Head coach Rob Eiter enters his 5th season at the helm of the Quakers
Wrestling Opens 2012-13 at Binghamton Open
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Penn Match Notes
PHILADELPHIA - For the third season in a row, Penn opens a wrestling season with a returning All-American looking to make a climb back onto the podium in March as the 2012-13 campaign begins this weekend in New York at the Binghamton Open on Nov. 11.
Micah Burak, widely chosen as the No. 5-ranked wrestler at 197 pounds entering this season, will look to build on his seventh-place finish at 197 at the 2012 NCAA Championships as he leads a Penn team into one of the most challenging schedules in the country.
The Quakers return 13 different wrestlers who have seen extensive time in the starting lineup over the last two seasons for 2012-13, including three who have competed at the NCAA Championships. Nine of the returning starters have represented Penn at the EIWA Championships, and five have earned All-Ivy honors.
Burak is one of five wrestlers set to lead the Quakers as captain this season, joined by Mark Rappo, Troy Hernandez, Mark Pinero and Steve Robertson. All have picked up big wins for the Quakers during their careers, and each will be counted on to do so again this campaign.
Seven newcomers join the Red and Blue for 2012-13, including six freshmen and one transfer. The group boats numerous state championships in Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey, Virginia and Maryland as well as high finishes in the Pennsylvania and California state tournaments as well as recognition on the national level in both freestyle and Greco-Roman. The group will challenge for starting positions early and adds tremendous depth to the Penn lineup in the middle weights.
In between the veterans and the newcomers is a crop of wrestlers who have varying levels of familiarity with Penn fans due to limited time on the mats dealing with injury. Names such as C.J. Cobb, Canaan Bethea and Kyle Cowan have been on the winning side of matches frequently during their starts on the mat, but missed all or most of last season.
Penn's grapplers will travel the country this season, traversing a top-notch schedule which features duals against four of the preseason Top-25 and tournament meetings with many more. The Quakers will look to wrestle back atop the Ivy League standings for the first time since 2001-02, building on a run of ten consecutive second-place finishes inside the Ivy League. In the preseason EIWA Rankings as determined by a vote of the conference's coaches, Penn was selected No. 5 after tabulating the probable conference tournament points based on preseason rankings at each weight. Last year, Penn was fourth at EIWAs with one champion (Bryan Ortenzio) and another finalist in Micah Burak.
2012-13 Penn Wrestling Weight-by-Weight
125: After a year away from the mats, Mark Rappo returns to his starting spot at 125 for the Quakers. An NCAA qualifier in 2011, Rappo enters his senior season with a 57-23 overall record. Featured in most every preseason poll, Rappo has been ranked right in the No. 13-16 region at 125, with a 4-3 record against wrestlers ranked ahead of him. The preseason No. 1 inside the EIWA, Rappo is an early favorite to secure Penn's sixth EIWA crown at 125 - and fifth since 2001. Backing up Rappo will be Eric Friedman, a four-time Maryland state champion who went 187-30 during his high school career - including four placewinner finishes at National Preps.
133: The graduation of EIWA champion Bryan Ortenzio has the starting spot at 133 up for grabs. Geoffrey Bostany has wrestled at 133 in the past for the Quakers and is 5-6 overall in duals. Sophomore Jeff Canfora was 3-4 at 133 last season before suffering an injury. He entered his collegiate career as the No. 12-ranked 135-pounder out of high school and No. 83 overall recruit in the country. Friedman is also in the mix at 133.
141: Another stalwart in the Penn lineup graduated last May in 2011 All-American Zack Kemmerer, leaving the lineup spot open at 141 for the first time in recent memory. A traditionally strong weight for the Quakers, a trio of fresh faces are primed to carry the tradition. C.J. Cobb was 6-2 in his one tournament last season, finishing fourth at the Binghamton Open at 133 before suffering a season-ending injury. His only two losses were to eventual All-American Steven Keith, with one of his wins a 10-6 decision over No. 18 Joe Stanzione of Cornell. In 2011, Cobb was the No. 11-ranked 145-pounder and No. 73 overall of all recruits. Expected to contribute at 125, Eric DeVos experienced a big growth spurt over the summer and is now in the mix at 141. The 2010 Iowa state champion at 119 and a two-time state champion in Minnesota as a seventh and eighth-grader, DeVos had 270 prep wins - ranking him inside the top-10 all-time of Iowa high schoolers. California state qualifier A.J. Murabito adds to the crop looking to set their own course at 141 for the Quakers.
