ST. LOUIS With Session Four of the 2008 NCAA Championships set to begin, Penn has two wrestlers in the Round of 12 one win away from All-America status. Ninth-seeded Rollie Peterkin (125 pounds) and unseeded Zack Shanaman (165 pounds) have an opportunity to wrestle all the way back from second round losses to places on the podium.
Updates on each match will be posted upon its completion in bold.
125 pounds Rollie Peterkin’s quest to become an All-American ended in the Round of 12 when James Nicholson scored a takedown 32 seconds into sudden victory for a 5-3 win. Sudden victory came about after Nicholson scored a takedown with 30 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the match, 3-3. Peterkin attempted to flip over out while Nicholson had a hold of leg at the tail end of regulation for an escape or reversal and came very close to executing, but could not escape Nicholson’s grasp.
Peterkin started the scoring with a takedown at the 2:53 mark of the match. With time running out in the first period, Peterkin attacked the upper body and brought Nicholson down to the mat for the early lead. Nicholson managed an escape with 36 seconds left in the second period to get within one. Peterkin matched that escape with one of his own six seconds into the final period, but could not fight off the takedown at the end that sent the match to extra time.
Peterkin, in his first NCAA Championships, won his first bout of the tournament by technical fall, 17-1, over Jonathan Bittinger of Duquesne. In the second round, he was lost to eighth-seeded Brandon Precin from Northwestern. During Friday’s early session, he won two matches a 5-0 decision over Nikko Triggas of Ohio State and a 3-0 decision over Eric Hoffman of North Dakota State.
In the Round of 12, Peterkin will wrestle tenth-seeded James Nicholson of Old Dominion. Nicholson, a redshirt freshman, lost to second-seeded Jayson Ness of Minnesota in the quarterfinals to drop into the wrestlebacks. He had previously won two bouts in the tournament, including an 8-2 win over seventh-seeded Michael Sees of Bloomsburg. Nicholson has won 35 bouts this season and is the Colonial Athletic Association champion.
Shanaman, in his second NCAA Championships, is competing in his first Round of 12. After upsetting seventh-seeded Jake Dieffenbach of Oklahoma State, he fell to tenth-seed Michael Cannon of American in the second round. Already today, Shanaman has won twice defeating Roger Smith-Bergsrud of Illinois, 8-6, and following that up with a 3-1 decision over Ethan Headlee of Pittsburgh.
Shanaman’s opponent in the Round of 12 is Stephen Dwyer, the fifth-seeded wrestler at 165 pounds from Nebraska. Dwyer is a sophomore and has 31 wins this season. In the first round, he defeated Ryan Patrovich of Hofstra, 13-4. He followed that with a 4-2 decision over Jarrod King the 12th seed from Edinboro. Dwyer dropped into the wrestlebacks with a 6-5 loss to Cornell’s Mack Lewnes in a tiebreaker.
A win tonight by either Peterkin or Shanaman guarantees them no-worse than an eighth-place finish and a place on the podium of All-Americans on Saturday night.
Television coverage of Session Four begins at 6 p.m. CST on ESPNU and can also be followed on ESPN360.com. Coverage will focus on the Championship Round, but may feature other Round of 12 bouts as time permits. Penn Athletics will provide updates throughout the evening at www.pennathletics.com and live stats of each match can be found at www.intermatwrestle.com.