Wrestling Finishes Dual Slate with Three This Weekend

No.20 Pennvs. No. 19 Nebraska
Feb. 17, 2007 - 2 p.m.
The Palestra
Internet Video: PennAthletics.com / Penn Sports Network

No.20 Penn at Princeton
Feb.17, 2007 -7:30 p.m.
Princeton, N.J.

No.20 Penn at No. 24 Lehigh
Feb.18, 2007 -1 p.m.
Bethlehem, Pa.
Radio: WEEX 1230-AM / WTKZ 1320-AM

Notes in PDF Format (includes line-ups, statistics and more)

No. 20 Penn closes out its dual meet schedule looking for some wins as it faces No. 21 Nebraska and Princeton Saturday before heading to EIWA rival No. 24 Lehigh on Sunday. The Quakers are competing for the final time before the EIWA Championships on March 3-4.

Projected Starters

125 #20 Matt EvelethOR Rollie Peterkin
133 #1 Matt Valenti
141 Brett McCurdy
149 Rob Hitschler OR Rick Rappo
157 Matt Dragon
165 #10 Zack Shanaman
174 #11 Matt Herrington
184 #14 Lior Zamir
197 Jack Sullivan
285 Ben Reiter

Live Video
Live video of all of Penn’s home dual meets this season is being offered on the Penn Sports Network, PennAthletics.com’s exclusive multimedia network devoted to Quaker athletics. A 2007 winter and spring season pass is only $9.95 and includes all wrestling and men’s and women’s basketball, as well as select special events.

Senior Day at The Palestra
Before Saturday’s meet with Nebraska, Penn will honor seven seniors — Matt Eveleth, Matt Herrington, Nick Matteo, Chris Moulton, Stephen Swentzel, Matt Valenti and Gene Zannetti. The seven will be competing for the final time at The Palestra.

Valenti On Verge of Program Record
Following an oustanding weekend that saw him pin No. 3 Adam Frey of Cornell, No. 1 Matt Valenti is just two wins away from tying Brett Matter for first on Penn’s all-time wins list. Valenti is now 126-21 all-time, and three wins this weekend would give him the record.

Valenti Pins Frey
No. 1 Matt Valenti’s match with No. 3 Adam Frey of Cornell was one of the most highly anticipated in EIWA wrestling this year, and — at least if you were a Penn fan — the result didn’t disappoint. Halfway through the first period, Valenti turned a 2-on-1 into a single leg and Frey tried to funk out of it. Before he could roll all the way over, Valenti capitalized on Frey’s back being down and flattened him out, scoring the pin at the 1:30 mark.

Shanaman Emerges
One of the most reliable point-winners for the Quakers lately has been sophomore 165-pounder Zack Shanaman. The 10th-ranked grappler (he jumped up this week from 17th) has won five in a row — three by major decision — and knocked off No. 10 Steve Anceravage of Cornell last weekend. Shanaman is 20-10 this season.

Columbia Stuns the Quakers
Going into their meet last Saturday, Penn hadn’t lost to Columbia since 1993. Walking out of University Gym, that was no longer true. The Lions stunned the Quakers, 22-12, with upsets over three of Penn’s six ranked grapplers as Matt Eveleth, Matt Herrington and Lior Zamir suffered setbacks.

In The Rankings
Penn stayed in the top 20 despite two losses last weekend, and are ranked 20th in the nation as a team this week. The Quakers also have individuals ranked in five of the 10 weight classes. Three grapplers — Matt Eveleth (20th at 125), Zack Shanaman (10th at 165) and Lior Zamir (14th at 184) came into the season unranked. Meanwhile, Matt Valenti (First at 133) and Matt Herrington (11th at 174) have been familiar faces in the rankings throughout the season.

Scouting Nebraska
The Quakers and the Huskers meet for the first time ever Saturday, and perhaps not at a time Penn would prefer as Nebraska has made some noise on the national scene as of late. The Huskers knocked off No. 14 Oklahoma in Norman on Feb. 9, 21-15, thanks to a dramatic fall at heavyweight by freshman Cameron Browne in the final match. Last Sunday, Nebraska lost to No. 1 Minnesota but not before unranked 157-pounder Chris Oliver shocked No. 2 C.P. Schlatter, 7-4, in the first tiebreaker of overtime.