149: One of the most hotly-contested weights in the room, 149 features five wrestlers angling for the starting nod. In 2010-11, Andrew Lenzi was second-team All-Ivy and finished eighth at EIWAs as part of a 17-16 rookie season. Lenzi missed all of last year, but returns looking to build on a 5-2 record in his last seven dual matches of 2011. Mark Pinero was 12-7 in his freshman season, splitting time between 141 and 149. Nine of his 12 wins came with bonus points, including six falls. Freshman Brooks Martino graduated from Robinson Secondary with a 160-28 record and a pair of Virginia AAA state championships. Junior Jordan Michelson was 3-6 last season at 149, two wins with bonus points. A wild card in the mix is Charlie Lynch. The sophomore missed all of last season with injury and, if healthy, adds a dangerous weapon for Penn at this weight. Before coming to Penn, Lynch was a 2011 National Prep champion at 145 pounds, earning No. 67 overall and No. 10 at his weight ranking as a prep wrestler. His National Prep title in '11 came via a 17-1 technical fall and capped a 60-0 senior season.
157: Another weight where Penn has added to its depth - and thus its competition level is 157. Troy Hernandez, the starter in 2011-12, finished eighth at EIWAs and has 22 career wins. 2012 NCAA qualifier and EIWA sixth-place finisher at 149 pounds Steve Robertson has moved up to 157 this season, and will give Hernandez a battle for the starting position. Robertson was 23-10 as a freshman and earned honorable mention All-Ivy distinction. The lone freshman in the mix at 157 is a familiar name to Penn wrestling fans, Ray Bethea. The younger brother of current 184-poundr Canaan and former Penn grappler Erin, Ray Bethea was the 2012 New Jersey state champion at 152 pounds and graduated with a 132-11 high school record.
165: 2010-11 starter at 165 Brad Wukie returns to the lineup after missing last season with injury. Wukie was thrown into the fire quickly in his rookie season, wrestling five matches inside the top-18, and looks to bounce back in his second season on the mats for the Quakers. Two newcomers to the Penn lineup will also factor into the lineup at 165 in Pennsylvania natives Adam Morris and Casey Kent. A transfer from Binghamton, Morris sat out all of last season, and was a former fifth-place finisher at Prep Nationals while at Wyoming Seminary. Kent, a graduate of LaSalle College High School, qualified for PIAA states four times, with high finishes of third in both 2010 and 2012.
174: Again, depth and competition are sure to bring out the best in the Quakers at this weight. Ian Korb finished eighth at EIWAs last season at 174, posting a 16-17 record as a true freshman. Harrison Cook missed all of last season, but has spent two seasons as a starter at 184 with a 23-30 overall record at that weight. Zach Agostino has battled injuries his entire career, but will slide in at 174 if healthy this season. Mike Steltenkamp is an experienced, veteran upperweight who could earn time at either 174 or 184.
184: Canaan Bethea missed the entire first semester last season, but returned for a 9-2 record to close out the season as the primary backup at 184. He claimed the titles at the Wilkes Open and Ashland Open, scoring two falls and two tech falls along the way. Cook and Steltenkamp could bump up if needed as well.
197: When you have Micah Burak penciled in again as starter, things are pretty secure at a weight. A three-time EIWA finalist, Burak is looking to take that one final step in his senior season. Longtime nemesis Cam Simaz has graduated from Cornell, making Burak the man to beat inside the EIWA as the preseason No. 1 choice. 76-24 overall entering the season, Burak went 5-2 at NCAAs last March to earn seventh place.
285: Kyle Cowan returns to the mat after a year away, looking to pick up where his 2010-11 Ivy League Rookie of the Year season left off. The Keystone Classic champion in 2010 and eighth-place finisher at EIWAs, Cowan is as explosive as it gets at heavyweight, finally growing into the weight class after spending his rookie season at the lower end of the weight scale for the heavyweight division. While Cowan was out with injury, Steven Graziano wrestled to unanimous first-team All-Ivy honors as part of an 18-9 season. He was sixth at EIWAs, and came through with many clutch wins for the Quakers in the dual season. Anthony DiLonardo battled a brutal schedule for a freshman heavyweight last season, managing to pick up five wins along the way. That experience should pay off for DiLonardo in his sophomore season.