closed out his EIWA career with a third-place finish at 133 pounds. The third seed, Peterkin advanced to the semifinals with a win by fall over No. 6 Jordan Thome of Army in the quarterfinals in 2:08. In the semifinals, Peterkin had a lead over No. 2 seed Frank Cagnina of Lehigh in the third period after a full second-period ride and an early escape in the final frame. However, Cagnina took Peterkin down with 33 seconds left to take a 2-1 lead on the scoreboard. Peterkin's riding time tied the match, but in sudden victory, Cagnina took Peterkin down and added a pair of backpoints for a 6-2 win. On Sunday, Peterkin came back strong, posting a 19-3 tech fall over Princeton's Tony Communale to move to the third place bout. Six takedowns and six nearfall points helped Peterkin put up the blowout. In the third place match, Peterkin scored early takedowns in the first two periods to build a 4-0 lead. In each period, he piled up riding time and used that 2:26 of riding time for a fifth point and a 5-0 win to automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships. Peterkin ends his EIWA Championships career with a 2008 title and runner-up (2009) and third-place finishes (2011).With his 3-1 performance, Peterkin improves his career win total to 98 and he is now tied for eighth all-time with Matt Herrington.
Another veteran who needed to rally on Sunday was No. 2 seed Zack Kemmerer at 141 pounds. He won twice early on the first day of action, scoring a late fall over Harvard's Fermin Mendez at 6:11 and then majoring No. 7 Grant Overcashier of Brown, 13-5 in the quarterfinals. In the semis, Kemmerer had trouble getting out from bottom in the second period against No. 3 Matt Mariarcher from American, and that riding time point for Mariarcher was the deciding factor in a 3-2 loss for Kemmerer. On Sunday, he punched his ticket to NCAAs with a 3-1 win over No. 4 seed Trevor Melde of Rutgers. After a scoreless first, Kemmerer got the takedown in the second and rode extremely tough for the final score of 3-1 with 1:58 of riding time. Kemmerer will enter the NCAA Championships with 35 wins in the 2010-11 season, one behind the single-season record of 36 that has been done four times (Matt Valenti twice in 03-04 and 05-06, Josh Henson in 01-02 and Yoshi Nakamura in 01-02).
Kemmerer prides himself on his single legs and he used it to secure third place over top-seeded Stephen Dutton of Lehigh via a 4-2 sudden victory decision. Kemmerer scored first midway through the opening period, but Dutton tied the match on an escape in the first and the second. Neither man scored in the third period and in overtime, Kemmerer pounced quickly for the takedown 15 seconds in. For Kemmerer, the third-place run was his second in a row.
A pair of fifth-seeded seniors worked their way through wrestlebacks for high placings in third-place Gabriel Burak (165) and sixth-place Scott Giffin (174).
Burak won his first bout against Brown's David Foxen, 6-2, but was knocked out of the championship bracket by No. 4 Eren Civan of Columbia, 3-2. Again, riding time was a big factor as 1:08 of advantage time for Civan was the winning point. Burak won twice on Saturday afternoon, defeating Franklin & Marshall's Anthony Bongarzone, 7-2, and No. 8 Mason Bailey from Navy, 12-0, to advance to Sunday's consolation semifinals. Burak was leading longtime nemesis Justin Kerber from Cornell in the second period, 5-0, when Kerber was forced to injury default out. Burak scored a takedown midway through the first and then escaped quickly in the second. Later in the second, Burak added another takedown finishing a scramble, but Kerber's injured knee was caught up in the process and he defaulted out. That win locked up a NCAA automatic bid for Burak.
Not content with just an NCAA bid, Burak posted a 5-2 win in a tiebreaker over American's No. 6 Patrick Graham for third place. Burak rode out the entire second period to build a two-minute base of riding time that would come in handy after Graham was credited with a takedown on the edge midway through the third period. Burak appeared to be close to the takedown at first, but Graham rolled through and got the points. Burak worked his escape with 19 seconds left on his riding time advantage, using the 1:19 for the tying point. After a scoreless sudden victory period, Graham went down for the first rideout and Burak made him pay with three backpoints on a well executed tilt on a banana split. Those points were the deciders as Burak avoided being turned and took a 5-2 decision.
