PHILADELPHIA – The 2015 Keystone Classic is less than three weeks away, with 13 teams converging upon The Palestra for an action-packed day of wrestling on November 22. Tickets are on sale now for the Keystone Classic, either by purchasing online or by calling the Penn Athletics Ticket Office at (215) 898-6151.
Without question, the highlight weight for the 2015 Keystone Classic is likely to be 149 pounds. Four wrestlers ranked in this week’s InterMat Top-20 at 149 pounds compete for teams entered in the 2015 Keystone Classic – No. 1 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern), No. 4 B.J. Clagon (Rider), No. 8 C.J. Cobb (Penn), and No. 7 Matt Cimato (Drexel).
All four of those wrestlers were NCAA Championships qualifiers last season – with Tsirtsis (third) and Clagon (fifth) reaching All-American status. Penn’s Cobb was a Round of 12 finisher, falling just short to Clagon in a battle for podium status.
Three of that “Group of Four” are local products. Cobb made the short trip from Williamstown, N.J. to Penn for his collegiate career, while Cimato did the same – competing for Drexel after a standout career for La Salle College High School. Rider’s Clagon chose to compete for the Broncs after a stellar prep career for Toms River South High School in New Jersey.
Tsirtsis, an Indiana native, is no stranger to wrestling fans after bursting on to the scene during the 2013-14 season where he was the national championship as a freshman.
Last year at the Keystone Classic, Tsirtsis won his second Keystone championship with a 5-4 win over Dylan Cottrell of Appalachian State. In the semifinals, he had to stave off Clagon in a thrilling 10-8 match. That was the first of three meetings between Tsirtsis and Clagon last season – the other two a pair of 2-1 wins for Tsirtsis at the NCAA Championships in March.
Cobb and Clagon met twice last season, Cobb scoring a 4-2 (SV) win in the dual meet before Clagon pulled off a 5-3 win in the Round of 12 at NCAAs.
This year’s Keystone Classic is slated to include 17 wrestlers ranked this week in the Top-20 of their respective weight classes. In addition to 149, there’s a buzz around 133 pounds where three Top-20 wrestlers – No. 10 Kevin Devoy (Drexel), No. 15 Robert Deutsch (Rider), and No. 17 Caleb Richardson (Penn) – are expected entrants.
The Keystone Classic is always a good precursor to success in March. Last year, 31 wrestlers who competed at the Keystone Classic went on to earn a bid to the NCAA Championships – including three who would go on to be All-Americans. In addition to Tsirtsis and Clagon at 149, Taylor Walsh (Indiana) would go to the national final at 165 pounds following a championship run at the Keystone Classic.
Full weight-by-weight previews of the Keystone Classic will launch in the two weeks leading up to the tournament.