No. 21 Wrestling Opens Up 2008-009 Season Against No. 9 Michigan and Princeton

Penn vs. Princeton and Michigan Media Notes

PHILADELPHIA – Eight months after last stepping on the mats at the NCAA Championships in St. Louis, the Penn wrestling team is back in action this weekend. And what a packed weekend of wrestling it will be. On Saturday, Penn opens its dual-meet season with a pair of contests against EIWA and Ivy League rival Princeton (noon) and Michigan (2 p.m.), the ninth-ranked team in the country. If two duals in one day aren’t enough, on Sunday Penn hosts the annual Keystone Classic. Both days of wrestling will take place in The Palestra.

The Quakers enter the weekend ranked No. 21 in the USA Today/InterMat/NWCA polls and have five grapplers ranked in the top-20 in their respective weight class. 2008 NCAA Round of 12 participant Rollie Peterkin is the highest ranked Penn wrestler, coming in at No. 7 at 125 pounds with Zack Shanaman following at No. 9 in the 165-pound weight class. 2008 EIWA champion Cesar Grajales is ranked No. 15 at 149 pounds, while Matt Dragon returns to the lineup after missing the 2007-08 season due to injury and is ranked No. 18 at 157 pounds. 174-pounder Scott Giffin rounds out the ranked Penn wrestlers, slotting in at No. 18.

Last season, Penn traveled to Princeton at the end of the season to take on the Tigers, defeating Princeton, 44-6. The Quakers scored bonus points in all but one of its wins, led by a pinfall victory by Bryan Ortenzio at 133 pounds. The then-freshman needed just 1:14 to pin Robert Benitez.

After competing against Princeton, Penn will enter the circle against Michigan. The two teams have not met since 2004, a 28-16 win for Michigan at the Lone Star Duals in Dallas, Texas.

Michigan boasts three wrestlers ranked in the national polls, led by No. 1 Steve Luke at 174 pounds. The two-time All-America was a finalist at 174 last season. Other ranked wrestlers for the Maize and Blue are No. 3 Tyrel Todd at 197 pounds and No. 5 Kellen Russell at 141 pounds.

Sunday will see Penn welcome nine other teams to The Palestra for the Keystone Classic. American, Appalachian State, Boston University, Brown, Davdison, Mercyhurst, Pittsburgh, Rider and Virginia Military Institute will all send squads to the tournament. Last season, Penn finished second and had two individual champions – Peterkin at 125 and then-senior Lior Zamir at 184 pounds.

Live coverage of the Princeton and Michigan Duals will be provided by Penn Athletics in conjuction with the NWCA.

Live streaming of the duals can also be found at www.PennAthletics.com

Sunday’s Keystone Classic will feature a live blog of all the action at www.PennAthletics.com.

Download: Princeton and Michigan Notes.pdf