Scott Giffin battled through shoulder and knee injuries to go 3-1 on the first day of competition. His tournament started with a 12-1 major decision over Jeffrey Lemmer of Brown before he was knocked out of the championship bracket by No. 4 Alex Caruso of Rutgers, 4-3. Once again, it was riding time deciding the match as Caruso had 1:07 of riding time at the end of regulation. In wrestlebacks on Saturday afternoon, Giffin bounced back with a 4-1 win over Bucknell's No. 6 David Thompson and a 6-5 win over No. 8 Colin Wittmeyer from Army. This time, it was riding time that helped Giffin, as he scored a late takedown to tie the match and had 3:51 of riding time from the first two periods to secure the win. On Sunday, he showed flashed of his 2010 self early against No. 2 seed Austin Meys from Lehigh, scoring the first points on a takedown and adding two backpoints before Meys reversed out to close the opening period at 4-2 for Giffin. In the second, Meys was able to escape to add another point, but Giffin had racked up over three minutes of riding time with good top work, coming very close to backpoints on a few occasions. In the third, Giffin chose neutral and Meys turned a scramble into four points with a takedown and backpoints. Off a restart following a potentially dangerous, Giffin reached back and almost had Meys on his back flat, but the call wasn't there and Meys slipped to the side and found three back points for the final 10-7 decision.
Giffin's battle came to an end with a 10-7 loss to No. 7 Matt Fullowan of Franklin & Marshall in the fifth-place match. Giffin had the first shot, but Fullowan used his legs to counter and score four points on a takedown and two nearfall. After a scoreless second period, Giffin turned on the offense Penn fans know so well, with three takedowns and a point for stalling on Fullowan to get the match to 7-7. However, riding time was still in favor of Fullowan at 1:35 and Giffin needed one more score. However, that score did not come and Fullowan added a late and meaningless takedown at the buzzer for the 10-7 win. Giffin finished sixth, one spot outside an automatic bid and will await a possible at-large big this week.
Two freshmen placed in their first EIWA Championships in 149-pounder Andrew Lenzi and heavyweight Kyle Cowan. Both men took eighth place at his respective weight.
No. 8 seed Lenzi won his first conference tournament match over Gregory Ott from Princeton, 9-0, to get his tournament started. In the quarterfinals, he ran into defending EIWA and NCAA champion at 141 pounds and top seed at 149 this year Kyle Dake of Cornell. Lenzi was knocked out of championship contention by fall at 2:08, but rallied for a 13-3 win over Zack Kulczycki of Brown. In the consolation quarterfinals, Lenzi was pinned by No. 4 Joey Napoli of Lehigh at 4:22 to move into the seventh-place match. In his final match of the day, Lenzi had a good effort, but allwoed three backpoints in the second period and lost,3-0 to No. 6 Steve Santos of Columbia.
Heavyweight Kyle Cowan had a bye in the first round, and the fifth-seeded big man was defeated in his first match by Columbia's No. 4 Kevin Lester, 9-8, in an exciting match that featured four takedowns and two reversals between them. Cowan came back with a 3-1 win over Princeton's Charles Fox in the wrestlebacks, utilizing a first period takedown and riding time for the win. Cowan dropped a 2-0 decision to Harvard's No. 8 seed Andrew Knapp in second sudden victory with just seven seconds left in the overtime period to moved into the seventh-place match. In that seventh-place match, Cowan was right there with sixth-seeded Daniel Miller from Navy, but dropped a 5-4 decision.
184-pounder Erich Smith went 1-2 at his first conference tournament, losing a gut-wrencher to Columbia's No. 5 seed Nick Mills in the first round, 7-7 in a second round of tiebreakers. Smith had a 4-3 lead late with riding time, but a takedown from Mills with one second left sent the match to overtime. After a scoreless sudden victory, each wrestler escaped in the first round of rideouts. Once again they were scoreless in sudden victory, going back to rideouts. In the 30-second tiebreakers, both wrestlers again escaped, but Mills had seven seconds of riding time after the periods and that was the deciding factor.
