PHILADLPHIA The Ivy League announced the selections to the 2008 All-Ivy Wrestling Team on Thursday, and Penn was honored with nine selections highlighted by three unanimous first-team selections. Rick Rappo (141 lbs.), Zack Shanaman (165 lbs.) and Lior Zamir (184 lbs.) all were recognized as first-team All-Ivy performers by the Ancient Eight’s head coaches. Other Quakers on the team are second-teamers Rollie Peterkin (125 lbs.), Cesar Grajales (149 lbs.), Jeff Zannetti (174 lbs.) and Trey McLean (heavyweight). Two Penn grapplers were named honorable mention All-Ivy Bryan Ortenzio (133 lbs.) and Rob Hitschler (157 lbs.)
Eleven of the 29 men honored by the Ivy League are currently ranked in the top-20 in their weight class in the latest USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I polls. The group is highlighted by second-ranked 149 pounder J.P. O’Connor of Harvard. The sophomore is 21-1 on the season and 5-0 in Ivy bouts. He was unanimously selected as Ivy League Wrestler of the Year. Mike Grey, a freshman 133 pounder at Cornell, is currently ranked second in his weight class and was a unanimous selection as Ivy League Rookie of the Year.
Penn’s group of honorees is led by Shanaman, a two-time first-team selection. He is currently ranked 18th in the country at 165 pounds with a 21-6 record. He went 3-0 in Ivy bouts and is currently ranked fourth in the latest EIWA rankings.
Joining Shanaman on the first team is Zamir, one of Penn’s tri-captains. Zamir was previously named honorable mention All-Ivy in 2006. He is currently ranked 16th at 184 pounds nationally and second in the EIWA with a record of 19-7, including 4-0 in Ivy matches.
Rappo has put together a fine season at 141 pounds after wrestling everywhere from 133 pounds to 149 in his first two seasons for the Red and Blue. He is 17-7 with a 5-0 mark in Ivy bouts. This is his first selection as All-Ivy.
Grajales, a junior and one of Penn’s tri-captains, is back on the All-Ivy team after sitting out most of last season. His second-team selection in 2008 improves upon his honorable mention status earned in 2006. He has been ranked in the top-20 since late November, achieving a high ranking of 13. He is currently ranked 15th at 149 pounds based on his 27-5 record, which includes four wins to just one loss in Ivy matches. His lone Ivy loss was a 1-0 decision at the hands of O’Connor on February 8.
Joining Grajales on the second team is Peterkin. In his first full season wrestling at 125 pounds, Peterkin burst onto the scene winning the Keystone Classic and finishing third at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. His win at the Keystone propelled him into the top 20 and he has stayed there ever since. He was ranked as high as seventh at one point before sliding down to his current ranking of 12th. He is 24-3 on the season and 4-1 against Ancient Eight foes. He has five wins over ranked opponents.
Penn turns its attention to the 104th EIWA Championships at Franklin & Marshall in Lancaster, Pa. on March 8-9. For more information on the event, please click here.
McLean makes his first appearance on the All-Ivy teams in his first full season wrestling for Penn. After winning all three of his matches in 06-07, McLean has made the most of his increase in mat time, compiling a 19-8 record while winning all four of his Ivy matches, including a 13-6 win over Cornell’s then #11 Zach Hammond. His work has been rewarded with his first ranking in the top 20, coming in at #19 in the latest polls.
The final Quaker on the second team is Zannetti. He is 10-6 on the season and won the two Ivy bouts he competed in. Jeff has won his last three matches by a combined score of 30-1, including a major decision and tech fall.
Rounding out the Quakers who received honors from the Ivy League are two men who garnered honorable mention recognition.
Rob Hitschler, the third of Penn’s tri-captains to be named All-Ivy, earned his first selection with a solid senior campaign. He is 14-5 at 157 pounds after missing the first two months of the season while recovering from injury. He went 2-1 in Ivy matches. He started the season with a pinfall win over Penn State’s Shane Everett in 3:25 on his way to a third-place finish at the Wilkes Open. He also has two wins in sudden victory this season.
Bryan Ortenzio was named honorable mention All-Ivy in recognition of his strong freshman season. He is 15-14 this season while wrestling some impressive competition. Four of his losses have come at the hands of wrestlers ranked in the top 15 at 133 pounds, including #1 Coleman Scott from Oklahoma State and #2 Mike Grey from Cornell. Ortenzio has two pinfall wins this season, including one in 1:14 against Princeton’s Robert Benitez.