Wrestling Advances Two to EIWA Finals

2010 EIWA Championships Brackets After Day One

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - After the first day of the 106th EIWA Championships, Penn sits in a tie for second place with 92.5 points. The Quakers are even with host Lehigh behind three-time defending champion Cornell who leads the way with 124 points.

The Red and Blue are sitting high on the team scores based on an overall team effort. Nine Penn wrestlers won at least one match and after the first day of competition nine Quakers are still alive. Only one other team has as many wrestlers still slated for action on the final day - tournament-leader Cornell.

The biggest moment of the day for Penn came in the semifinals at 197 pounds when freshman Micah Burak came from behind in the final minute to upset senior and former EIWA finalist Richard Starks of Army, 8-5, in a second tiebreaker.

Burak was caught quickly in the first period by Starks for a takedown and two backpoints. The score remained 4-0 until the final minute of the third period where Burak put together a five-point move with around 30 seconds left, throwing Starks to his back. Burak was extremely close to the pin -as the picture above indicates - but was able to send the match to overtime.

The two went through a scoreless sudden victory period and headed to the first set of tiebreakers. Starks was down first, and Micah was able to ride out. He did get a stall warning, though, which could have played a part later. On the restart, the two rolled out of bounds, with Starks catching his head on a mat-side chair. After a break to tape Starks' head, the period ended with no score. Burak was unable to escape in the next period and they went to a second sudden victory period. The second minute-long period went scoreless, with neither guy getting close.

In the second set of tiebreakers, Burak worked his escape after 19 seconds, taking a 6-5 lead. The two switched positions with Burak needing to ride tough for at least 19 seconds to erase Stark's riding time advantage. An escape earlier would have brought riding time into play and given Starks the win. Burak did more than just hold on, he turned Starks with about 10 seconds to go, adding two more points for the 8-5 win to become Penn's first freshman finalist since Matt Dragon in 2006.

The fact that Burak's win outdid Scott Giffin's semifinal victory shows how exciting it was.

Giffin earned his first-conference final appearance with a pin over Bucknell's Shane Riccio at 6:56. Giffin scored the fall after finally reversing from bottom position in the third period. The match was tied, 4-4, before Giffin put his winning combination together but Giffin had been in control most of the match. An escape at that point was all Giffin needed, but he had been working a sit-out all period and seemed destined to complete the move. Finally, on the fourth restart of the period, he was able to not only reverse Riccio and add backpoints, he locked the Bucknell grappler's shoulders to the mat for the thrilling fall.

Both Giffin and Burak will wrestle Cornell competitors in the finals. Giffin, the two seed, will wrestle No. 1 - in both the tournament and the country - Mack Lewnes. Burak will take on No. 1 Cam Simaz. Burak and Simaz have met twice this season, with Simaz winning both by a combined score of three points.

In addition to the two finalists, seven other Quakers are still wrestling for places. Bryan Ortenzio has battled back from a first-round upset to the consolation semifinals. He will wrestle No. 4 David Marble of Bucknell tomorrow morning. Zack Kemmerer advanced to the championship semifinals before losing to national No. 1 Kyle Dake of Cornell, 6-2. He will wrestle Lehigh's Seth Ciasulli tomorrow morning. One of the better stories of the day was Cesar Grajales at 149 pounds. The former EIWA champion entered the day seeded seventh and defeated second seed Kyle Borshoff of American, 3-2, in the quarterfinals. He was defeated by Army's Matt Kyler in the semis, 9-4, in a match closer than the final score indicates. Grajales will take on Columbia's Steve Santos tomorrow morning. Another great run has been put together by Matt Dragon at 157. A two-time EIWA champ, Dragon went 3-1, and has a match with No. 2 seed Steve Fittery of American in the consolation semifinals tomorrow. Dragon, who has been hampered by his shoulder all year, overcame problems with it during his quarterfinal match to defeat Cornell's Derek Schreiner, 4-2, and then Brown's Bryan Tracy by fall at 6:50 to advance. Gabriel Burak also went 3-1 on Saturday and has a chance to finish in third. He pinned Harvard's Adam Hogue in the first round, tying Matt Valenti and Rick Springman for most falls in a season with 11. After a loss in the quarterfinals, he bounced back with two more wins and will wrestle Cornell's Justin Kerber tomorrow. The final Quaker still in the hunt for third place is heavyweight Tyler Blakely. The eighth seed, Blakely went 3-1 on the day and sits in the consolation semifinals. He is assured at least sixth place, two spots above his seed. The other Penn wrestler still in action is Mark Rappo. The sixth seed at 125, Rappo lost in second sudden victory, 3-1, to Jasen Borshoff and then to second seed Joe Langel of Rutgers, 11-7. He will wrestle Greg Einfrank of Brown tomorrow. Harrison Cook went 1-2 at 184, losing to No. 5 Andrew Buck of Navy in the first round before defeating Matt Latessa of Franklin & Marshall, 16-0, for important team points.

Day Two of the 106th EIWA Championships begins at 10 a.m. Sunday with the consolation semifinals and place bouts. The championship finals featuring Scott Giffin and Micah Burak take place at 3 p.m. Options on how to tune in to the finals can be found here. As always, Penn Athletics will be live all day mat-side for up-to-date information.

Download: Day One Brackets.pdf