Freshman Brad Wukie had a rough outing in his first EIWA Championships, going 0-2 with losses to No. 5 D.J. Meagher from Cornell and No. 6 Daniel Kolodzik from Princeton.
Up next for Penn is the 2011 NCAA Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia March 17-19. Brackets and wild card entries to the tournament will be announced later this week.
125 - No. 2 Mark Rappo - Second Place
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - Def. David White (Army), 12-4
Semifinals - Def. No. 3 Garret Frey (Princeton), 5-2
Championship Finals - Lost to No. 1 Frank Perrelli (Cornell), 4-6
133 - No. 3 Rollie Peterkin - Third Place
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - Def. No. 6 Jordan Thome (Army), FALL 4:28
Semifinals - Lost to No. 2 Frank Cagnina (Lehigh), 6-2 SV
Consolation Semifinals - Def. Tony Communale (Princeton), 19-3
Third Place Match - Def. No. 6 Jordan Thome, 5-0
141 - No. 2 Zack Kemmerer - Third Place
First Round - Def. Fermin Mendez (Harvard), FALL 6:11
Quarterfinals - Def. No. 7 Grant Overcashier (Brown), 13-5
Semifinals - Lost to No. 3 Matt Mariarcher (American), 2-3
Consolation Semifinals - Def. No. 4 Trevor Melde (Rutgers), 3-1
149 - No. 8 Andrew Lenzi - Eighth Place
First Round - Def. Gregory Ott (Princeton), 9-0
Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 1 Kyle Dake (Cornell) FALL 2:08
Consolation Rd. 1 - Def. Zack Kulczyki (Brown), 13-3
Consolation Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 4 Joey Napoli (Lehigh) FALL 4:22
Seventh Place Match - Lost to No. 6 Steve Santos (Columbia), 0-3
157 - Brad Wukie
First Round - Lost to No. 5 D.J. Meagher (Cornell), 8-1
Consolation Rd. 1 - Lost to No. 6 Daniel Kolodzik (Princeton), 11-0
165 - No. 5 Gabriel Burak - Third Place
First Round - Def. Dave Foxen (Brown), 8-2
Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 4 Eren Civan (Columbia), 2-3
Consolation Rd. 1 - Def. Anthony Bongarzone (F&M), 7-2
Consolation Quarterfinals - Def. No. 8 Mason Bailey (Navy), 12-0
Consolation Semifinals - Def. No. 2 Justin Kerber (Cornell), Injury Default (2nd Period)
Third Place Match - Def. No. 6 Patrick Graham (American), 5-2 TB
174 - No. 5 Scott Giffin - Sixth Place
First Round - Def. Jeffrey Lemmer (Brown), 13-2
Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 4 Alex Caruso (Rutgers), 3-4
Consolation Rd. 1 - Def. No. 6 David Thompson (Bucknell), 4-1
Consolation Quarterfinals - Def. No. 8 Colin Wittmeyer (Army), 6-5
Consolation Semifinals - Lost to No. 2 Austin Meys (Lehigh), 10-5
Fifth Place Match - Lost to No. 7 Matt Fullowan (Franklin & Marshall), 7-10
184 - Erich Smith
First Round - Lost to No. 5 Nick Mills (Columbia), 7-7 RT (TB2)
Consolation Prelims - Def. Will Brown (Army), 10-4
Consolation Rd. 1 - Lost to No. 6 Cameron Croy (Harvard), 2-5
197 - No. 2 Micah Burak - Second Place
First Round - Def. Mike Pushpak (Columbia), 6-0
Quarterfinals - Def. No. 7 Peter Huntley (Navy), 10-2
Semifinals - Def. No. 6 Michael Wagner (Rutgers), 4-1
Championship Finals - Lost to No. 1 Cam Simaz (Cornell), 0-1
285 - No. 5 Kyle Cowan - Eighth Place
First Round - Bye
Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 4 Kevin Lester (Columbia), 9-8
Consolation Rd. 1 - Def. Charles Fox (Princeton), 5-1
Consolation Quarterfinals - Lost to No. 8 Andrew Knapp (Harvard), 0-2 (SV2)
Seventh Place Match - Lost to No. 6 Daniel Miller (Navy), 4-5