Three Wrestlers Headed to EIWA Finals; Eight Quakers Still Alive

BETHLEHEM, Pa. – The Penn men’s basketball team will not be the only Quakers headed to an NCAA Tournament next week. Juniors Matt Valenti and Matt Herrington and freshman Matt Dragon punched their tickets to the NCAA Wrestling Championships with wins in the semifinals of the EIWA Championships.

As a team, the Quakers stand in third place with 85.5 points and eight wrestlers still competing. Three grapplers have already automatically qualified, but five more will have a chance tomorrow in the consolation finals. Lehigh leads the field with 104 points, and Cornell is right on theirheels with 100.5 points. Harvard is in fourth with 70.5 points.

“The first day was definitely in our grasp. I feel like a lot of good things happened today, but we still have work to do,” said Head Coach Zeke Jones. “Team championships are not won in the championship rounds but rather in the consolation rounds, and with eight guys still competing I think if we wrestler hard and take care of business we can send all eight of them to the NCAA Championships.”

Valenti won his 133-pound semifinal match 11-8 to advance to the final, where he will face Harvard’s Robbie Preston. Both grapplers will be vying for their second EIWA crowns – Valenti won at 125 pounds in 2004 and Preston won at 125 pounds last year in Annapolis. Valenti made it to the semifinals, picking up an 8-2 decision over Dan Appello of Brown and an 11-6 win over Jeff Santo of Lehigh. Valenti is 30-2 on the season and has 99 career victories.

Dragon held off Navy’s John Cox, 11-7, to advance to the 149-pound final tomorrow against Lehigh’s Trevor Chinn. Dragon had a first-round bye and paved his way to the semifinals by pinning Robert LaTessa of Harvard in 3:24.

Herrington defeated No. 3 seed Matt Palmer of Columbia, 8-5 in the semifinals to advance to the 174-pound final against Lehigh’s Travis Frick. Herrington picked up bonus points in his first two matches, winning by technical fall, 16-6, and major decision, 12-4.

In the 125-pound semifinals, No. 3 seed Mike Silengo dropped a tough decision to Lehigh’s Matt Fisk, 7-2. After a bye in the first round, Silengo advanced to the semifinals with a win over Jeff Schell of Brown. Silengo avenged his dual-meet loss to Schell with an 11-3 major decision. Silengo will face Matt Morkel of American in the consolation semifinals.

Junior Gene Zannetti lost in the semifinalround to No. 1 seed Dustin Mannotti , 20-5. Zannetti will wrestle Lehigh’s No. 2 seed Derek Zinck in the consolation semifinals. Zannetti won his first match by fall, pinning Andrew Smith of Franklin & Marshall in 2:44, and then earned a 12-9 decision over John Jarred of Navy.

Classmate Dustin Wiles held No. 1 seed and No. 1 in the nation Josh Glenn of American scoreless for the first two periods in the semifinal match at 184 pounds. Wiles cut Glenn loose to start the third period. With time winding down, Wiles went in for the takedown, but it was Glenn who was in position to score the takedown and he did, addingfour nearfall points before the buzzer sounded for the win. Wiles will face Harvard’s Louis Caputo in the consolation semifinals tomorrow morning. Wiles upset No. 4 seed Rudy Medini of Rutgers in the quarterfinals. After a first-round bye, Wiles came back to pin his opponent in 4:02 and advance to the semifinals.

In the 197-pound semifinal, senior Paul Velekei fell to Lehigh’s Matt Cassidy, 3-2. Veleki earned his spot in the semifinals by winning his first two matches both my major decision. Velekei will take on Amry’s Charles Martin in the consolation semifinals tomorrow.

Freshman Cesar Grajales picked up 13-4 a major decision in the consolation quarterfinals against Eric Macotulli of Princeton. After a first round bye, Grajales fell to No. 4 seed Sal Tiricio of Columbia in the championship quarterfinals.

Zamir won a barnburner against Dustin Tillman of Columbia in his first match of the day, but fell to No. 2 seed Muzaffar Adurokhmonv of American in the quarterfinals and fell by pin. He bounced back in the consolation quarterfinals with a fall over Martin Everin of Princeton in 1:38.

Freshman Jack Sullivan pulled off the upset of No. 7 seed Mike D’Amico at heavyweight, defeating his Rutgers opponent, 7-4. Unfortunately that set up a match with No. 2 seed Bode Ogunwole of Harvard. Ogunwole won 15-2. In his first consolation match, Sullivan defeated Zdrada Zack of Princeton, 6-4.

125 pounds - Mike Silengo (No. 3 seed/No. 13)

Championship Round

first round bye

def. No. 6 seed Jeff Schell (Brown) MD;11-3

lost to No. 2 seed Matt Fisk (Lehigh), D;7-2

133 pounds - Matt Valenti (No. 1 seed/No.7)

Championship Round

def. Dan Appello (Brown), D;8-2

def. No. 8 Jeff Santo (Lehigh) D: 11-6

def. No. 4 seed Joe Baker (Navy), D;11-8

141 pounds - Cesar Grajales (No. 5 seed)

Championship Round

first round bye

lost to No. 4 Sal Tirico (Columbia), MD 12-3

Consolation Round

def. Eric Marcotulli (Princeton), MD; 13-4

def. No. 8 seed Kyle Ferris (ESU), D; 6-0

149 - Matt Dragon (No. 1 seed/No. 15)

Championship Round

first round bye

def. Robert LaTessa (Harvard), F;3:24

157 pounds - Gene Zannetti (No. 4 seed)

Championship Round

def. Andrew Smith (F&M), F;2:44

def. No. 5 seed John Jarred (Navy), D;12-9

165 pounds - Lior Zamir (No. 7)

Championship Round

def. Dustin Tillman (Columbia), D;8-7

lost to No. 2 seed Muzaffar Adurokhmonv (American), F;1:36

Consolation Round

def. Martin Everin (Princeton), F;1:38

lost to No. 3 seed Shawn Kitchner (Brown), D; 3-1

174 pounds - Matt Herrington (No. 2 seed/No. 17)

Championship Round

def. Dwayne Hash (American) TF;20-5

def. No. 7 seed David Sullivan, MD;12-4

def. No. 3 seed Matt Palmer (Columbia) , D; 8-5

184 pounds - Dustin Wiles (No. 5)

Championship Round

first round bye

def. No 4 seed Rudy Medini (Rutgers), F;4:02

lost to No. 1 seed John Glenn (American), D; 6-0

197 pound - Paul Velekei (No. 3 seed)

Championship Round

def. Nicolas Somers (F&M), MD;16-6

def. OrrinKleinhenz(Columbia), MD; 12-4

lost to No. 2 seed Matt Cassidy (Lehigh), D; 3-2

285 pounds - Jack Sullivan

Championship Round

def. No. 7 seed Mike D’Amico (Rutgers), D;7-4

lost to No. 2 Bode Ogunwole, MD;15-2

Consolation Round

def. Zdrada Zack (Brown), D; 6-4

lost to MichaelSprigg(Army), F; 0:37