PHILADELPHIA – The 2015 Keystone Classic is this Sunday in The Palestra, with 13 teams competing in a premier early-season wrestling tournament.
In addition to the host University of Pennsylvania program, No. 21 (Tournament Rankings) Northwestern, Indiana, Pittsburgh, Drexel, Rider, Bloomsburg, Harvard, Franklin & Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Appalachian State, VMI, and Sacred Heart will compete in the tournament.
Last year, four teams competing at this season’s Keystone Classic finished in the Top-30 at NCAAs – Northwestern (No. 15), Pitt (No. 21), Indiana (No. 24), and Rider (No. 27).
Leading up the tournament, PennAthletics.com will preview each weight class and highlight key entrants expected to compete for the title. Today, we close the weight-by-weight previews with 184, 197, and 285 pounds.
184: The home team should be the front-runner at this weight, led by No. 11 Lorenzo Thomas. A 2014 All-American, Thomas is a two-time NCAA qualifier and has made two runs to the final at the Keystone Classic during his career – winning the title in 2013. In his first tournament of the season, he reached the finals at the Bearcat Open, losing to No. 1 Gabe Dean. Eastern Michigan’s Kayne McCollom is the top challenger to Thomas, coming off a second-place finish at the EMU Open.
197: Eastern Michigan’s Anthony Abro is ranked No. 11 this week by InterMat and is a former NCAA qualifier. Those qualifications will likely make him the top seed. Pitt’s Nick Bonaccorsi is a two-time NCAA qualifier, and will factor into the final result. Penn’s Frank Mattiace is a bit of an unknown after a year off from competition, but he is featured in a few national rankings and could re-announce his presence with a win on home mats. Rider’s Ryan Woulfe has bumped up from 174 pounds where he was a NCAA qualifier.
285: No. 12 Denzel Dejournette is the defending Keystone Classic champion for Appalachian State, and is coming off a 2014-15 season where he was the SoCon champion and a NCAA qualifier. This year, he already has a championship at the MSU Open to his credit. Pitt’s Ryan Solomon is ranked No. 19 this week, and is a NCAA qualifier who went 2-2 at NCAAs last year. Northwestern has a long tradition to top-notch heavyweights – look no further than current Penn assistant coach Mike McMullan. The Wildcats look to have another top big man on their squad in Zack Chakonis. The 2015 New Jersey state champion was the top-ranked heavyweight in the country last year according to Intermat.
Wrestling begins at 9 a.m. on Sunday in The Palestra. Tickets are on sale now, and are $10 in advance of the tournament and $15 at the door. Live streaming of the tournament will begin at 5 p.m. on Sunday on the Ivy League Digital Network and continue through the championship finals which are expected to begin at 6 p.m.