Photos from Penn Wrestling on Facebook
PRINCETON - On a day that was filled with extreme highs and one unexpected low, Penn finds itself in fourth place at the 2012 EIWA Championships after a midday rush which saw five Quakers reach the semifinals.
Two wrestlers advanced to the finals - giving Penn multiple finalists for the third consecutive year - and putting the Quakers in position to claim their first individual champion since 2008.
Senior Bryan Ortenzio lived up to his No. 2 seed, winning three matches to advance to his first EIWA title bout. He will be joined in the championship round Sunday afternoon by fellow No. 2 seed Micah Burak who stormed to his third consecutive conference championship match.
The two title seekers are part of a group of nine Penn wrestlers left to sort out the team race on Saturday, leaving the Quakers just one of three teams with more than seven wrestlers remaining. Penn, which is fourth after Day One with 81 points, is 1.5 points ahead of Navy and 7.5 points behind third-place American. Cornell holds the top spot with 136.5 points, leading Lehigh which has 119 points.
Ortenzio won his 100th career match in the first round, posting a 15-0 technical fall on Franklin & Marshall's Robert Ruiz. That win was a bit of retribution for Ortenzio as he was defeated in the first round of the 2010 EIWAs by a F&M wrestler, knocking him from title contention.
Bolstered by his dominant first round, Ortenzio kept his momentum against Cornell's No. 7 Naryman Arujau in the quarterfinals. After a scoreless first period, Ortenzio escaped in the second towards the end of the period, negating Arujau's riding time advantage. In the third Period, Ortenzio scored the winning takedown with ten seconds left to eliminate the Big Red wrestler.
Faced with another rival opponent, No. 3 Mason Beckman of Lehigh, Ortenzio punched his ticket to the final with a 4-1 win. Again scoreless after one period, Ortenzio escaped in the second and finished a scramble to build a 3-0 lead. Ortenzio was twice called for stalling in the third period while working to keep Beckman down, but the work paid off in a riding time point and a trip to his first conference title bout.
A wrestler who is making trip to the EIWA finals common place is Micah Burak. With a 2-1 win over No. 3 Joe Kennedy of Lehigh, Burak advanced to his third consecutive EIWA final. Burak broke a scoreless tie with an escape early in the second period and controlled the first half of the third period to build a 1:05 edge in riding time. Kennedy escaped with less than a minute to go, but Burak defended nicely and moved on to the title round. Tomorrow, Burak will meet No. 1 seed Cam Simaz of Cornell for the third straight EIWA final. Simaz has won both championship encounters - part of a 7-0 edge in the all-time series - but Burak will get one more shot at him.
Three other Penn wrestlers had a shot at reaching the finals, but were denied in the semifinals. The most heartbreaking of the three losses came at 141 pounds where No. 1 seed Zack Kemmerer was ruled to have his shoulders on the mat from neutral position and eliminated via fall at 3:54 of his semifinal bout with No. 5 seed Matt Mariarcher of American. Kemmerer had a 2-1 lead over the defending EIWA champ at the time after a first period takedown, but a Mariarcher shot forced Kemmerer up in the air early in the second. During the scramble, Mariarcher pushed back on Kemmerer and the fall was called.
Sophomore Steven Graziano saw his undefeated streak come to an end with a loss by fall to No. 2 seed Zach Rey of Lehigh in a semifinal at heavyweight. Graziano had extended his winning streak to ten consecutive matches with two wins earlier in the day, but the defending national champion took over in the third period to lock in the fall at 6:42.
True freshman and No. 5 seed Steve Robertson also reached the semifinals, doing everything but get the win over No. 8 Kevin Tao of American at 149 pounds. After an 8-4 win over No. 4 seed Steve Santos of Columbia in the quarterfinals, Robertson was defeated on riding time by Tao in the semis. The bout was scoreless through two periods, but Tao accumulated two minutes of riding time with a full second period of control. Tao then escaped to start the third period, but Robertson quickly took him down to get back in the match. Tao escaped again to make the match 2-2 on the scoreboard and when a Robertson shot in the final seconds was denied, the 1:36 of riding time was the difference.
All three wrestlers downed in the semifinals will wrestle on Sunday morning with a chance to finish as high as third place. They will be joined by four other Penn wrestlers in the wrestleback matches, all adding valuable team points and earning a spot on the podium in the process.
Erich Smith was unseeded at 184 pounds entering the tournament, and after an opening-round loss to defending champion No. 2 Robert Hamlin of Lehigh he has bounced back with two wins to keep his chances of an NCAA Championships bid alive. He dominated both of his matches, with a 9-2 win over No. 8 Shane Hughes of Columbia and a 13-2 win over Sacred Heart's Zachary Moran. On Sunday, if he can defeat No. 3 Luke Rebertus of Navy, Smith will automatically earn a trip to NCAAs.