Scouting Princeton
The 2006-07 season has once again been a tough run for the Tigers, who are 0-16 this year. Like Penn, Princeton is coming off of the Columbia/Cornell weekend with a pair of losses, falling 37-6 to Columbia and 56-0 to Cornell.

Scouting Lehigh
Penn heads to Stabler Arena looking to snap a four-meet losing streak to the Mountain Hawks and beat Lehigh in Bethlehem for the first time since 1999. The Quakers will have to contend with a tough line-up that includes 125-pounder Matt Fisk (22-5 this season), 141-pounder No. 20 Matt Ciasulli (25-5), 184-pounder No. 12 David Craig (23-7) and heavyweight No. 18 Paul Weibel (16-8). The Mountain Hawks are coming off a pair of wins on Feb. 10, when they beat Army, 28-6, before taking out Rutgers, 26-10.

Herrington Nears 100
Matt Valenti isn’t the only one climbing up the all-time wins list - teammate Matt Herrington is now ninth all-time with 89 wins. Herrington has a chance to become just the seventh grappler in Penn history to reach 100 wins.

The 2007 National Duals
Penn turned in a 1-2 performance at National Duals, where it lost to then-No. 1 Missouri and then-No. 9 Central Michigan and beat West Virginia. The Quakers were making their first appearance at the Duals since 2004. Several individual efforts stood out — 125-pounder Matt Eveleth won all three of his matches, two of them by fall; Matt Dragon continued his winning ways at 157 with a trio of victories; and Rick Rappo scored a major upset at 141 with his win over No. 14 Eric Kruger of Central Michigan.

Three Champs at Millersville
Jeff Zannetti, Jack Sullivan and Trey McLean each won a title at the Shorty Hitchcock Open at Millersville University Jan. 5. Zannetti took the 165 title with a 5-0 record, while Sullivan came out on top of a pair of 3-2 decisions in his last two matches to win at 197. McLean, making his career debut with the Quakers, won the heavyweight bracket with a 3-0 record.

Rappo Wins at Wilkes
Rick Rappo earned his first career tournament title at the Wilkes Open on Dec. 27, running off three wins to claim the 141-pound championship. Rappo avenged an early-season loss to BU’s Carlo Farrandino, 13-7, in the final. Andrew Coles also placed at the tournament, coming in third at 165 lbs.

Wittmeyer Wins at Penn State
Senior Brock Wittmeyer captured the 165-lb. title at the Nittany Lion Open on Dec. 3. Wittmeyer put up a 6-0 record at the tournament, defeating Penn State’s Dave Rella, 4-1, in the final.

Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational
Penn turned in an outstanding third-place finish in Las Vegas, finishing with 100.5 team points, just behind Michigan’s 109. Missouri ran away with the competition, finishing with 157 points. Matt Valenti and Matt Herrington were each runners-up in their weight classes, while Matt Eveleth finished third at 125 lbs. Zack Shanaman finished fourth at 165 and Lior Zamir was the seventh-place finisher at 184.

The Northeast Duals
The Quakers split their four meets at the Northeast Duals, beating Binghamton and Bloomsburg while falling to No. 12 Central Michigan and No. 1 Minnesota. Individually, Matt Valenti and Matt Dragon wrestled well, both winning all of their matches. Dragon’s day was highlighted with his match with No. 6 CP Schlatter of Minnesota. Although Dragon won by injury default late in the third period, he had the match in hand with the score at 4-4 and riding time locked up. Matt Herrington also beat a ranked opponent, defeating No. 12 Gabe Dretsch of Minnesota with a 10-7 decision.

NWCA All-Star Classic
Senior Matt Valenti scored a 6-5 win over No. 5 Coleman Scott of Oklahoma State, while classmate Matt Herrington fell to No. 3 James Yonushonis of Penn State, 5-4, Nov. 20 at the NWCA All-Star Classic in Dallas. It was the first participation in the event for the pair, who were both All-Americans last season. Valenti took an early lead on Scott and secured the riding time advantage to negate two late takedowns by Scott. Herrington led for most of the match until Yonushonis tied it in the third and scored a takedown. Despite getting the riding time point, Herrington still turned up on the losing end.

