No. 22 Penn vs. No. 15 Lehigh
Sunday, Feb. 19 2 p.m.
Listen Live at www.pennathletics.com
No. 22 Penn vs. Princeton
Sunday, Feb. 19 5 p.m.
Penn vs. Lehigh & Princeton Notes
Penn (10-4, 3-1 Ivy/EIWA) hosts No. 15 Lehigh (11-5-1, 4-1 EIWA) and Princeton (5-9) in the last two dual meets of the season on Sunday.
The Penn athletic department and wrestling team Lehigh match at 2 p.m. Rich Ferguson, Mike Silengo, Paul Velekei and Dustin Wiles and their families will be recognized in a pre-match ceremony.
You can listen to the Penn/Lehigh dual live at www.pennathletics.com. Just click on the listen liveicon on the right side of the main athletics page. Former grapplers Mike Willner and Tim DeAngelo willhave the call.
Live text updates for all the remaining Penn home matches can be found on www.intermatwrestle.com.
The Mountain Hawks have not wrestled since a 36-6 win over Maryland on Feb. 4. Lehigh was scheduled to wrestle Army last Sunday but the meet was cancelled due to the snowstorm.
Penn is coming off a weekend split, falling to No. 14 Cornell, 20-12, and defeating Columbia, 25-9. Princeton is coming off two tough losses to the Lions and Big Red.
Penn and Lehigh have met 44 times since 1912 and the Mountain Hawks have taken the last four contests from the Quakers. The last time the Red and Blue defeated Lehigh was on Feb. 24, 2002 in The Palestra. In that match, No. 8 Penn won their seventh-consecutive dual meet of the season with a 21-12 win. Last year, the Quakers fell 37-6 in front of a sold-out crowd at Lehigh’s Leeman-Turner Arena.
The Mountain Hawks have had some big wins this season and have been ranked as high as eighth in the nation. Lehigh defeated No. 10 Arizona State, No. 21 Navy, No. 21 Hofstra and tied No. 4 Oklahoma. They had a close 18-17 loss to No. 12 Penn State, a 20-15 loss to No. 5 Michigan and a 19-14 loss to No. 14 Cornell.
Lehigh’s Troy Letters, a three-time EIWA Champion and 2004 NCAA Champion at 165 pounds, has been out of the lineup since December. He suffered an injury while competing at the Southern Scuffle and could return to the lineup on Sunday against the Quakers.
Sunday’s match-ups will have at least one ranked opponent at every weight class except heavyweight. Three bouts will pit two ranked opponents against each other
149 ~ No. 13 Matt Dragon v. No. 16 Matt Ciasulli
157 ~ No. 10 Derek Zinck v. No. 19 Gene Zannetti
174 ~ No. 12 Travis Frick v. No. 13 Matt Herrington
The Quakers have a .910 winning percentage against Ivy League opponents in the last 11 years. Penn holds a 59-6-1 record against Ancient Eight foes from 1994-2005. Penn’s six losses and one tie were to Cornell.
Penn has won 11 Ivy League titles and seven of the last 10. The Quakers won seven-straight crowns from 1993-94 to 2001-02.
Penn is 32-3 in Ivy League home meets at since the 1992-93 season. The Quakers went undefeated from Feb. 6, 1993 to Jan. 31, 2004 in The Palestra against Ancient Eight foes.
Injury-laden Princeton has had a rough 2006 season. The Tigers have lost four in a row.
Penn looks to extend its winning streak over Princeton to 15 contests. The streak dates back to Feb. 19, 1992, when the Red and Blue defeated the Tigers, 22-19, in The Palestra. The Tigers, however, hold a 50-40-4 lead in the 100-year history of the Penn/Princeton dual meet. The first meeting between these two programs came on Feb. 17, 1906 in Weightman Hall as Princeton won the match, 4-3. Last season, Penn defeated Princeton, 28-10.
The Penn wrestling team is ranked 22nd in this week’s USA Today/NWCA/Intermat Poll and the Amateur Wrestling News and 24th in the W.I.N. Poll. Amateur Wrestling News ranks lightweights Matt Valenti and Mike Silengo ninth and 13th, respectively, in their latest poll. It is the highest ranking of the season for Silengo.
The Red and Blue’s dual meet with Cornell was much closer than the score indicated. Penn won four matches, lost two by one point Sliengo nearly upset No. 5 Troy Nickerson and Wiles had a very close match with No. 3 Joe Mazzurco and were right there in two others.
Against a very resilient Columbia team, Penn won eight bouts. A highlight of the match was Herrington’s upset win over No. 7 Matt Palmer at 174 pounds.
