Hampton, Va. - It all came down to the last match. And what a match it was. Senior captain Paul Velekei , a 197 pounder, took on the task of wrestling Indiana's heavyweight Dave Herman in the finals at the Virginia Duals. Herman won the 3-2 bout with riding time to give Indiana a 18-15 victory and the Virginia Duals title. The Hoosiers snapped Penn's five-match win streak, but the Red and Blue's second-place finish is its highest in program history at the duals.
"Our kids gave a great effort and I'm very pleased with how we competed today," said Head Coach Zeke Jones. "Mike Silengo almost defeated the toughest kid in the nation in his weight class, and that shows how hard he works. Gene Zannetti was a dagger in the heart of Indiana, and his win put us in the driver seat. Even though Valeki lost his match, he put his heart and soul into his effort.
"Our performance at this tournament gives us great momentum heading into the rest of the season," he continued. "I feel like we are ready to show everyone what we can do."
Senior Mike Silengo had the toughest challenge of the night, wrestling the No. 1 wrestler at 125 pounds - Joe Dubuque. The two were all tied up at the end of regulation and Dubuque scored a takedown on the edge of the mat at the end of overtime to take the match, 12-10. Junior Matt Valenti defeated Andrei Herandez, 6-3, to tie the score 3-3. Valenti is ranked seventh in the nation and won his 18th match of the season, his opponent is ranked as high as16th. TheQuakers took the lead, 6-3, when freshman Cesar Grajales defeated Nick Spatola, 5-3, at 141 pounds. Rookie Matt Dragon added to the Penn lead with an 8-4 win at 149 pounds.
Junior Gene Zannetti came up with one of the biggest wins of the night, upsetting No. 4 Brandon Becker, 9-7, at 157 pounds. Zannetti secure the win with two takedowns in the third period. Sophomore Lior Zamir lost a tough match at 165 pounds, 5-1 to No. 19 Max Dean. Thispulled theHoosiers within 12-6. But a 12-5 win for Matt Herrington at 174 pounds put Penn up 15-6 heading into the final three bouts.
The Hoosiers would take the final three matches, but not without a fight from the Quakers. Senior captain Dustin Wiles lost a tough match, 3-2, to Justin Curran. Freshman Jack Sullivan wreslted at 197 pounds and was pinned by Brady Richardson, the No. 8 ranked wrestler in the nation.
Penn (6-2) will travel to Chapel Hill, N.C. to take on UNC and The Citadel on Saturday, Jan. 21. The first match against the Bulldogs will begin at noon.
125 Mike Silengo lost to No. 1 Joe Dubuque, 12-10 OT
133 No. 7 Matt Valenti def. No. 16 Andrae Hernandez, 6-3
141 Cesar Grajales def. Nick Spatola, 5-3
149 Matt Dragon def. Matt Cooper, 8-4
157 No. 19 Gene Zannetti def. No. 4 Brandon Becker, 9-7
165 Lior Zamir lost to No. 19 Max Dean, 5-1
174 Matt Herrington def. Marc Bennett, 12-5
184 No. 15 Dustin Wiles lost to Justin Curran, 3-2
197 Jack Sullivan lost to No. 8 Brady Richardson, F;1:07
285 Paul Veleki lost to Dave Herman, 3-2