Penn Wrestling Report 1/24: Quakers Ready for No. 4 Nebraska

Penn at Nebraska Live Stats

Penn vs Pitt Promotion: The first 200 fans in attendance will receive a free Penn baseball cap. In addition, at the end of the match, there will be an autograph session with the Quakers.

LINCOLN, Neb. – Good afternoon from a cold, windy Lincoln. The team has just got back from a morning workout to break a sweat and prepare for tonight’s match with No.4-ranked Nebraska tonight at 7 p.m. CST.. After a day of travel back to Philly on Saturday, the Red and Blue host No. 24 Pitt on Sunday in a Keystone State battle.

This week in the PWR, we look ahead to the two crucial duals for the Quakers, check in on the Quakers and the national rankings, and sit down with sophomore Scott Giffin for seven minutes.

A Look Back …

Not much happened last week with the Quakers off from competition. The team was hard at work in the room, working on technique and recuperating from some nicks and bruises incurred over the five-match weekend at the Virginia Duals.

A Look Ahead …

Up first for the Red and Blue this weekend is the No. 4-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers. The ‘Huskers are 10-2 on the season with wins over five ranked squads. The marquee victory for Nebraska may be a 21-18 win over then-No. 7 Minnesota. Two weeks ago, the ‘Huskers competed at the NWCA National Duals with some of the top teams in the country. They went 2-2 at the Duals, defeating No. 20 Northwestern (19-18) and No. 14 Penn State (20-16). The ‘Huskers then fell to No. 1 Iowa, 22-11, and No. 2 Iowa State, 20-19. Against the Cyclones, Nebraska trailed 17-0 after the first four bouts before rallying to get within one point at 17-16 with wins in four straight bouts. No. 14 Vince Jones came through with a pin at 184 for Nebraska. At 197, No. 3 Jake Varner of Iowa State decisioned No. 1 Craig Brester, 10-3 to put ISU back up by four. Nebraska’s No. 17 Tucker Lane needed bonus points to tie or win the match, but could only come up with a 7-6 decision over No. 3 Dave Zabriskie. Last time out, NU defeated South Dakota State, 43-3, and Maryland, 26-13.

Nebraska is represented in the latest InterMat NWCA Individual rankings by six wrestlers – all at 157 or above.

157 – No. 3 Jordan Burroughs (19-0)

165 – No. 5 Stephen Dwyer (18-2)

174 – No. 2 Brandon Browne (19-2)

184 – No. 10 Vince Jones (21-5)

197 – No. 2 Craig Brester (20-1)

Hwt. – No. 16 Tucker Lane (20-6)

The Quakers and ‘Huskers have met up a few times over the last few years, including one matchup this season. At the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, Lane defeated Penn’s Trey McLean via pinfall at 2:08. Last season at the NCAA Championships, there were two matchups between these two schools. Burroughs defeated Cesar Grajales at 149 pounds, 4-1, and Dwyer defeated Zack Shanaman at 165, 5-4. Dwyer and Shanaman’s career series in college now stands at 1-1. Shanaman scored a 9-3 decision in a dual meet between the two schools at Penn in 2007.

That dual meet resulted in a 17-17 tie. Penn held a 17-14 advantage with one bout to go, but a Chris Oliver win at 157 via decision brought about the tie. Shanaman and Matt Dragon are the only two Penn wrestlers who competed in that dual who will are on the probable lineup this weekend.

After the long trip home to Philly, Penn will take on Pitt on Sunday in The Palestra. The Panthers have three ranked wrestlers and come in at No. 24 as a team. Jimmy Conroy comes in at No. 17 at 133 pounds, while No. 10 Tyler Nauman (141) and No. 6 Zach Sheaffer (Hwt.) are also ranked by InterMat. Conroy owns a win over Penn’s Bryan Ortenzio, defeating him at the Keystone Classic, 9-3. Sheaffer also put a loss on Penn’s McLEan, pinning him at 4:43 in the final at the Keystone.

The Panthers are 2-4 as a team on the season with wins over Bloomsburg (27-7) and Lock Haven (30-9). All four of the Panthers’ losses have come at the hands of ranked teams – Lehigh, Northwestern, Illinois and Central Michigan. The Panthers finished in second place – behind Penn – at the Keystone Classic in November.

