Wrestling Crowns Two Champions; Takes Third

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BTHELEHAM, Pa. -The No. 22 Penn wrestling team finished third at the 102nd EIWA Championships on Sunday evening, with two champions and six NCAA qualifiers.

Junior Matt Valenti picked up his second EIWA crown at 133 pounds and recorded his 100th career win with a 4-2 overtimevictory against Harvard's Robert Preston. Rookie Matt Dragon won his first EIWA crown at 149 pounds with an 11-1 win over Lehigh’s Trevor Chinn. Junior Matt Herrington was the runner-up at 174 pounds, falling to Lehigh’s Travis Frick, 3-1 in sudden victory.

"I think we really competed well," Head Coach Zeke Jones said. "We wrestled at or above our seeds in almost all of our weight classes. There is a tremdenous amount of heart on the team. Of the matches we lost, most of them were nailbiters that came down to the final minutes. Thereare obviously some things we need to work on, and I think if we take care of the little things it will make a difference in the team standings."

After a scoreless first period, Valenti chose down to start the second. Preston turned Valenti for two nearfall points to take a 2-0 lead. After a stalling call on Harvard, Valenti reversed Preston and erased the riding time to tie the match. Preston chose neutral to start the third and neither wrestler could capitalize on scoring opportunities in that period or the first one-minute overtime session. Valenti rode Preston out for the first 30-second stanza,then reversed him in the second 30-second portion to win the match.

Valenti is just the sixth Penn wrestler to record 100 career victories, but the first to do it by his junior year.

Dragon won his 149-pound match with a convincing 11-1 major decision. In the first period, Dragon scored a takedown and turned Chinn for three nearfall points. Dragon chose top to start the second and turned Chinn for another three backpoints. In the final period, Chinn chose neutral and was taken down and could not escape.

Dragon is the first freshman from Penn to win an EIWA title since Mason Lenhard did in 2001.

Herrington and Frick each scored one point with escapes, but neither grappler could secure a takedown. In the one-minute overtime stanza, Frick scored at the edge of the mat for the win.

Senior Mike Silengo (125), freshman Cesar Grajales (141) and senior Dustin Wiles (184) will join Dragon, Valenti and Herrington at the 2006 NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City.

No. 15 Lehigh won the meet with 129 points and No. 14 Cornell finished second with 114.5. Penn was third with 113 points. Navy was fourth with 86 and Harvard finished 79.5.

Penn was awarded the E.I.O.W.A. Good Sportsmanship Award. This is the second time the Quakers won the award; they also did so in 2002.

The Quakers head to Oklahoma City March 16-18 for the NCAA Championships.

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

Consolation Round

def. No. 5 Matt Morkel (American), D; 10-6

def. No. 4 William Simpson, D;7-6 (Third Place)

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

def. No. 3 seed Robbie Preston (Harvard), D; 4-2 TB (First Place)

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

def. No. 3 seed Steve Adamcsik (Rutgers), 4-3

def. No. 4 Sal Tirico (Columbia) , D; 4-3 (Third Place)

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

Championship Round

first round bye

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

def. No. 4 seed John Cox (Navy), D; 11-7

def. No. 6 seed Trevor Chinn (Lehigh), MD, 11-1

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

lost to No. 1 seed Dustin Manotti (Cornell), TF; 20-5

Consolation Round

lost to No. 2 seed Derek Zinck (Lehigh), D;12-6

def. Brian Rowan (Army), MD;13-0 (Fifth Place)

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

lost to No. 1 seeded Travis Frick (Lehigh), D; 3-1 sv

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

Consolation Round

def. No. 3 seed Louis Caputo (Harvard), D; 5-4

def. No. 8 seed David Helfrich (Lehigh), D; 5-1 (Third-Place)

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

Consolation Round

lost to Charles Martin (Army), D; 5-1

def. Orrin Kelinhenz (Columbia), MD; 18-6 (Fifth place)