PHILADLEPHIA - Penn wrestling hits the road this weekend for a pair of duals in Virginia, both taking place in Charlottesville at the University of Virginia on Jan. 19. Up first for the Quakers is V.M.I. at 1 p.m. followed by a dual with the Cavaliers at approximately 2:30 p.m.
The Red and Blue are looking to bounce back after a 25-23 loss to Bloomsburg last weekend in a dual where both teams won five bouts - the Huskies taking the win with extra bonus points via falls at 174 and 184.
Head coach Rob Eiter will have three wrestlers in the Top 10 of InterMat's latest rankings take the mat for the Penn on Sunday in No. 4 Rollie Peterkin (133), No. 9 Zack Kemmerer (141) and No. 7 Micah Burak (197). Peterkin and Kemmerer join with Mark Rappo to give the Quakers a potent starting trio at the lower weights. The group is 14-3 in duals this season and helped ensure that the Quakers have held the lead after the first three matches in all six of their duals in 2010-11. The trio has staked Penn to leads of 13-0 and 14-0, respectively, in the last two duals.
The key for Penn this Sunday will be sustaining momentum provided the three veterans continue to perform as they have early on. The Quakers are 9-9 at 149, 157 and 165 this season - with the majority of the wins coming from Gabriel Burak at 165 (5-1). True freshmen Andrew Lenzi and Brad Wukie have been thrown right into action for the Red and Blue at 149 and 157, each providing two wins in duals for Penn so far.
Canaan Bethea is 13-8 in a very busy freshman campaign at 174 pounds. This Sunday, he will have a tough task ahead of him in Virginia's No. 4 Chris Henrich. A two-time All-American, Henrich finished third at 174 in 2010 and recently became Virginia's all-time winningest wrestler with 117 career wins.
The Quakers and Cavaliers have met five times in dual matches, with Penn holding a 4-1 lead in the all-time series. UVA took the most recent dual, a 28-9 win for the 'Hoos in The Palestra last Jan. 17. Micah Burak is the only Penn wrestler who scored a win in that dual who is on the list of probables for this weekend, scoring a 7-1 decision over Brent Jones in 2010. Last season's dual swung on a 12-point run for UVA at 149 and 157 via wins by fall and forfeit that turned a 6-3 UVA lead into an insurmountable 18-3 advantage. In 2008, Penn defeated Virginia, 16-14, at the Virginia Duals. Rollie Peterkin had a 4-0 win at 125 pounds in that dual, a win capped for the Quakers when Trey McLean defeated current UVA starter at heavyweight Jack Danilkowicz, 9-2.
Before Penn squares off with UVA, the Red and Blue will take on the Virginia Military Institute. The two teams are not frequent dual-match foes (only one dual in history, a 37-12 win for V.M.I. on Dec. 8, 1982) but the Keydets have participated in the Keystone Classic over recent years. Headlining the Keydets is No. 14 Josh Wine at heavyweight. The senior is 7-3 this season and had a team-high 22 wins in 2009-10. Wine went 12-0 in duals last season and is a two-time SoCon heavyweight champion.
Probable Lineups for Penn vs. Virginia/V.M.I.
125 - No. 19 Mark Rappo, Jr. (16-6) or Karim Shafi, Fr. (0-4)
133 - No. 4 Rollie Peterkin, Sr. (17-1)
141 - No. 9 Zack Kemmerer, Sr. (23-5)
149 - Andrew Lenzi, Fr. (9-8) or Jordan Michelson, Fr. (0-1)
157 - Open
165 - No. 20 Gabriel Burak, Sr. (8-2)
174 - Canaan Bethea, Fr. (13-8)
184 - Harrison Cook, So. (12-11) or Erich Smith, Jr. (0-0)
197 - No. 7 Micah Burak, So. (17-3)
285 - Kyle Cowan, Fr. (11-9)
125 - Matt Snyder, So. (14-5)
133 - Joe Spisak, Fr. (15-9)
141 - Gus Sako, Fr. (16-12)
149 - Derek Valenti, Jr. (12-10)
157 - Shawn Harris, Jr. (13-9) or Nicky Gordon, Fr. (6-5)
165 - Jedd Moore, So. ( 0-0) or Conner Miller, Fr. (11-12)
174 - No. 4 Chris Henrich, Sr. (19-1)
184 - No. 20 Jon Fausey, Fr. (17-5)
197 - Mike Salopek, So. (5-3) or Stephen Doty, So. (19-9)
285 - Jack Danilkowicz, Sr. (16-8)
125 - John Pope, Sr. (3-8)
133 - Luke Todd, Jr. (3-5)
141 - David Yost, Jr. (8-6)
149 - Michael Long, Sr. (9-8)
157 - Nick Emison, Fr. (1-7)
165 - Joe Munno, Jr. (5-7)
174 - Matt Brock, Jr. (9-7) or Evan Dill, So. (0-7)
184 - John Dommert, So. (8-5)
197 - Ronnie Ellsworth, Sr. (7-7)
285 - No. 14 Josh Wine, Sr. (7-3)
Despite the fact that Penn and UVA wrestled in a dual last season, there are no scheduled rematches slated for Sunday. Penn returns Rappo, Kemmerer, Cook and Micah Burak for the match and UVA has Valenti, Henrich, Salopek and Danilkowicz on its list of probables, but all will meet new opponents.
One rematch against UVA will come at 141 pounds where Kemmerer and Sako will meet again after wrestling at this season's Southern Scuffle. Kemmerer picked up a 4-2 win at the Scuffle, improving his career record against wrestlers from UVA to 2-3.
UVA's Derek Valenti is the younger brother of former Penn wrestlers, Matt and Andrew Valenti. Of course, Matt is back at Penn in his second season as an assistant coach.