Penn Wrestling Report 1/8: Quakers Head to Virginia Duals

PHILADELPHIAIt was a productive weekend for the Penn wrestling program as they swept three duals on their home mats in The Palestra as part of the Penn Duals. This week, the PWR takes a look back at the weekend while previewing the upcoming Virginia Duals. Also, Colin Hitschler sat down for a few questions and we learn just what a spladel is.

A Look Back …

Penn hosted Delaware State, East Stroudsburg, Franklin & Marshall and Gloucester in The Palestra last weekend for a series of duals. Penn swept through the meet, winning all three duals competed in. The Quakers defeated DSU, 42-9, before shutting out F&M, 49-0. The Red and Blue ended the day with a 38-7 victory over East Stroudsburg. With the wins over F&M and ESU, Penn upped its EIWA record to 3-0. The Quakers now sit 4-1 overall on the season and moved up one spot in the national rankings to No. 22.

The Rappo brothers had a great day at the duals, scoring five wins – all with bonus points. Mark, a freshman 125-pounder, scored two pinfall wins – over DSU and ESU – and a tech fall. Older brother Rick won a match via forfeit and added a fall of his own against ESU. Mark’s quickest fall of the day was 3:23 against ESU’s David Luthy. Rick pinned ESU’s Matthew Rizzo in 3:44.

Overall, Penn scored bonus points in 19 bouts en route to the dominating sweep. Matt Dragon added two tech falls, needing just 7:15 over the two matches he wrestled to gain 15-point leads. 197-pounder Dan Zander went 2-1 on the day, earning both victories via pinfall. He scored both pins in a cumulative time of 4:58.

A Look Ahead …

This weekend, the Quakers will head to Hampton, Va. for the 2009 Virginia Duals. Penn is seeded fifth and has drawn North Dakota State in the first round. Penn defeated NDSU, 29-6, in the first round of last years Virginia Duals. In fact, this will be the third time in as many trips that Penn and the Bison will meet up in the first round of the tournament. Here are the first round matchups:

#1 Lehigh vs. Ohio University

#8 Kent State vs. Bucknell

#5 Penn vs. North Dakota State

#4 Edinboro vs. Rider

#3 Central Michigan vs. Liberty

#6 Old Dominion vs. Northern Colorado

#7 Virginia vs. Navy

#2 Oklahoma State vs. Clarion

Seven of the top eight seeds are ranked in the Top 25 in the country, headed by No. 8 Lehigh. In addition, 49 wrestlers that are ranked in the Top 20 in their weight class by InterMat are scheduled to compete. One particularly stacked weight class is 125 pounds where eight ranked wrestlers are slated to be in action, headlined by No. 2 Paul Donahoe of Edinboro, the 2007 NCAA Champion.

In addition, No. 1 Gregor Gillespie of Edinboro headlines the crop at 157 and Oklahoma State’s Jared Rosholt, also ranked No. 1, will be in action at heavyweight.

Here is Penn’s projected lineup heading into the weekend:

125 – Rollie Peterkin

133 – Bryan Ortenzio

141 – Rick Rappo/Zack Kemmerer

149 – Cesar Grajales/Jake Hunter

157 – Matt Dragon

165 – Zack Shanaman/Andrew Coles

174 – Scott Giffin/Cory Beaver

184 – Colin Hitschler

197 – Thomas Shovlin

Hwt. – Trey McLean/Tyler Blakely.

Penn in the Rankings …

USA Today/InterMat/NWCA Division I Team Ranking: No. 22

Last Week: No. 23

InterMat/NWCA/NWMA Division I Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 7 6

