Penn Advances Two at 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships

ST. LOUIS – The first session of Day One at the 2008 NCAA Wrestling Championships is complete in St. Louis. Two Quakers advanced to the evening’s second round – ninth seed Rollie Peterkin at 125 pounds and unseeded Zack Shanaman at 165 pounds. The other Penn wrestlers will compete in wrestlebacks this evening.

After session one, head coach Zeke Jones talked about his team bouncing back in the evening session.

“It was a tough round for us this afternoon,” he said. “When you run into that many seeded guys, it can be a real tough round.” We wrestled well in most of our matches, and were right there to score some major upsets. We didn’t score all the wins we wanted and now we have to bounce back.”

One wrestler who did score the win over a seeded wrester was Shanaman. He scored an escape in the opening seconds of the third period to defeat seventh-seeded Jake Dieffenbach of Oklahoma State, 5-4. Diffenbach had tied the match at the buzzer of the second period with a takedown.

“Zack did a good job bouncing back after getting takendown late,” Jones said. “He hustled at the whistle of the third period and got the point back. This was a good turnaround for Zack after losing to Dieffenback earlier this season.”

Shanaman will now wrestle EIWA foe, Mike Cannon of American University, in the second round. Cannon is the tenth seed at 165 pounds. At the EIWA Championships March 9, Shanaman defeated Cannon, 5-1, in the semifinals. Both are second-time qualifiers at NCAAs – Cannon went 2-2 at last season’s championships.

“Cannon knows how to win at this tournament, but Zack knows how to win against him,” Jones said. “Zack has confidence and should be well-prepared.”

The other Quaker to advance to the second round is Peterkin. The sophomore won his first round match over Duquesne’s Jonathan Bittinger, 17-1 to advance. Peterkin will wrestle eighth-seeded Brandon Precin from Northwestern in the second round.

Here are recaps of the eight matches from session one:

125 Pounds - Rollie Peterkin advances to the second round with a 17-1 technical fall win over Jonathan Bittinger from Duquesne. Peterkin, the ninth seed at 125 pounds came out strong with a takedown 20 seconds into the bout. He was able to turn Bittinger over with 1:40 remaining in the first period for three back points. He added another near-fall with 25 seconds remaining in the period. Peterkin added five more points in the second period, including a three-point near-fall near the end of the period. In the third, Peterkin added a reversal at the buzzer which coupled with his advantage in riding time gave him the 17-1 win. He advances to Thursday night’s second round against eighth-seeded Brandon Precin from Northwestern.

141 pounds – After a flurry of action at the start of the period with third-seeded Kellen Russell of Michigan almost scoring a takedown at the edge of the mat, Rick Rappo settles down and the first period ends scoreless. Rappo chooses bottom to start the second period. Russell rides him all period, working a half nelson. Russell starts the third period on bottom and quickly scores with a reversal six seconds into the period. He adds a two-point near-fall with 25 seconds left in the match. Russell’s riding time advantage gives him the 5-0 win. Rappo will now wrestle again on Thursday night in the wrestlebacks. He will wrestle Germane Lindsey of Ohio University, an 8-2 loser to Levi Jones of Boise St. in round one.

149 pounds – Cesar Grajales gave all he had against fourth-seeded Jordan Burroughs from Nebraska before falling, 4-1. The first period was scoreless as neither man was able to take the other down. Grajales did draw a stalling warning with 50 seconds left in the period. In the second period, Burroughs chooses bottom and Grajales rides him tough for over a minute before Burroughs escapes with 47 seconds left in the second. In the third, Grajales escapes from bottom six seconds in to tie the match. However, with 20 seconds left in the bout, the ref calls Grajales for his second stall of the match, resulting in a point for Burroughs who them scores the only takedown of the match. Burroughs had stalling called on him late in the bout, but no more points went Grajales’ way. He now moves on to the wrestlebacks Thursday night where he will wrestle Lucas Espericueta of Stanford who lost his first round match to Edward McCray by fall at 1:19 of the first round.

165 pounds – Zack Shanaman provides the first upset win for the Quakers with a 5-4 decision over #7-seed Jake Dieffenbach of Oklahoma State. The win avenges a loss in the Virginia Duals to Dieffenbach earlier this season. Shanaman scored first with a single leg shot with 1:22 left in the first period. His first attempt at the takedown didn’t connect, but the second time was the charm. Diffenbach escaped four seconds later, but Shanaman scored another takedown with nine ticks remaining in the first period. Dieffenbach chose bottom for round two and quickly got out, needing seven seconds for the escape. Dieffenbach scored a takedown right before the buzzer to tie the match entering the third period. Shanaman needed only eight seconds to escape from bottom in the third. Dieffenbach threw a few shots near the end of the match, but good defense from Shanaman rendered them futile. Shanaman advances now to Thursday night’s second round against Mike Cannon of American. Shanaman beat Cannon, 5-1, in the semifinals of the EIWA Championships this season.

174 pounds – Scott Giffin drew ninth-seeded Brandan Mason of Oklahoma State in the first round, another rematch against OSU. The result of today’s match was the same as at the Virginia Duals, a 6-0 decision in the favor of Mason. Mason scored a takedown in the first and added an escape in the second. A takedown in the third plus riding time were the final points. Giffin will wrestle Thursday night in wrestlebacks against Gabe Dretsch, the eight overall seed in the 174-pound weight class, who was upset by Nate Lee of Boise State, 3-1, in the first round.

184 pounds – Lior Zamir had a rematch with Jake Varner from last year’s NCAA Championships. The top-seeded and undefeated Varner proved too much for Zamir to handle, scoring a 6-0 decision. Zamir was close to a takedown on the far edge of the mat midway through the first period, but the ref called them out of bounds. Varner scored a takedown with 45 seconds left to take a 2-0 lead after the first period. Zamir chose neutral to start period two, looking for a takedown to tie the match. Neither man was able to score in the middle stanza, although Zamir came closest at the halfway point. Varner escaped immediately to start the second period and scored a takedown with 45 seconds left in the match. His riding time advantage gave him the 6-0 win. Zamir will wrestle in the wrestlebacks Thursday evening against Chris Dagget from Liberty, a 4-0 loser to Stanford’s Zack Giesen in the first round.

197 pounds – Thomas Shovlin, competing in his first NCAA Championships, took the ninth-seed, Patrick Bond from Illinois, to sudden victory before falling, 3-1. Both points in regulation were scored by escapes. Bond’s was nine seconds into the second period while Shovlin got his 15 seconds into the third. With about 20 seconds left in sudden victory, Bond grabbed Shovlin’s left leg. He secured the right one with eight seconds left for the win. Shovlin will wrestle in the wrestlebacks Thursday night against Richard Starks of Army. Shovlin owns three wins over Starks this season, most recently defeating him twice at the EIWA Championships.

285 pounds – Trey McLean took on Jared Rosholt, the fifth-seed from Oklahoma State in the first round, and it was all Rosholt. He quickly took McLean down and turned him on for a 5-0 lead. At the end of the first period, Rosholt turned McLean again, this time scoring the pin at 2:59 of the first round. McLean heads to the wrestlebacks Thursday night.

Session two begins at 6:30 p.m. with consolation pigtails. The tournament will proceed through each weight class after that starting at 125 pounds. Penn Athletics will provide updates throughout the evening.