Penn in the Rankings …

USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Team Ranking: Not Ranked

Last Week: No. 25

InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 12 12

149 Cesar Grajales 10 10

157 Matt Dragon 18 18

W.I.N. Magazine Rankings

Team: NR

Last Week: NR

Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin10 11

149 Cesar Grajales11 11

157 Matt Dragon 11 11

165 Zack Shanaman 19 19

174 Scott Giffin 19 20

Amateur Wrestling News Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin9 9

149 Cesar Grajales 13 12

157 Matt Dragon 16 15

Seven Minutes With … Scott Giffin

Scott Giffin transferred to Penn last season after a redshirt freshman campaign at Michigan. Giffin, a New Jersey native, stepped right into the lineup at 174 pounds, solidifying his starting spot, finishing third at EIWAs and advancing to the NCAA Championships. He owns wins over the 12th and 15th ranked wrestlers in his weightclass and is currently ranked 19th by W.I.N Magazine.

Q. When did you get into wrestling?

A. It was right before my fifth birthday. My dad came home with a flyer for a wrestling camp at our local high school (Highland Regional). They were having midget practice and he wanted to take me. Been doing it ever since…

Q. What stands out from your wrestling career before Penn?

A. It all started with Fargo my freshman year of high school. I was a round away from placing and it devastated me. Then I placed fifth in states as a sophomore. I then made a promise to myself that I would place at Fargo. I ended up winning. That made me focus on States. My junior year I had a great tournament and won.

Q. In your year and a half at Penn, what is your favorite moment?

A. The Cornell match last year was amazing. Even though we lost, the experience of wrestling a close match at home with a rival was great. We didn’t win but we were so close and it really motivated us for the rest of the year.

Q. What is your favorite “go-to” move in a match?

A. I really like the single leg shot. I work hard at it and it is effective for me when I need points.

Q. Earlier this season, you were hit by a car and had to sit out a few weeks. What has it been like coming back from that?

A. It has been hard, just because there was a short period of time to get back into shape. At the same time, I feel like I am a little fresher than other guys might be at this time of year. I am glad to be back at full strength at this point.

Q. What are your goals for the rest of the season?

A. I hope to improve on last season’s results, especially at nationals. It was great to be there, but this year I want to improve on my results. I feel like I am capable of winning matches there and making some noise. I am also looking to see the team come together more over the end of the season. When we do well as a team, the whole squad improves.

Q. What are you studying at Penn? What are you looking to do when you graduate?

A. I am a PPE (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) major. I really enjoy how we get to cover all three concentrations and don’t have to focus on one specific area. You really get a broad range of subjects. I am interested in getting into marketing and sales, but am also considering law school.

What I Learned About Wrestling This Week …

Kind of a slow week in terms of learning something new about wrestling this week with no live action to watch, so I asked a member of the team to help me out and give me a move to look up. Sophomore Marty Borowsky suggested that I look up the Russian Tie. A couple of minutes of research later, I found some pictures and videos that showed a solid move in terms of gaining control of a tie-up and leveraging into a take down and possible back points situation.

In the Russian Tie, a wrestler locks in a 2-on-1 on his opponent’s arm, with one arm going underneath and grabbing his opponent’s elbow and the other going directly to the wrist. With all of this happening from the standing position, the end goal here is a takedown. One way to do this is to initiate movement from the position. If you get your opponent moving around the circle, it is possible to reverse his momentum on him and push him down to the mat for two points. Another way to convert the Russian Tie into a score is by turning the 2-on-1 into a single leg with a quick snap down to the leg on the same side as the tie.

The main goal of this move is to secure position from the neutral stance and set yourself up for the score. Often times, your opponent helps you with that by focusing on getting out of the 2-on-1. He gets too worried about that and allows you to score on his weakened defenses.

Quoting Coach Eiter …

Coach Eiter talks about the team’s week of practice and the upcoming weekend …

“The last week has been good in the room. We came back from Virginia focused on accentuating the positives and working to improve our weak spots. In addition, we put forth a concerted effort to regroup the team as a unit and create solidarity that will be big for us during matches. This will be a difficult weekend for us with travel and two tough teams awaiting us. We know the importance of the second semester as we prepare for the conference tournament and the NCAA Championships. The wrestlers we will see this weekend will help us in our pursuit of our goals.”