The Keystone Classic
Penn crowned two champions and came in second in the team standings at the 2006 Keystone Classic. Despite being without five of its 10 starters for various reasons, the Quakers turned in a very strong showing. At 125, it was all Penn as senior Matt Eveleth beat freshman Rollie Peterkin in the final, while sophomore Matt Dragon rolled through the 157-lb. bracket to earn his first Keystone title. The Quakers turned in four second-place finishers, as well — Peterkin, Brock Wittmeyer (165), Colin Hitschler (184), and Jack Sullivan (197).

At the Michigan State Open
The Quakers turned in a successful performance at the Michigan State Open on Nov. 19, and senior Matt Herrington captured the title at 174 lbs. Herrington dominated the field, with two falls and two major decisions en route to a 5-2 decision in the final over Indiana’s Trevor Perry. All told, Penn grapplers won 64 bouts and won 11 places at the open. Matt Valenti was the second-place finisher at 133 lbs.; Rob Hitschler and Lior Zamir each took fourth; Cesar Grajales, Thomas Shovlin and Gene Zannetti grabbed fifth-place spots; and Colin Hitschler and Jack Sullivan each earned seventh-place showings. Zack Shanaman and Jeff Zannetti were set to wrestle for fifth place at 165 lbs., but the match was declared a double forfeit. Matt Dragon finished eighth at 157 lbs. No team standings were kept at the event.

Preseason EIWA Poll
Penn was selected third in the preseason EIWA coaches’ poll. Cornell was picked to win, with Lehigh second. Ivy League foes Columbia and Harvard were selected fourth and fifth, respectively, behind the Quakers.

Head Coach Zeke Jones
Zeke Jonesis inhis second season at the helm of Penn wrestling after a wildly successful freshman campaign. Jones led the Quakers to an 11-5 dual-meet record and a 12th-place finish at NCAA championships with a program-record 51 points, while coaching a national champion and another All-America. Jones was named the 2006 Rookie Coach of the Year by Amateur Wrestling News.

Welcoming... Rob Eiter
Rob Eiter begins his first season as an assistant coach with the Quakers after serving as an assistant at Big Ten power Northwestern for the past four seasons. Eiter is a two-time Olympian who brings a wealth of knowledge to Philadelphia. Last season, he helped the Wildcats to a 13th-place finish at NCAA’s with three All-Americas. Prior to his time in Evanston, Eiter was an assistant at Clarion, where he helped Sheldon Thomas win a national title and coached four-time All-America Bryan Stout. Eiter also coached the 1999 women’s world championship team. As a wrestler, Either was an Olympian in 1992 and 1996 and is a five-time U.S. Open national champion and two-time World Cup silver medalist.

The Captains
Matt Valenti and Rob Hitschler have been selected captains for the 2006-07 season.

City of Brotherly Love
For the second year in a row, Penn has three sets of brothers on its roster — Colin and Rob Hitschler, Andy and Matt Valenti and Jeff and Gene Zannetti. Penn has had 14 sets of brothers compete on the same roster throughout its history.

Quaker Notemeal
Penn’s loss to Columbia was the first since 1993 ... Despite being close geographically and having a series that dates back to 1912, Penn and Lehigh have met only 46 times ... Penn and Nebraska have never met in dual competition ... Penn and Princeton first met 101 years ago to the day, on Feb. 17, 1906 ... The Quakers have been nationally-ranked every week since Dec. 10, 2005 when it broke in at 22nd in the nation ... Penn has already faced two No. 1-ranked teams and five top-12 teams this season ... Penn has not beaten a ranked team since the 2003-04 season when it upset No. 3 Iowa State at the National Duals ... Matt Valenti’s fall over Adam Frey was his first of the season ... Matt Eveleth leads the team with six falls this year.

Next Time Out
Penn has concluded its dual meet schedule and will spend the next two weeks preparing for the EIWA Championships on March 3-4 at East Stroudsburg.

Download: feb 17 notes.pdf