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PHILADELPHIA - As the calendar reaches closer to November,
the start of the 2012-13 wrestling season draws near for the Penn Quakers. With
the Intrasquad matches set for Saturday and the first official competition of
the season 12 days away at the Binghamton Open, Penn's squadron of grapplers is
ramping up for a new campaign with many chances for success to be had and
legacies to be defined.
This past week has seen the release of numerous national
polls, and according to the prognosticators, the Quakers have two wrestlers
strong preseason choices to make noise at the national level - Micah Burak and
Burak, a returning All-American at 197 pounds, enters the
2012-13 season as the presumptive fifth-ranked wrestler at 197. InterMat, Amateur Wrestling News, W.I.N. Magazine, D1CollegeWrestling and
WrestlingReport.com all have Burak - who finished seventh at the weight at the
2012 NCAA Championships - ranked No. 5 heading into the season. Burak is 76-24
overall in his career, and a three-time finalist at the EIWA Championships. The
No. 1 wrestler at 197 is Kent State's Dustin Kilgore, a wrestler Burak
defeated, 6-4, during the 2010-11 season when Kilgore was also ranked No. 1 in
Another senior for the Quakers, Mark Rappo, enters the
season ranked firmly inside the Top-15 nationally. Ranked No. 13 by InterMat,
No. 14 by Amateur Wrestling News, No.
12 by D1CollegeWrestling and No. 14 by WrestlingReport.com, Rappo is in good
position to re-establish himself after a 2010-11 season where he was runner-up
at EIWAs and knocked off the No. 9 seed at NCAAs in his first trip to the
national tournament. Rappo is no stranger to the majority of wrestlers he will
have to contend with this season on then national level - he is 4-3 against
wrestlers inside the Top-20 to start the season, the three losses either in
overtime or by injury default.
Both Burak and Rappo enter the season as the top-ranked
wrestlers in the national rankings among EIWA grapplers. In AWN's
preseason EIWA outlook, Burak and Rappo were both ranked No. 1. While the
Quakers have not officially set their lineup, AWN also has projected Canaan Bethea as No. 4 at 184, Kyle Cowan as
No. 5 at 285, Steve Robertson as No. 5 at 157, Jeff Canfora as No. 6 at 133,
C.J. Cobb as No. 6 at 141 and Ian Korb as No. 7 at 174 as Quakers predicted to
place at the conference tournament.
The Red and Blue as a team are one of three Ivy League
teams ranked inside the Top-30 of the three major Tournament Power Index polls
which predicts NCAA Tournament points based on preseason rankings.
WrestlingReport.com has the Quakers predicted for a 27th-place
finish at NCAAs, while W.I.N. Magazine has
Penn tied for 28th and InterMat has the Quakers tied for 29th.