AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Penn advanced three wrestlers to Thursday night’s second round as they began the 2007 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
Matt Valenti, Zack Shanaman and Matt Herrington all won their first round bouts and will wrestle in the second round of the championship bracket. Matt Eveleth, Matt Dragon and Lior Zamir lost their respective first-round matches and will move into the wrestlebacks, also Thursday evening.
Valenti won his first-round bout with a 6-2 decision over Oregon State’s Bobby Pfennigs. Valenti scored two takedowns in the first period and an escape in the third, while Pfennigs managed just two escapes as Valenti kept up his attack all match. Valenti will face Indiana’s Andrae Hernandez in the second round this evening.
Shanaman was also a winner for the Quakers, beating Ryan Meyer of South Dakota State, 5-1. Shanaman led from the get-go, scoring a takedown with 1:19 left in the first period and riding out. Meyer, however, rode out in a scoreless second period, then took top in the third. Shanaman escaped, however, and added another takedown late, while Meyer secured riding time for his lone point. Shanaman will have a tough second-round opponent in Mark Perry, the second seed from Iowa.
Herrington highlighted the first session for the Quakers with his pin of Northern Iowa’s Alex Dolly in 6:07. Herrington was comfortably in the lead, having scored a takedown in the first and an escape and another takedown in the second. Dolly chose neutral for the third, and after a scoreless scramble near the edge, Herrington scored a takedown into a fall midway through the period. He will face Oklahoma’s Alex Weitzel tonight, an upset 4-2 winner over seventh-seeded Brandon Sinnott of Central Michigan.
Eveleth, the 12th seed at 125 lbs., lost his first-round match to Drexel’s Steve Mytych, 5-0. After two scoreless periods, Eveleth was down for the third and was twice caught in a tilt as Mytych scored a two- and three-point near-fall to win. Eveleth will go into the wrestlebacks against UC-Davis’ Marcos Orozco this evening.
Dragon didn’t fair much better, facing a tough draw against No. 1 seed Trent Paulson of Iowa State. Paulson led 2-0 after one period, but when Dragon tried to turn him to start the second, Paulson quickly reversed the Penn sophomore and put him on his back for the fall at 3:32. Dragon will get Iowa’s Ryan Morningstar in wrestlebacks.
Zamir was a 5-0 loser in his 184-pound first-round bout with sixth-seeded Jake Varner of Iowa State. After a scoreless first, Varner chose down and reversed Zamir midway through the period, then rode out and earned a penalty point at the end of the second. Varner earned a stalling point in the third as he rode out the remainder of the match. Zamir will get a bye in the first round of wrestlebacks and will wrestle the loser of Jake Herbert and Antonio Miranda on Friday morning.
Full Results (seedings in brackets)
NCAA Championships - Session I
R1 Steve Mytych (Drexel) def.  Matt Eveleth; D, 5-0
R1  Matt Valenti def. Bobby Pfennigs (Oregon State); D, 6-2
R1 -  Trent Paulson (Iowa State) def. Matt Dragon; F, 3:32
R1 Zack Shanaman def. Ryan Meyer (South Dakota State); D, 5-1
R1  Matt Herrington def.Alex Dolly (Northern Iowa); F, 6:07
R1  Jake Varner (Iowa State) def. Lior Zamir; D, 5-0