Penn Wrestling Report: 12/31 - Quakers Prepare for Penn Duals

PHILADELPHIAWelcome to the latest installment of the PWR. While the majority of the team has been off from competition for Winter Break, two wrestlers competed at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Ill. at the beginning of the week and the team as a whole is back in action on Saturday with four duals at home in The Palestra.

A Look Back …

On Dec. 29 and 30, Penn sent two wrestlers – Gabriel Burak (157) and Scott Giffin (174) to the Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern University. Giffin went 1-1 in the Championship Bracket before wrestling back to the Round of 12 with three wins in the consolation rounds before falling to Olivet’s Kyle Vanderhyde, 6-2.

Giffin, competing in his first action of the season, won many close matches on the season as he jumped right into his season. Included in his 4 wins at the tournament was a 4-2 win over Indiana’s Trevor Perry. Perry, a two-time NCAA Qualifier, was the eighth seed in the tournament and is ranked 12th by Intermat at 174 pounds. Giffin also had wins over Michigan State’s Ian Hinto (3-2 in a second tiebreaker) and Central Michigan’s Ben Bennet (3-1) in the consolation rounds to go with his 10-5 decision win over Arizona State’s Eric Starks in a pigtail bout to begin the tournament.

Burak also won his pigtail match, pinning Iowa’s Stu Gilmore in 4:22. He then lost his next two matches to be eliminated from the tournament.

A Look Ahead …

The complete team returns to the mats on Saturday with four duals against East Stroudsburg, Franklin & Marshall, Delaware State and Gloucester in The Palestra starting at noon.

ESU and F&M each just finished up at the Southern Scuffle where they placed 24th and 25th, respectively.

Delaware State lost its last two duals, falling 40-7 to Delaware Valley and dropping an extremely close, 22-21, dual to Davidson. In the dual with Davidson, the meet came down to heavyweight and a takedown with two seconds left in sudden victory secured the win for Del Val.

DSU does boast a nationally ranked wrestler at 149 pounds in Matt Cathell. The sophomore comes in to the weekend ranked 10th in the nation by InterMat and has already won a bout this year over Penn’s 149-pounder Cesar Grajales. The two met earlier in the season at the East Stroudsburg Open with Cathell winning in the final, 10-4. Grajales has win nine of his last 12 matches since the loss and will look to avenge that defeat this weekend.

Penn wrestlers are 6-1 against ESU grapplers this season, with those matches all coming at East Stroudsburg’s preseason tournament. The Red and Blue have seen four DSU wrestlers and split those matches, going 2-2 against the Hornets. Penn has not wrestled anyone from F&M or Gloucester so far this season.

Penn in the Rankings …

USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Team Ranking: No. 23

Last Week: No. 22

InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 6 6

149 Cesar Grajales 12 12

157 Matt Dragon 13 14

165 Zack Shanaman 14 14

W.I.N. Magazine Rankings

Team: No. 24

Last Week: No. 23

Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 6 6

149 Cesar Grajales 12 12

157 Matt Dragon 12 12

165 Zack Shanaman 16 16

Amateur Wrestling News Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 7 6

149 Cesar Grajales 12 11

157 Matt Dragon 13 13

165 Zack Shanaman 19 19

174 Scott Giffin 15 15

Seven Minutes With … Bryan Ortenzio

Sophomore Bryan Ortenzio jumped into the starting lineup at 133 pounds midway through last season and has kept hold of that spot into the 2008-09 season. Last year, he wrestled the second-most matches of any Penn wrestler, finishing with a 19-18 record. He twice won his district in high school and was a two-time PIAA state placewinner. This season, he is 12-5 and finished in third place at the Keystone Classic.

Q. When did you start wrestling?

A. “I started competitive wrestling when I was in the second grade. Wrestling has always been in my blood. My father and uncle both wrestled at Gettysburg College and I have another uncle who was an accomplished high school wrestler. My dad used to show me moves and wrestle with us growing up and I knew I wanted to start organized wrestling as soon as I could.”

Q. What is your most memorable wrestling experience from before Penn?

A. “I would have to say districts my sophomore year of high school. I had been struggling on the mats and winning districts that year really helped me turn a corner in my career. I was disappointed with my results to that point and my coaches worked with me to get things right. After that tournament I really felt like I belonged and that I could do this seriously.”

Q. What memories stand out from your young career at Penn?

A. “Last year, I lost out on the starting spot at wrestleoffs and had to earn my way back to the starting spot. I kept working and kept improving and when my turn came, I took advantage of it. I finished with more matches than only one guy on the team. At the same time, I feel like I am not even close to being done improving. I want to qualify for nationals and make some noise there and I feel I am on my way.”

Q. If you could wrestle any other wrestler past or present, who would it be?

A. “I would want to wrestle one of my two head coaches I have had at Penn so far. Either coach Eiter or ex-coach Jones would be fun to have in a competitive environment. We drill in the room sometimes, but it would be nice to take on a world-class wrestler who wrestled in the Olympics in an actual match. They are great teachers and I feel I would learn a lot from being on the mat with them.”

Q. What is your favorite move to execute?

A. “If I need points, I like going for the fireman’s carry. It is one of the better moves in my style for scoring bonus points. It is one of my favorite leg throws and a good way to get back points on an opponent.”

Q. Why did you choose to attend Penn?

A. “The team and the unity that is present with this group of guys really drove me to Penn. Of all the places I visited, I felt that I fit in the best here and would have the best chance to succeed. Plus, you can’t question the academics. They are top-notch and I am lucky to be able to go to school at Penn.”

Q. What has been your favorite class so far at Penn?

A. “Any theoretical political science class. I love being able to analyze and debate topics with other people regarding the political world. I even enjoy writing papers discussing the topics we cover in class.”

What I Learned About Wrestling This Week …

For most of my year covering wrestling, I heard the term “certified weight” mentioned a lot when it comes to weighing in for matches. I never really understood what that meant, so I decided to ask coach Eiter this week as it came up when discussing weigh-ins for this weekend’s matches.

Turns out that a wrestler’s certified weight is the one that he weighs in at in the beginning of the season. That wrestler can move up a weight class throughout the course of the season but cannot move down. This helps keep wrestlers healthy and prevents excessive weight loss and cutting that used to be prevalent in the sport. There are weight-loss calculators that determine how much weight a certain wrestler is allowed to lose in one week in order to keep them from dropping too much weight in such a short span.

For example, if wrestler A certifies at 141 pounds, he can wrestle at that weight or at 149 for the season (or could move up to 157 but then could only drop to 149 is my understanding). The catch is, if wrestler A moves up to 149, he cannot drop the full eight pounds in one week. He can only drop a percentage as determined by the calculator.

All in all, this is a great way to ensure the health and well being of competitors in an already tough sport that takes a tremendous toll on the body.

As always, if there is more to weight certification that I am missing, please forward that info along. In addition, I wanted to open up the floor to topics you want me to cover here. If there is something (a move, event, scoring situation) that you wish to learn more about or that you think would be particularly interesting to see covered here, please email me at Always looking for suggestions to improve the PWR!

Quoting Coach Eiter …

Coach Eiter looks ahead to the weekend with four duals in one day …

“We are excited to have four quality teams come in and present challenges to us as we prepare for the second portion of the schedule. This weekend will be a chance for the team to get back into the routine after exams and winter break. We are really looking forward to the opportunity to get back and wrestle outside competition.”