With the win, Herrington moved up in the polls. He is ranked 13th by Amateur Wrestling News, and moved into the Intermat rankings at 18th.
Another match everyone is talking about this week is Silengo’s battle with Nickerson. Silengo led most of the match, but Nickerson reversed Silengo in the third period to take a 7-6 lead, Silengo managed to escape, but not until Nickerson had already secured riding time, which was the deciding factor.
Prior to the Hofstra match, The Red and Blue had won 56 of their last 70 bouts. In their six wins in 2006, they have won 51 of 60 bouts. The Quakers have won eight or more matches in five of the last seven dual meets.
Wiles is the only grappler in Penn’s current lineup who consistently competed in the starting lineup last season.
The Quakers have nine wrestlers ranked in the latest Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) poll. Valenti and freshman Matt Dragon are ranked first at 133 and 149 pounds, respectively. Silengo (125), freshman Cesar Grajales (141) and Velekei (197) are second at their respective weight classes. Herrington (174) is third, Zannetti (157) and Zamir (165) are ranked fifth, while Wiles (184) is sixth.
The last time the Quakers defeated a ranked opponent was No. 14 West Virginia on Jan. 17, 2004 at the Cliff Keen Duals in Cleveland, Ohio.
Penn also defeated No. 3 Iowa State, 26-15 at that meet. It is the highest ranked opponent the Red and Blue have defeated in program history.
Penn’s only losses of the season have come against ranked opponents. In the first dual of the season the Quakers fell to No. 13 Penn State. At the Virginia Duals, the Quakers nearly handed the 11th-ranked Indiana Hoosiers their first loss of the season, falling 18-15 in that match. No. 21 Hofstra was too much for the Red and Blue who fell, 25-15. Penn dropped a tough Ivy League match-up to No. 14 Cornell, 20-12, last weekend.
Valenti is 25-2 on the season which gives him 94 wins for his career. He needs just six more to become the first Penn wrestler to reach 100 as a junior. Five other Quakers have garnered 100 wins in their careers at Penn.
Valenti’s 94 career victories is tied for seventh all-time at Penn. Brian Butler, a 1996 graduate, is sixth on the list with 96 wins. Brett Matter, W'00, is the program recordholder in wins with 128.
Wiles leads the team in falls with five, while Valenti and Herrington have four and Dragon has three pins. Seven other grapplers have one pin each.
Valenti lead the team in wins with 25. Dragon has 24 and Wiles has 22 this season.
Herrington is 10-1 in dual meets this season. The junior returned to the mat at Midlands for the first time since the 2004 NCAA Championships.
The Quaker have three sets on brothers on their roster for the first time in program history. Penn has had 14 sets of siblings in its 102-year history. Eleven of those pairs have come since the early 1990’s. This year’s twosomes are Colin and Rob Hitschler, Matt and Andrew Valenti, and Gene and Jeff Zannetti.
Head Coach Zeke Jones was named the U.S. National Freestyle coach for the Pan American Championships. This is Jones’ second time coaching at the Pan American Championships; in 2003 he coached the United State to the team title, four golds, a silver and two bronzes. The Championships will take place in Rio de Janiero, Brazil from May 31 to June 4, 2006.
Penn opened the 2006 Ivy League campaign with convincing wins at Brown and Harvard last weekend. The Quakers won seven bouts against the Bears to earn a 26-10 victory in Providence. Valenti and Wiles won by major decision, and Matt Herrington won by fall.
Against the Crimson, Penn earned a 30-18 victory and won six matches including another pin by Herrington at 174 pounds. Sophomore Lior Zamir won his match by technical fall. Silengo and Valenti both won by forfeits - putting off a much anticipated match-up between Valenti and No. 8 Robbie Preston. The two, who are ranked 1-2 (Valenti is ranked first) in the EIWA, could face each other at the EIWA Championships in March.
The Quakers had a tough match at No. 21 Hofstra. Zamir won the first match, 4-3, at 165 pounds. The Pride forfeited at 125 pounds and 133 pounds, and took the other seven bouts. The Quakers had several close matches, including three that were decided by three points or less .
The Quakers had two dominating wins against The Citadel and North Carolina. Penn blanked the Bulldogs, 43-0, and handed the Tar Heels a 33-8 loss.
Penn’s shutout over the Bulldogs was its first since a 54-0 win over Wagner in 2004. Wagner forfeited five matches in the meet. Prior to that Penn last shut out an opponent on Feb. 2, 2003 Columbia, 46-0.
Valenti pinned both his opponents. Silengo and Wiles also won by fall against The Citadel. In that dual meet, all three falls came in the first period.
The Bulldogs were only able to take down the Quakers four times.
