#25 Wrestling Heads to Harvard and Brown

Penn vs. Harvard Notes

Penn vs. Brown Notes

PHILADELPHIA – With last Saturday’s sweep of three matches at The Palestra in the rear-view mirror, Penn travels to New England this weekend for a pair of matches against Ivy League rivals Harvard (Fri., 7 p.m.) and Brown (Sat., 2 p.m.)

The Quakers snapped a three-match losing streak with the perfect day last weekend, regaining precious momentum as they head into the Ivy portion of their schedule leading up to the EIWA Championships. The Red and Blue haven’t won an Ancient Eight crown in five years, following a span that saw Penn win at least a share of the Ivy title in eight of nine seasons from 1993-2002.

If head coach Zeke Jones’ team is to recapture the title, a 2-0 record at the end of wrestling on Saturday will be a good start.

Friday night, Penn travels to Cambridge for a meet with Harvard. The injury-depleted Crimson have struggled through the dual-meet portion of their season. Harvard sits at 0-6-1, with the tie coming in their last match against Boston University, 21-21. The match featured three forfeits due to injury, two by the Crimson. One of those forfeits was at 141 pounds. This week, Harvard will insert Robbie Preston into their lineup at that weight class, his first action of the 2007-08 season. Preston is a former EIWA champion at 125 pounds and was third at EIWAs at 133 pounds last season.

The key battle of the day will be at 149 pounds, where Penn’s #14-ranked Cesar Grajales suddenly finds himself in the underdog role. His opponent will be #2-ranked J.P. O’Connor. The sophomore, who finished fifth at 149 pounds at the NCAAs last year, set Harvard’s record for most wins in a season by a freshman with 37 victories in 06-07. Something has to give in this bout, as both men enter on winning streaks. Neither man has lost in the calendar year of 2008, with Grajales winning ten straight matches to O’Connor’s seven. Grajales has lost three bouts this season, all to opponents ranked higher than himself. O’Connor has only dropped one bout in his sophomore campaign. The common denominator in those losses? N.C. State’s Darrion Caldwell. He defeated both Grajales and O’Connor at the Cliff Keen Invite in Las Vegas. Luckily for these two, Caldwell won’t be at the Malkin Athletic Center on Friday. This bout will probably decide the top-seed at the upcoming EIWA Championships, as O’Connor enters ranked first in the EIWA with Grajales right behind him in second position.

After the dual with Harvard, Penn travels down to the Ocean State for an afternoon match with Brown. The Bears are 4-6 on the season as of Friday. Brown hosts Princeton and Boston University Friday night in Providence. This will not be the first time that wrestlers from Penn and Brown have met on the mats this season. Brown came to Penn in November to participate in the 2007 Keystone Classic and both teams were in Las Vegas for the Cliff Keen Invitational Nov. 30 - Dec. 1. Bryan Ortenzio defeated Jeff Schell at 133 pounds via a 5-1 decision at the Keystone. Zack Shanaman defeated Christopher Musser, 6-2, at the Cliff Keen in Las Vegas. Also in Vegas, Lior Zamir scored a major decision with an 18-5 win over Matt Gevelinger. Heavyweight Trey McLean has seen both of Brown's 285-pounders. He defeated Zach Zdrada, 6-4, in the first round of the Keystone before falling to Levon Mock in the finals of the same tournament, dropping a major decision, 12-3.

Here are the probable matchups for Friday’s match:

#25 Penn vs. Harvard

125 lbs. - #8 Rollie Peterkin (19-2) vs. Dan Kelly (3-8)

133 lbs. - Bryan Ortenzio (13-12) or

Phil Boyer (3-3) vs. Tommy Picarasic (2-2)

141 lbs. - Andrew Valenti (6-7) or

Rick Rappo (12-7) vs. Robbie Preston (0-0)

149 lbs. - #14 Cesar Grajales (23-3) vs. #2 J.P. O’Connor (16-1)

157 lbs. - Rob Hitschler (12-3) vs. Bobby Latessa (8-8)

165 lbs. - #17 Zack Shanaman (17-6) vs. Matt Button (9-8)

174 lbs. - Jeff Zannetti (8-6) or Patrick Ziemnick (0-6) or

Scott Giffin (16-6) vs. Andy Olson (4-2)

184 lbs. - Lior Zamir (15-7) vs. Fred Rowsey (4-2)

197 lbs. - Thomas Shovlin (8-6) or

Dan Zander (7-6) or Jonathan Butler (2-6) or

Colin Hitschler (11-5) vs. Billy Colgan (3-2)

Hwt. - Trey McLean (14-8) vs. Andrew Knapp (4-11)

#25 Penn vs. Brown

125 lbs. - #8 Rollie Peterkin (19-2) vs. Nathan Myers (1-4) or

Mike Piccirillo (1-7)

133 lbs. - Bryan Ortenzio (13-11) or

Phil Boyer (3-3) vs. Jeff Schell (15-7)

141 lbs. - Andrew Valenti (6-7) or

Rick Rappo (12-7) vs. Mark Savino (7-12)

149 lbs. - #14 Cesar Grajales (23-3) vs. Mark Bloom (10-11)

157 lbs. - Rob Hitschler (12-3) vs. Tom Fazio (9-12)

165 lbs. - #17 Zack Shanaman (17-6) vs. Chris Musser (7-11)

174 lbs. - Jeff Zannetti (8-6) or

Scott Giffin (16-6) vs. Kasey McCurdy (0-10)

184 lbs. - Lior Zamir (15-7) vs. Matt Gevelinger (10-7)

197 lbs. - Thomas Shovlin (8-6) or

Dan Zander (7-6) or Branden Stearns (12-9)

Colin Hitschler (11-5) vs. Leo Saniuk (0-1)

Hwt. - Trey McLean (14-8) vs. Levon Mock (8-6) or

Zach Zdrada (7-8)