CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – For the first time since 2010, Penn will compete in the Southern Scuffle, this time in a new venue in a new state as the Quakers head to Chattanooga, Tenn. and McKenzie Arena for the 2014 Southern Scuffle Jan. 1-2.
Penn has just three wrestlers in its lineup who have competed previously in a Southern Scuffle – Andrew Lenzi, Harrison Cook and Steven Graziano. That trio went 5-6 in the 2010 edition of the tournament in Greensboro, N.C.
To this point in the 2013-14 season, the Quakers have claimed three individual championships at tournaments, highlighted by Lorenzo Thomas’s win at the Keystone Classic at 184 pounds. Ray Bethea won the 157-pound bracket at the East Stroudsburg Open, joined atop the podium at that tournament by teammate Frank Mattiace who was victorious at 197 pounds.
The field at the Southern Scuffle is expected to be as loaded as a bracket can be without the letters NCAA in front of them. Six of the top eight teams from the 2013 NCAA Tournament are entered, including three-time defending national champion Penn State, runner-up Oklahoma State and third-place finisher Minnesota.
Individually, six of the top-ranked wrestlers at the 10 weight classes are expected to be entered in the tournament with three returning national champions entered in the field.
Lorenzo Thomas is Penn’s highest-ranked wrestler, entering the tournament ranked No. 9 at 184 pounds in the most recent AWN Rankings. A total of seven Top-20 wrestlers are entered at 184 pounds, highlighted by three-time Scuffle champion and two-time NCAA champion Ed Ruth of Penn State.
No. 11 Casey Kent will also have a tough bracket to navigate at 165 pounds, highlighted by three-time NCAA finalist and 2012 national champion David Taylor of Penn State. Kent is 7-2 this season, with one loss coming up a weight at 174 in Penn’s most recent dual against Lehigh. The top four wrestlers in the country are competing at this tournament, with 10 total Top-20 grapplers set to compete.
Freshman Frank Mattiace has spent time inside the Top-20 during the season, but enters the Southern Scuffle just outside. He will have plenty of chances to crack that group this week, with 12 of the Top-20 in the country entered in the Southern Scuffle. The same can be said for fellow freshman Caleb Richardson who is looking to pick up some signature wins as the calendar flips to 2014 in a 125-pound bracket which will feature nine Top-20 wrestlers. Andrew Lenzi also will have a chance to garner national notice at 149, where he will enter a bracket loaded with 10 Top-20 wrestlers.
Penn’s lineup for the 2014 Southern Scuffle
125: Caleb Richardson
133: Ken Bade
141: Jeff Canfora and A.J. Murabito
149: Andrew Lenzi
157: Ray Bethea and Steve Robertson
165: Casey Kent
174: Zach Agostino and Quinton Hiles
184: Lorenzo Thomas
197: Harrison Cook and Frank Mattiace
285: Anthony DiLonardo and Steven Graziano