Peterkin, Grajales Advance to Semis at Cliff Keen Invitational

LAS VEGAS – After Day One of the 2008 Cliff Keen Invitational at the Las Vegas Convention Center, Penn has five wrestlers still alive with one more day of competition to go on Saturday.

Two of those wrestlers, Rollie Peterkin and Cesar Grajales will compete in the semifinals of their weightclasses after winning three matches on Friday.

Peterkin defeated Utah State’s Ben Kjar, 9-4, to earn his spot in the semis. Peterkin, the top seed at 125 pounds, will wrestle Jarrod Garnett, the fourth seed.

Grajales defeated Peter Yates of Virginia Tech, 4-3, to earn his spot in the semis. Grajales, the fifth seed at 149, will meet Darrion Caldwell of N.C. State, the top seed and a 2008 All-America.

Zack Shanaman lost in the quarterfinals to Bucknell’s Andy Rendos, 5-1. He will wrestle in the consolation rounds tomorrow starting at 9 a.m. PST.

Peterkin started his day with a 10-2 major decision over Montana State’s Cory Borges in the first round and a 7-2 decision over Purdue’s Akif Eren in the second round.

Grajales defeated two EIWA and Ivy League foes on his way to the quarterfinals. In the first round he edged Harvard’s Walter Peppelman, 3-2, and in the second round he took down Columbia’s Matt Dunn via major decision, 10-2.

Shanaman scored a major decision over West Virginia’s Christian Mory, 10-1, in his opening bout of the day. The second round saw Shanaman, the fourth seed, defeat Virginia Tech’s Matt Epperly, 6-3.

In addition to those three who advanced to the quarterfinals, Bryan Ortenzio (133 pounds) and Matt Dragon (157 pounds) have avenged early-round losses and have wrestled their way back through consolation rounds to stay in contention to earn a place at the tournament.

Ortenzio went 3-1 on the day, with his only loss a 4-2 decision to Lehigh’s Matt Fisk, the sixth seed in the tournament, in the second round. Ortenzio, the 11th seed, defeated Northern State’s Rick Schilley, 12-2, in the first round. In the consolation wrestlebacks, Ortenzio defeated Sacred Heart’s Cory Dunn, 3-2, and Western State’s Marques Bravo, 6-2.

Dragon, who entered the tournament as the ninth seed, won his first round bout over Utah Valley’s Wade Eldredge, 6-0. In the second round, he was defeated by eighth-seeded Kurt Kinser of Indiana, 5-3. Kinser is also the ninth-ranked wrestler in the country at 157 by InterMat. Dragon rallied to win his two wrestleback matches on Friday to stay alive. He first defeated Noomis Jones of Adams State via pinfall at 5:57. Then, in the next round, he defeated Wisconsin’s Ben Jordan, 9-7.

In addition to the five grapplers who are still competing, Penn had four others take part in the tournament.

At 174 pounds, Andrew Coles lost his first round match, 8-4, to Travis Rutt of Wisconsin. He won two wrestleback matches before falling to Shane Bennett of Dickinson State, 7-4. Prior to that, Coles had defeated Jason Points of Cal-State Bakersfield by pinfall (2:33) and Cal-State Fullerton’s Todd Noel, 6-2.

At 184 pounds, Thomas Shovlin won a pigtail match to start the day, defeating Adams State’s Kyle Sand by pinfall (1:23). He did not advance past the second round, losing to Wisconsin’s Eric Bugenhagen, 6-3. In the bout, Shovlin suffered an injury and took a medical forfeit in the consolation round.

At 197 pounds, Dan Zander dropped a 9-3 decision to John Drake of Cal-State Fullerton to start the day, but rallied with an 8-6 win over Northern State’s Brent Forshiem. In the second round of consolation matches, Zander was pinned by Cornell’s Cam Simaz at the 4:12 mark.

10th-seeded Trey McLean represented Penn in the heavyweight division and started the day with a pinfall win at 4:53 over Cumberland’s B.J. Stewart. In the second round, he was the victim of a pinfall when Nebraska’s seventh-seeded Tucker Lane stuck his shoulders on the mat. McLean could not recover in his consolation bout, where Cornell’s Tyler Moore also scored a pinfall win at 2:34.

Wrestling begins on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. PST. Complete updated brackets can be found at www.thewrestlingmall.com.

In addition, Penn Athletics will again provide live coverage of the Penn action throughout the day.

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