Three Penn wrestlers will compete for seventh place on Sunday, including unseeded Troy Hernandez at 157 pounds. In his first EIWA appearance, Hernandez bounced back from a first round loss by fall to two-time NCAA champ Kyle Dake (Cornell) with two wins before a loss to No. 6 Jake O'Hara of Columbia denied his magical run to NCAAs. Hernandez added to the team score with a 12-4 major decision over Brown's Zachary Kulczycki and an 8-3 win over No. 7 Jimmy Rafferty of Army.
Two true freshmen will place at their first EIWAs in Lorenzo Thomas and Ian Korb. Seeded No. 8 at 174 pounds, Korb won his first bout, 4-0 over Sacred Heart's Jon Rizzitello, before losing in the quarters to top seed Greg Zannetti of Rutgers. Korb rallied with a 16-5 major decision over Princeton's Andy Lowy before losing to Cornell's No. 5 Billy George, 7-4.
Thomas dropped his first match, 5-2, to No. 5 Corey Lear of Bucknell at 165 pounds, but came back with pin points in wrestlebacks with a fall at 6:20 over Harvard's Ian Roy. He then was defeated by No. 8 Mason Bailey of Navy, 8-5, and will meet No. 7 Eren Civan of Columbia for seventh place.
Unseeded Karim Shafi was defeated by No. 6 Vincent Dellafave of Rutgers in the first round at 125 pounds, suffering an injury in the process which forced him to default out of the tournament.
Day Two of the 108th EIWA Championships begins at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning with the consolation semifinals. The third, fifth and seventh-place matches will begin at 11 a.m. The championship finals will begin at 3 p.m.
125 - Karim Shafi
First Round: Lost to #6 Vincent Dellafave (Rutgers), 12-0
Consolation Second Round: Default
133 - #2 Bryan Ortenzio
First Round: Def. Robert Ruiz (F&M), 15-0 (4:48)
Quarterfinals: Def. #7 Naryman Arujau (Cornell), 3-1
Semifinals: Def. #3 Mason Beckman (Lehigh), 4-1)
141 - #1 Zack Kemmerer
First Round: Def. Matt Bystol (Columbia), 13-2
Quarterfinals: Def. #8 Richard Durso (F&M), 3-2
Semifinals: Lost to #5 Matt Mariarcher (American) FALL 3:54
149 - #5 Steve Robertson
First Round: Def Ricky Bailey (Brown), 10-4
Quarterfinals: Def. #4 Steve Santos (Columbia), 8-4
Semifinals: Lost to #8 Kevin Tao (American), 3-2
157 - Troy Hernandez
First Round: Lost to #1 Kyle Dake (Cornell), FALL 1:11
Consolation First Round: Def. Zack Kulczycki (Brown), 12-4
Consolation Second Round: Def. #7 Jimmy Rafferty (Army), 8-3
Consolation Quarters: Lost to #6 Jake O'Hara (Columbia), 5-3
165 - #4 Lorenzo Thomas
First Round: Bye
Quarterfinals: Lost to #5 Corey Lear (Bucknell), 5-2
Consolation Second Round: Def. Ian Roy (Harvard), FALL 6:20
Consolation Quarters: Lost to #8 Mason Bailey (Army), 8-5
174 - #8 Ian Korb
First Round: Def. Jon Rizzitello (Sacred Heart), 4-0
Quarterfinals: Lost to #1 Greg Zannetti (Rutgers), 3-2
Consolation Second Round: Def. Andy Lowy (Princeton), 16-5
Consolation Quarters: Lost to #5 William George (Cornell), 7-4
184 - Erich Smith
First Round: Lost to #2 Robert Hamlin (Lehigh), 7-1
Consolation Second Round: Def. #8 Shane Hughes (Columbia), 9-2
Consolation Quarters: Def. Zachary Moran (Sacred Heart), 13-2
197 - #2 Micah Burak
First Round: Def. Colin Ely (F&M), 10-4
Quarterfinals: Def #7 Derek Stanley (Army), 7-3
Semifinals: Def. #3 Joe Kennedy (Lehigh), 2-1
285 - #3 Steven Graziano
First Round: Def. David Ng (Harvard), 3-2
Quarterfinals: Def. #6 Daniel Miller (Navy), 3-2
Semifinals: Lost to #2 Zach Rey (Lehigh) FALL 6:42
Download: Day One Brackets.pdf