No. 23 Wrestling Hosts Princeton/Drexel to Close Regular Season
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PHILADELPHIA - The final weekend of the regular season will see No. 23 Penn host a pair of foes familiar to fans of Penn Athletics - Princeton and Drexel. Saturday's dual with the Tigers (1 p.m.) will be Senior Day for the Class of 2013, while Sunday (1 p.m.) will see a rivalry rekindled as the Quakers and Dragons meets for the first time in a dual since 2007.
The Red and Blue are 8-3 in dual meets this season and 4-1 in the friendly confines of The Palestra. A pair of wins over the weekend will give head coach Rob Eiter his fourth double-digit win season in five years at the helm of the Quakers and first since 2010-11.
The Quakers will honor their four members of the senior class before Saturday's dual. One member of the class was a freshman during Eiter's first season as head coach in 2008-09, while the other three were a part of Eiter's first recruiting class to join the Quakers in 2009-10.
Micah Burak enters his final weeks of competition for Penn with an 86-26 record. Last season, Burak finished seventh at the NCAA Championships to become Penn's 26th All-American. He is a three-time EIWA finalist and three-time NCAA qualifier who has earned three second-team All-Ivy selections. He enters his final two matches at The Palestra ranked No. 8 by Amateur Wrestling News.
Mark Rappo has been a three-year starter at 125 for the Quakers, spending his last two seasons as a fixture in the national rankings. A 2011 EIWA finalist and NCAA qualifier, Rappo has twice been named second-team All-Ivy and was Academic All-Ivy and NWCA All-Academic in 2011. Rappo has accumulated a record of 75-33 over his career, including 24 bonus-point wins.
Troy Hernandez has started at 157 for each of the last two seasons, with 30 career wins for the Quakers. Last season, Hernandez was 2-2 at the EIWA Championships to earn eighth place at 157 pounds.
Mike Steltenkamp has bounced back to compete for the Quakers each of the last two seasons after missing the 2010-11 season with injury. This November, he made his first collegiate dual meet start at 197 pounds against No. 3 Oklahoma State. Recently, he was featured with a profile story in Penn Engineering magazine on his work off the mat in School of Engineering and Applied Science.
Penn enters its match with Princeton on a 21-meet winning streak against the Tigers and the Quakers have not lost to their archrival since Feb. 23, 1991. The Red and Blue are 10-0 inside The Palestra during the streak, including a 37-10 win in the last meeting in Philly in 2011. Penn's probable starters against the Tigers are 17-8 all-time, highlighted by 3-0 records for Micah Burak, Steven Graziano and Mark Rappo.
Canaan Bethea will be looking for his first win against a Princeton wrestler this weekend. He is 0-3 all-time, but has not taken on a Tiger this season. His opponent, Scott Gibbons, is 19-15 this season, and the match on Saturday will provide some final clarity on EIWA Championships seeding heading to the postseason.
On Sunday, Penn and its neighbor in University City, Drexel, will renew a rivalry that has been dormant since 2007. The Dragons are 8-11 in dual meets this season, and 1-3 against opponents in common with the Quakers. Drexel defeated Hofstra, 22-16, on Dec. 2 - the same day Penn downed the Pride, 21-12.
Frank Cimato is the highest-ranked Dragon wrestler, coming in this week at No. 19 by AWN at 141 pounds. He is 28-7 this season, with wins in seven of his last eight matches. At 197 pounds, Drexel also will send out No. 19 Brandon Palik. The junior is 23-3 this season, and has won 13 consecutive matches - his last defeat coming on Nov. 24.
The all-time series between Penn and Drexel is as tight as can be, with the record 11-11-1 over 23 meetings. The Quakers have won the last 10 matchups and all 11 of their wins have come over the past 12 meetings. The last dual between the two schools came on Feb. 2, 2007 - a 22-17 win for the Quakers in The Palestra. No. 14 Penn held just a 19-17 lead entering the final bout of the dual, but All-American and No. 9 Matt Herrington scored a 5-3 decision for the win.
On both days, Penn will be wearing gold shoelaces to support the "Lace-Up 4 Pediatric Cancer" awareness campaign run by the Go4TheGoal Foundation. For more information, click here. Admission is free to both duals.
No. 23 Penn Probables
125: No. 14 Mark Rappo (18-4)
133: Jeff Canfora (8-6)
141: No. 9 C.J. Cobb (18-6) or Eric Friedman (2-6)
149: Andrew Lenzi (20-10)
157: Troy Hernandez (8-11)
165: Casey Kent (20-10)
174: Ian Korb (18-11)
184: Canaan Bethea (20-7)
197: No. 8 Micah Burak (10-2) or Harrison Cook (4-10)
285: Steven Graziano (16-11)
125: Max Rogers (5-15)
133: Andrew Hirai (5-15)
141: Kevin Moylan (12-6)
149: Zach Bintliff (18-11)
157: Brandon Rolnick (3-5)
165: Judd Ziegler (12-16)
174: Ryan Callahan (10-8)
184: Scott Gibbons (19-15)
197: Dan Santoro (8-9)
285: Cole Lampman (5-9)
125: Jacob Goodwin (9-10)
133: Clayton Lutzow (7-15) or Jordan Hart (1-7)
141: No. 19 Frank Cimato (23-7)
149: Joshua Yurasits (2-8)
157: Noel Blanco (5-9) or Austin Sommer (9-6)
165: Connor Moran (12-13)
174: Kevin Matyas (7-10)
184: Bryan Sternlieb (11-16)
197: Brandon Palik (19-3)
285: Jon Max Wright (8-17)