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PHILADELPHIA - For the first time in program history No. 20 Penn hosts Iowa State in The Palestra, welcoming the Cyclones Sunday for a 1 p.m. start. The Quakers enter the weekend riding a four-match winning streak and possessing an overall record of 4-1 in duals, while the Cyclones sit at 1-3 before duals at Rutgers on Friday and against Drexel on Sunday morning.
The last time Penn and Iowa State met on a wrestling mat was in 2004 - a memorable night for the Quakers. Ranked No. 18, the Red and Blue knocked off the No. 3 Cyclones, 26-15, in the first round of the NWCA National Duals in Cleveland. The Quakers won six bouts in the dual, earning bonus points in four of them for the win. Overall, Penn and Iowa State are an even 1-1-1 in three previous meetings.
Sunday will be Penn's second foray into the Big 12 this season, the first a 35-10 loss at No. 3 Oklahoma State on Nov. 25. This season marks the first with two duals against Big 12 opponents since 2006-07 when Penn wrestled Missouri and Nebraska. The dual with the Cornhuskers was Penn's most recent home dual against a Big 12 school - a 17-17 tie on Feb. 17, 2007.
The Red and Blue have been dominant of late during their four-match winning streak, outscoring opponents by an average score of 24.8-10.0. The four-match winning streak equals Penn's run to end 2011-12 as the longest dual-meet win streak by a Penn team since a four-match run from 1/23/10-2/26/10. A win on Sunday would match the five-match winning streak from 1/25/09-2/14/09 as the longest winning streak of the Rob Eiter era.
Current members of the Penn lineup are 3-1 all-time against Iowa State wrestlers, but there are no potential rematches on the card for Sunday.
While there may not be familiar foes toeing the line, there are big stakes at many weights for both sides. At 197 pounds, a battle of wrestlers inside the top 12 is expected. No. 7 Micah Burak returned after six weeks off for injury with a pair of wins last weekend, including a 5-2 win over No. 8 Jake Meredith from Arizona State. On Sunday, he is projected to take on No. 11 Kyven Gadson. 10-2 entering this weekend with a 4-0 mark in duals, Gadson was injured the majority of last season but returned to the tune of nine consecutive wins to start the season - including a 5-4 win over Burak's younger brother, Nathan, earlier this season.
At 141, No. 12 C.J. Cobb will again take on a Top-20 opponent in No. 20 Luke Goettl. An NCAA Champions qualifier last season, Goettl defeated both the No. 1 and No. 2 (Penn's Zack Kemmerer) wrestlers at 141 during the 2011-12 season. Goettl has not been on the mat much this season, holding just a 2-5 mark in Division I matches, four of those losses coming to Top-20 wrestlers. Cobb is 13-5 for Penn, with a 9-3 mark in his last 12 outings.
Mark Rappo is unranked by InterMat this week, but a win over No. 20 Ryak Finch on Sunday could propel him back into that group. Rappo is 10-3 overall, his three losses coming by a total of just seven points. Finch is just 1-4 against Division I opponents this season, his win coming via a 2-0 decision over Oklahoma's Kyle Garcia last weekend - a wrestler Rappo defeated, 9-4, at Midlands. Three of Finch's four losses have come to wrestlers inside the Top-10 this season.
Last weekend, Canaan Bethea picked up his biggest career win via a 5-4 decision over No. 15 Kevin Radford of Arizona State. He has a chance to solidify his regard around the nation against Iowa State's Boaz Beard this weekend. Beard is just outside InterMat's Top-20 and ranked in the 20th spot by AWN this week. A NCAA qualifier last season, Beard is 3-3 this season in limited action.
Casey Kent missed both duals for the Quakers with illness last weekend, but is probable for this weekend. His potential opponent is No. 20 Michael Moreno. 9-5 overall this season against Division I opponents, Moreno competed at 157 last season.
No. 20 Penn Probable Lineup
125: Mark Rappo, Sr. (10-3)
133: Geoffrey Bostany, Jr. (7-8) or Jeff Canfora, So. (3-2) or Eric Friedman, Fr. (2-6)
141: No. 12 C.J. Cobb, So. (13-5)
149: Andrew Lenzi, Jr. (14-5) or Eric DeVos, Fr. (3-4)
157: Troy Hernandez, Sr. (7-6)
165: Casey Kent, Fr. (12-7) or Brad Wukie, Jr. (9-6)
174: Ian Korb, So. (10-8) or Harrison Cook, Sr. (4-8)
184: Canaan Bethea, Jr. (12-5)
197: No. 7 Micah Burak, Sr. (5-1)
285: Kyle Cowan, Jr. (5-6) or Steven Graziano, Jr. (11-9)
Iowa State Probable Lineup
125: No. 20 Ryak Finch, RSo. (1-4)
133: John Meeks, Fr. (2-5)
141: No. 20 Luke Goettl, RSo. (2-5)
149: Max Mayfield, RSr. (2-5)
157: Logan Molina, RFr. (10-8)
165: No. 20 Michael Moreno, RSo. (9-5)
174: Mikey England, RSo. (6-3) or Tanner Weatherman, RFr. (6-4)
184: Boaz Beard, RJr. (3-3)
197: No. 11 Kyven Gadson, RSo. (10-2) or Cole Shafer, RJr. (0-3)
285: No. 20 Matt Gibson, RSr. (4-3)