149 Cesar Grajales 10 12

157 Matt Dragon 13 13

165 Zack Shanaman 15 15

W.I.N. Magazine Rankings

Team: No. 25

Last Week: No. 24

Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 7 6

149 Cesar Grajales 11 12

157 Matt Dragon 11 12

174 Scott Giffin 20 NR

Amateur Wrestling News Individual Rankings

Wt. Name This Week Last Week

125 Rollie Peterkin 7 7

149 Cesar Grajales 11 12

157 Matt Dragon 12 13

Seven Minutes With … Colin Hitschler

Colin Hitschler is in his first full season starting for the Red and Blue, competing at 184 pounds. He is 10-2 on the season, including a 4-1 record in dual meets. He has two pinfall victories with the fastest coming in 0:59. Hitschler is a Philadelphia native, graduating from Penn Charter where he also competed in football. Hitschler is a third generation Penn wrestler, with his grandfather, father and older brother all competing for the Red and Blue. Hitschler was up close and personal with a World Series championship this season as he served as an intern with the Philadelphia Phillies during the 2008 season.

Q. When did you start wrestling?

A. “Wrestling has always been in my blood, but I did not start actively competing until I was in middle school when I joined my school’s team. My father coached that team so it was natural to join. He had been teaching my brothers and me in our living room while we grew up, so it wasn’t like I didn’t have experience. I had been in the wrestling room with his teams growing up as well, so it was a good fit to become part of the team when the time was right.”

Q. What was it like wrestling with your dad as coach?

A. “It was fun. It was a great way to bond with my dad. Of course it was tough when he needed to yell at you or tell you what you were doing wrong, but you understood it. He was a great coach and taught me so much about wrestling.”

Q. Why did you choose to come to Penn?

A. “It wasn’t so much family pressure, but more of a Philly thing. As someone who grew up in this area, Penn always has an aura about it. It really was a great fit for me all around. However, when I came into the Penn wrestling room and saw how the guys interacted and how they were driven to succeed, that clinched it.”

Q. What was it like with your brother, Rob, on the team the past few years?

A. “It was great wrestling with Rob on the team. He was definitely my toughest critic though, but in a good way. I was tough on him as well … well as tough as a younger brother can be. At the same time, though, we have always been each other’s biggest fans. It has strengthened our relationship a lot.”

Q. What are your lasting memories of Penn wrestling?

A. “I would say the team bonding away from the mat. A lot of us live together in our fraternity house and when we are playing volleyball or cooking out, we have a chance to really build relationships. That carries over into matches. We are constantly supporting each other and rooting each other on because we are so close.”

Q. What would you say is your “go to” move?

A. “Actually, the coaches are always giving me a hard time because I don’t really have a set style or technique. I like to think I am a tough wrestler who makes it hard for my opponent to score points. I also really like scrambling and using my athleticism.”

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

A. “I am a communications major, so I like anything where I can work on interacting with other people. I would like to get into coaching, specifically football, so I will need to have great communication skills. I had a chance to work with the Phillies this season though, and I could see myself in a front office as well. I would need those same communication skills there as well.”

Bonus Question: What are your goals for the rest of the season?

A. “My main focus is staying healthy and going strong for the full seven minutes. If that happens, then the rest will work itself out. For the team, I really want to win EIWAs on our home mats in The Palestra. That would be a special moment for us.”

What I Learned About Wrestling This Week …

While I was sitting at the head table a few matches back, I heard an interesting word used to describe a move executed in the match. That word was spladel. It is fun to just even say the word. Of course, I was not familiar with the term so I pulled up Google and typed it in. Up came a few videos, one of which was a step by step description of how to execute it.

The thing I liked best about the move is that it is a great counter move. After your opponent gets in with a single leg shot (say to the left leg), a wrestler counters with a two-on-one to the opponent’s left leg. Then, he will lock his left leg in to the opponent’s right leg. With position on two legs and hip pressure on the opponent’s head, the wrestler then rolls backwards and flips the opponent over and square onto his back. Keeping up the pressure on the opponent’s head and shoulders usually leads to them landing on the mat and a quick pinfall win. Quite impressive from both a tactical standpoint and visually for the spectator.

Quoting Coach Eiter …

Coach Eiter looks ahead to the weekend Virginia Duals …

“We are very excited to start the second half of the season at the Virginia Duals. There are many great teams competing this weekend and just as many talented individuals. The whole team is excited to see where we stand with the nation’s best.”