Penn is coming off its best finish in program history at the Virginia Duals last weekend. The Red and Blue placed second, falling to No. 15 Indiana, 18-15, in the final. The Quakers defeated North Dakota State, 38-3, and Drexel, 37-2, on the first day of competition and defeated Ohio State, 23-15, in the semifinal round.
Penn recorded riding-time points in 16 matches over the first three dual meets at the Virginia Duals and only gave it up once - Penn, however, still won that match.
The Quakers had a five-match win streak heading into the Indiana dual. Last year the Quakers won five straight from Jan. 16 to Feb. 19, including a win over the Tar Heels.
The Quakers demolished Maryland, 34-6, on Jan. 7. Penn won eight matches including five matches with bonus points. Valenti and Wiles won their matches by falls, Velekei earned a technical fall and two Quakers won by major decision.
Over the holiday break, three grapplers competed at the 43rd Midland Championships. Silengo finished fourth at 125 pounds in his first action of the 2005-06 season. Silengo defeated No. 10 Tanner Gardner of Stanford to advance to the third-place bout where he fell, 3-2, to No. 14 Luke Smith of Central Michigan. Sophomore Rob Hitschler went 3-2 at 149 bounds, while Herrington posted a 2-2 mark in his first action on the mat since March 2004.
The Quakers defeated Drexel, 21-15, on Dec. 10. Penn won three weight classes with bonus points and gave up bonus points on only one match. Zannetti (157), freshman Colin Hitschler (165) and Velekei (197) won their matches by decision, while Matt Valenti (133), Grajales (141) and Wiles (184) earned major decisions.
The Red and Blue had a very successful showing at the 2005 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational on Dec. 3 and 4. It took the No. 1 wrestler in the nation to take down Matt Valenti. Valenti went 12-0 to start the 2005-06 campaign, falling only to top-ranked Shawn Bunch of Edinboro at 133 lbs. in the championship bout, 4-2.
Penn had three other wrestlers place at the Vegas tournament. Wiles took fifth at 184 pounds, defeating three top-10 wrestlers along the way. Zannetti placed sixth at 157 lbs. and defeated No. 7 James Strousse of Hosftra in overtime. Zamir picked up a seventh-place finish at 174 lbs.
As a team the Red and Blue finished 10th overall. Nine nationally ranked teams competed at the meet according to the USA Today/NWCA NCAA Division I Coaches' Poll from Nov. 28. In order of finish - No. 3 Michigan (1), No. 11 Cornell (2), No. 15 Missouri (3), No. 22 Edinboro (4), No. 18 Arizona State (5), No. 2 Illinois (6), No. 25 Penn (10) and No. 19 Hofstra (11).
Eveleth and Dragon competed at the Penn State Nittany Lion Open, taking second and third place, respectively. Eveleth fell to Joe Baker, 7-4, in the championship bout. Dragon was third at 149 lbs. Dragon went 5-1 on the day and had four major decisions. His only loss was to Brent Metcalf, the eventual winner, a 7-5 defeat. Dragon beat Patrick Simpson of Army in the third-place match, 8-6.
After finishing the season 1-10 against ranked opponents last season, Wiles is 3-3 against nationally-ranked grapplers at 184 lbs. In 2005, Wiles has defeated the No. 12, No. 14 and No. 16 wrestlers. His three losses were against No. 5, No. 8 and No. 11.
Four Quakers won individual titles at the Keystone Classic - Gold (125) and Grajales (141), while Matt Eveleth (133) and Matt Valenti (133) were named co-champions.
Penn won the Keystone Classic for the first time since 2002. Penn put up 151 points, 42 points more than runner-up Virginia. American was third with four individual winners, while Appalachian State and Boston University rounded out the top-five.
Penn opened the season with a second-place showing at the Oklahoma Brockport Gold on Nov. 12. The Quakers finished just five points behind No. 2 Oklahoma. Penn had 11 placewinners.
Penn returns four NCAA Qualifiers to the line-up this season in Matt Valenti, Herrington, Velekei and Wiles.
Head Coach Zeke Jones is in his first season at the helm of the Red and Blue. The former standout at Arizona State comes to Philadelphia after serving as an assistant coach at West Virginia for seven years.
Last year, Wiles led the Red and Blue in falls and takedowns. The then-174 pounder had eight falls and 73 takedowns.
Intermatwrestle.com ranked Penn's incoming class as the No. 4 recruiting class in the country behind Iowa State, Virginia Tech and Cornell. It is the highest-ranked incoming class for the Quakers since the 2002 group was named the No. 1 recruiting class.
A common name - there are six grapplers on the Penn roster (of 36) who have the name Matt.
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