Penn Wrestling Report 1/29: Penn Wrestling All-Access Debuts

PHILADELPHIAAfter a busy weekend of travel and competition, Penn stays close to home this weekend for just one dual. It’s a tough one, though, as the Quakers welcome No. 21 Hofstra to The Palestra on Saturday at 1 p.m.

This week in the PWR, we introduce a new feature to the report – “Penn Wrestling All-Access”. Penn Athletics recently sat down with head coach Rob Eiter and sophomore 174-pounder Scott Giffin for an interview on the season to date and the upcoming weekend with Hofstra. The link to the video is at the top of the page.

In addition, we look back at the weekend against Nebraska and Pitt and preview the match with the Pride on Saturday. Senior heavyweight Trey McLean also took time to answer a few questions in “Seven Minutes.”

A Look Back …

There was no rest for the weary last weekend as Penn headed to the Midwest for a dual with No. 4 Nebraska in Lincoln, followed by a return to the Palestra two days later for a dual with No. 24 Pitt.

Against the ‘Huskers, Penn competed hard, hanging in the dual until the end. In fact, Penn held a 14-9 lead with three bouts to go thanks to wins from Trey McLean, Rollie Peterkin, Rick Rappo and Cesar Grajales, but could not pull off the upset. Nebraska picked up a forfeit win at 157 and then got major decision wins from No. 5 Stephen Dwyer (165) and Brandon Browne (174) to lock up the win.

McLean’s win at heavyweight, a 5-3 decision over No. 16 Tucker Lane, avenged a loss earlier in the season at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas. It wasn’t his only win on the weekend over an opponent who had previously defeated him this season. In fact, it wasn’t his only upset win over a ranked opponent. On Sunday, against Pitt, he scored a 5-2 decision over No. 6 Zach Sheaffer. His win extended what was a 14-7 Penn lead to a 7-7 advantage. Rollie Peterkin locked up the win for Penn with an exciting 2-0 win in a tiebreaker over Chris Albright at 125 pounds. Other winners against the Panthers for Penn were Cesar Grajales (149), Gabriel Burak (157) and Scott Giffin (174).

Penn’s record now stands at 7-5. The Quakers have defended their home mats well, losing just once in The Palestra and accumulating a 5-1 record in Philadelphia.

A Look Ahead …

Another weekend, another ranked opponent for Penn. This time, Penn hosts the No. 21-ranked Hofstra Pride on Saturday at 1 p.m. Hofstra is 7-3 on the season, with all three losses coming to teams currently in the InterMat Top 25 – No. 5 Ohio State, No. 6 Missouri and No. 23 Old Dominion. The Pride have a signature win over then-No. 7 Penn State to their credit.

Hofstra has four wrestlers ranked in the latest InterMat polls. Lou Ruggirello leads the way, coming in at No. 9 at 133 pounds. Alton Lucas is ranked No. 10 at 174 pounds, while Jon Bonilla-Bowman sits No. 17 at 157 pounds. Ryan Patrovich rounds out the ranked Hofstra wrestlers, slotting in at No. 20 at 165 pounds. Ruggirello is 19-3 on the season with 14 wins via pinfall. Another Pride wrestler to watch out for is 149-pounder P.J. Gillespie. He has a solid record this season and hung tough with No. 2 Bubba Jenkins of Penn State in their dual bout before falling, 4-3.

Last season, Penn and Hofstra met in Heampstead, N.Y., with the Pride winning the dual, 25-11. Hofstra won the first three matches of the day, including an 8-2 upset of No. 7 Rollie Peterkin by No. 13 Dave Tomasette to start the match. Ruggirello, ranked No. 6 at the time, barely escaped Penn’s Bryan Ortenzio with a 3-2 decision and No. 6 Charles Griffin defeated Andrew Valenti at 141, 15-6 to give the Pride a 10-0 lead.

Grajales got Penn back in the match with a tech fall over Jeff Rotella at 149 pounds, 24-8. Penn was never able to get close than five points behind throughout the dual, as the two teams traded decisions back and forth until Thomas Daddino pinned Trey McLean at heavyweight in 3:26.

The only probable rematch from last year could come at 133, where Ortenzio and Ruggirello have seen the majority of action at that weight.

For Penn, in addition to McLean, Rollie Peterkin and Cesar Grajales both won their two matches last weekend. Grajales is 21-5 on the season. He needs two more wins to crack the Top 10 in Penn history. He trails Adam Green, who graduated in 1993.

Penn in the Rankings …

This week was the first release of the NCAA Coaches Poll that will be factored into the selections to the 2009 NCAA Championships. This was the first of three polls that will be released throughout the season. Each weight has 33 wrestlers ranked.

