Valenti, Herrington Make Quarters at NCAA's

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Penn saw two of its six wrestlers advance to tomorrow’s quarterfinals, but three fell out of the tournament at Session II of the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

Matt Valenti and Matt Herrington, both returning All-Americans, won their bouts to move into the quarters. Zack Shanaman, the only other Quaker still in the main draw, lost his match and will go to wrestlebacks tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Matt Eveleth, Matt Dragon, and Lior Zamir all lost in wrestlebacks and dropped out of competition.

Valenti was an easy winner, 9-3, over Andrae Hernandez of Indiana. Valenti led 4-1 after a period, but Hernandez quickly escaped in the second to cut the lead to 4-2. However, midway through the third Valenti reversed Hernandez and rolled him up for a near-fall two. Hernandez got out late for one and Valenti tacked on riding time.

Valenti will face seventh-seed Mack Reiter of Minnesota in the quarterfinals Friday morning.

Shanaman was not so lucky in the championship bracket, succumbing to a fall in 1:53 by second-seeded Mark Perry of Iowa. Perry led 8-0 at the time with a takedown and two near-fall three’s.

In Penn’s only other championship bracket bout Thursday night, Matt Herrington was a 6-4 winner over Oklahoma’s Joshua Weitzel. Herrington overcame a 3-0 hole in the second with two takedowns to tie it at four. Herrington chose neutral to start the third and delivered on a takedown with 42 seconds remaining.

Herrington will move into the quarterfinals to face second seed Keith Gavin of Pittsburgh, a 12-5 winner over Wisconsin’s Matthew Maciag.

Eveleth fell out of the tournament with an 8-3 loss to Marcos Orozco of UC-Davis in the first round of wrestlebacks. Eveleth twice tried to turn the reversal in the first period without success, then got one in the second period to tie it at 2-2. Orozco answered with his own reversal and a pair of near-fall twos to make it 8-2 at the end of the second. Eveleth got a point back on a stall in the third.

Dragon also fell out with a 5-4 loss to Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar. Morningstar led off the bat with a quick takedown, but Dragon got out for one. Dragon chose top for the second and rode out a scoreless period while virtually locking up riding time at 1:59. Morningstar chose bottom and got out, then took down Dragon to lead. 5-2. A late reversal by Dragon made it a 5-4 final.

Zamir, facing 11th-seeded John Dergo of Illinois, gave up a penalty point in the first period but got it back on a quick escape to start the second. Dergo chose down to start the third and Zamir immediately cut him on an optional start. Searching for a takedown to win it, but it never came as the bout ended at 2-1.

Wrestling continues at 11 a.m. Friday.

Full Results Through Session II (seedings in brackets)

125 lbs.

R1 – Steve Mytych (Drexel) def. [12] Matt Eveleth; D, 5-0

C1 – Marcos Orozco (UC-Davis) def. [12] Matt Eveleth; D, 8-3

133 lbs.

R1 – [2] Matt Valenti def. Bobby Pfennigs (Oregon State); D, 6-2

R2 – [2] Matt Valenti def. Andrae Hernandez (Indiana); D, 9-3

157 lbs.

R1 - [1] Trent Paulson (Iowa State) def. Matt Dragon; F, 3:32

C1 – Ryan Morningstar (Iowa) def. Matt Dragon; D, 5-4

165 lbs.

R1 – Zack Shanaman def. Ryan Meyer (South Dakota State); D, 5-1

R2 – [2] Mark Perry (Iowa) def. Zack Shanaman; F, 1:53

174 lbs.

R1 – [10] Matt Herrington def.Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa); F, 6:07

R2 – [10] Matt Herrington def. Joshua Weitzel (Oklahoma); D, 6-4

184 lbs.

R1 – [6] Jake Varner (Iowa State) def. Lior Zamir; D, 5-0

C1 – [11] John Dergo (Illinois) def. Lior Zamir; D, 2-1