Burak to Semis at Midlands, Wrestling With Six Still in Tournament

Midlands Day One Brackets (PDF)

EVANSTON, Ill. -
For the better part of this season, Penn's lower and middle weights had made the most noise for the Quakers. On the first day of the 49th Midlands Championships, it was some of the bigger boys who advanced the farthest for the Red and Blue.

No. 3 seed Micah Burak (197) and unseeded Erich Smith both reached the quarterfinals of the prestigious tournament, with Burak making the next step in convincing fashion to reach the semifinals.

Burak escaped the second round with a 3-2 win in second sudden victory before a 5-1 win the third round. In the quarters, Burak took on familiar foe Daniel Mitchell of American. Mitchell, like Burak, is a Colorado native competing in the EIWA. Last year, Burak defeated Mitchell by fall in the finals of the Keystone Classic with a throw to the pin. This time, Burak went for the takedowns, with four takedowns, three nearfall points and a dominating seven minutes of wrestling for a 12-4 major decision.

On Friday, Burak will have a chance to take down another familiar foe in the semifinals when he meets No. 2 seed Joe Kennedy of Lehigh. Burak dropped a 6-2 decision to Kennedy on Dec. 4 in a dual, but the two have also split a pair of one-point matches in previous meetings.

Burak's work on Thursday, coupled with some bonus points in the night session, helped Penn somewhat erase the sting of the final moments of Session I. Penn ended the afternoon in 21st place, but with wins from five of the six wrestlers in action in the evening session -- including pin points from Bryan Ortenzio and Lorenzo Thomas -- Penn moved ahead of nine teams to end Day One in 12th place with 31.0 points.

The Quakers are one point behind Purdue with two more wrestlers left in the brackets, 1.5 points behind Central Michigan and 2.5 points behind Rutgers, giving the Red ande Blue a legit shot at finishing inside the Top Ten for the first time since 2001 and just the seventh time in program history.

Smith was an upset machine early, defeating No. 11 Cameron Croy of Harvard, 6-5, in the first round and then knocking off No. 6 Tony Dallago of Illinois, 8-5. The win over Croy avenged two losses to the Crimson wrestler last season, including a season-ender at EIWAs. In the quarters, Smith ran into No. 3 seed and national No. 7 Ben Bennett of Central Michigan who used a nine-point second period to run away with a 15-0 technical fall.

The third round of the championship bracket saw two Penn grapplers suffer their first losses of the season. At 133, No. 5 seed Bryan Ortenzio had a 2-1 lead on unseeded Joe Colon of Northern Iowa after the first period, but relinquished the lead via a takedown late in the second period. The takedown allowed was the first of the season by Ortenzio, who battled back to tie the match with a reversal in the third period, but Colon escaped shortly after and held on for a 5-4 win.

Immediately after that match, No. 2 seed Zack Kemmerer was upset by unseeded Luke Goettl of Iowa State, 5-4. After a scoreless first period, Goettl escaped and scored a takedown in the second to build a 3-1 lead. After Kemmerer escaped to start the third, Goettl tripped up Kemmerer on a low single at the 5:26 mark to increase his lead. Kemmerer escaped from that bottom position, but couldn't find the tying score over the final 30 seconds to suffer his first loss of 2011-12.

Both of those wrestlers came back with two wins in wrestlebacks to advance to the Round of 12. Ortenzio scored a 6-4 win over Tyler Keserling of Central Michigan before dominating Derek Malan of Utah Valley, with a quick takedown before throwing in an armbar to a headlock and a fall at 1:16.

For Kemmerer, the first win was a squeaker over Pat Greco of Northwestern, 3-2, but he rallied to defeat the No. 7 seed and national No. 17 Mitchell Port of Edinboro, 7-3.

Freshman Steve Robertson entered the tournament seeded No. 8 and went 3-1 on the day. He won his first bout, 10-8, in sudden victory before falling in the third round, 3-2. He came back then for a 6-3 win over Mark Erickson of North Dakota State before an 10-4 decision over Lehigh's Anthony Salupo.

165-pounder Lorenzo Thomas was seeded No. 12 and is in the Round of 12 after bouncing back with two wins in the wrestlebacks. He highlighted his night with a cradle and fall over Bret Baumbach of Stanford in the consolation fifth round, needing just 0:56 for the fall. Thomas' only loss on the day was a 7-3 decision to No. 5 seed and national No. 8 Bekzod Abdurakhmonov.

#5 Bryan Ortenzio
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. Kyle West (Utah Valley), 7-1
3rd Round: Lost to Joe Colon (Northern Iowa), 5-4
Consi. 4th Round: Def. Tyler Keselring (Central Michigan), 6-4
Consi. 5th Round: Def. Derek Makan (Utah Valley), FALL 1:16

#2 Zack Kemmerer

1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. Tyler Diamond (N. Dakota St.), 8-4
3rd Round: Lost to Luke Goettl (Iowa State), 5-3
Consi. 4th Round: Def. Pat Greco (Northwestern), 3-2
Consi. 5th Round: Def. #7 Mitchell Port (Edinboro), 7-3

#8 Steve Robertson
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. Alex Pellicciotti (Bucknell), 10-8 (SV)
3rd Round: Lost to Caleb Ervin (Illinois), 3-2
Consi. 4th Round: Def. Mark Erickson (N. Dakota St.), 6-3
Consi. 5th Round: Def. Anthony Salupo (Lehigh), 10-4

Troy Hernandez

1st Round: Lost to #7 Donnie Corby (Central Mich.), 1-6
Consi. 1st Round: Lost to Ty Loethen (Northern Illinois), 2-0

#12 Lorenzo Thomas
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. Riley Branch (N. Iowa), 11-2
3rd Round: Lost to #5 Bekzod Abdurakhmonov (Clarion), 7-3
Consi. 4th Round: Def. Tyler Johnson (N. Dakota St.), 5-1
Consi. 5th Round: Def. Bret Baumbach (Stanford), FALL 0:56

Ian Korb
1st Round: Def. Brandon Lintner (Rider), 6-3
2nd Round: Lost to #3 Jordan Blanton (Illinois), FALL 2:42
Consi. 2nd Round: Lost to #Phillip Joseph (Eastern Michigan), 10-4

Erich Smith
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. #11 Cameron Croy (Harvard), 6-5
3rd Round: Def. #6 Tony Dallago (Illinois), 8-5
Quarterfinals: Lost to #3 Ben Bennett (Central Michigan), 15-0

#3 Micah Burak
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Def. Davion Willis (UW-Parkside), 3-2 (SV2)
3rd Round: Def. Jackson Hein (Wisconsin), 5-1
Quarterfinals: Def. #6 Daniel Mitchell (American), 12-4

Anthony DiLonardo
1st Round: Bye
2nd Round: Lost to #11 Quintas McCorkle (Clarion), 5-2
Consi. 2nd Round: Lost to Matt Gibson (Iowa State), 10-2

Download: Session II Final Bracket.pdf