Penn has six wrestlers ranked in the Top 33 by the NCAA Coaches:

125 – Rollie Peterkin: 10th

149 – Cesar Grajales: 11th

157 – Matt Dragon: 15th

165 – Zack Shanaman: 24th

174 – Scott Giffin: 24th

Hwt. – Trey McLean: T-31st

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

Last Week: Not Ranked

InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 12 12

149 Cesar Grajales 9 10

157 Matt Dragon 19 18

W.I.N. Magazine Rankings

Team: 24

Last Week: NR

Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 13 10

149 Cesar Grajales 10 11

157 Matt Dragon 9 11

165 Zack Shanaman 19 19

174 Scott Giffin 20 19

Hwt. Trey McLean 20 NR

Amateur Wrestling News Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 13 9

149 Cesar Grajales 13 13

157 Matt Dragon 17 16

Hwt. Trey McLean 17 NR

Seven Minutes With … Trey McLean

Trey McLean is the biggest wrestler on the Quakers, competing at heavyweight. It is fitting then that he has come up with some of the biggest wins for Penn over the past few weeks. Last weekend, he defeated the No. 6 and No. 16 wrestlers in the country at his weight and is currently ranked 17th by Amateur Wrestling News.

Q. When did you get into wrestling?

A. “The first time I stepped on the mat, I was seven. My dad was the coach at the high school I ended up attending. I used to follow him around to wrestling tournaments, so when I got old enough it was a natural progression. At first, it wasn’t something I spent a lot of time in, but I saw my brother get excited about it at cadet nationals, so being the younger brother I started paying more attention to it. I started freestyle and extra workouts and have followed that program ever since.”

Q. What stands out as a memory from wrestling as a kid?

A. “I always thought wrestling was fun. When my brother and I were younger, the workouts would turn into kind of brawls, but we eventually realized we were the only workout partners we had. It brought our relationship closer. It’s the same with other friends that I have made. Some of my best friends in the world are relationships based solely on the fact that I met them through this sport.”

Q. How about a standout moment from Penn?

A. “My standout moment hasn’t happened yet. It will happen this year on Saturday night (Mar. 21) at the NCAA Championships.”

Q. You started out your collegiate career at Air Force, and then took a year off to train at the Olympic Training center (OTC). What made you come back to college?

A. “It was actually debatable if I was going to go back to college. I enjoyed wrestling freestyle and wanted to keep training. I sat down with coach Kevin Jackson at the OTC and he suggested I go back to school, get my degree and wrestle collegiately.”

Q. When you decided to come back and wrestle in college, what made you choose Penn?

A. “I felt very welcomed by the team and seemed to communicate well with coach Jones. He and coaches Eiter, Henson and Green have been a huge part of the success I have had at Penn.”

Q. Where are you comfortable on the mat?

A. “One of the things that has made a big swing for me recently has been staying focused in the certain positions I feel comfortable with. There are a few of them, but I know I can compete with anyone in the country when I hold where I should be. One is on bottom. I need to stay on my base and fight through it. I am so much different on bottom than I was last year.”

Q. What are your goals after you graduate in May?

A. “When I graduate I want to continue my training for the next Olympics. That has always been my goal. I love wrestling and it is one of the most valuable parts of my life. I would like to also go on to coach as well. The best of both worlds would be to train at a school and help as an assistant at the school as well. We will see what happens this spring.”

What I Learned About Wrestling This Week …

So it seems that at least 10 times a match someone from the bench is screaming a one-word instruction to a wrestler on the mat. That word is “Turk!” I googled the term and saw a few videos, but still couldn’t quite get a grasp on what was happening. All I saw was that guys were getting turned and pinned. Seemed pretty effective…

Ever strong in my quest for knowledge, I went over to practice and had the guys show me what the turk is all about.

The version I was shown starts from a standing position with one wrestler (A) in control of another (B). After A takes B down to the mat, A isolates the bottom leg by grabbing hold of the bottom heel and then hooking the leg at the knee with his own leg. This sets it up so that B cannot turn into A and allows for the possibility of a turn and some backpoints. From there, A hooks in either a cross face or a claw and completes the tilt buy lifting his own leg, which was hooked at the knee of his opponent.

This is a good transition move that allows you to go from just having advantage or position into a scoring situation.

Quoting Coach Eiter …

Coach Eiter talks about the team’s week building off a strong weekend as it readies fro a difficult Hofstra squad.

“Hofstra is a much better team than where they are ranked. They come at you hard and wrestle a full seven minutes. Hopefully, we can use the success we had over the weekend and the energy we have had in the room this week to keep up the momentum. The guys have really banded together over the past two weeks and are ready for the stretch run