Keystone Classic Central (Brackets, Twitter Links, Schedule Updates)
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PennSportsNetwork Live Webcast (Starts at 12 p.m.)
PHILADELPHIA - The 17th annual Keystone Classic takes place at The Palestra on Sunday, with Penn once again welcoming some of the toughest wrestling teams in the country for a key early-season tournament.
The Quakers are coming off a strong performance to open the 2011-12 season, coming home from the Binghamton Open with two champions and eight total place-winners. The overall team performance caught the eye of the national coaches, as Penn moved up five spots to No. 20 in this week's NWCA Coaches Poll - the second-highest movement for any team in the country.
Two other ranked teams will be heading to Philly this weekend, No. 14 American and No. 17 Northwestern. The Red and Blue edged both of those squads in the 2010 Keystone Classic, and all three should be in the hunt for the team title once again.
Perhaps more telling of how strong the top three teams entered in this tournament are is found by who won't be competing on Sunday. The Quakers, Eagles and Wildcats all are sending representatives to Monday's NWCA All-Star Classic at Arizona State to showcase their talents on a national level. Penn will send No. 4 Zack Kemmerer to the 141-pound match, American's No. 2 Ryan Flores is slated to wrestle at heavyweight, and the 157-pound match will feature two wrestlers who could have very well put their show on at The Palestra in Northwestern's No. 3 Jason Welch and American's No. 4 Ganbayar Sanjaa.
While those wrestlers will be across the county on Sunday, 16 other nationally-ranked wrestlers are likely to compete for Keystone Classic titles on Sunday. In fact, three weights will feature a trio of national contenders in their field.
At 133 pounds, Boston University's Fred Santaite is ranked No. 10, but isn't a lock for the top seed on Sunday. Penn's Bryan Ortenzio is right behind him at No. 13, is a former champion at the tournament and is coming off a win at the Binghamton Open last weekend. In addition, Harvard's Steven Keith is ranked No. 20 in his first year at 133 after two solid campaigns at 125.
Up a few pounds, the 174-pound weight class also had three national powers in the field. Northwestern freshman Lee Munster is No. 13 after a redshirt season. In that redshirt year, he was second at two collegiate tournaments and won his second-straight FILA Junior national championship. CAA wrestling fans will be interested in a potential match between Rider's No. 18 Jim Resnick and B.U.'s No. 19 Hunter Meys. Resnick was a Keystone champion and a national qualifier at 165 pounds and is up at 174 this season.
EIWA fans, Colorado wrestling aficionados and national pundits have to be looking forward to a potential match between Penn's No. 6 Micah Burak and American's No. 8 Daniel Mitchell at 197 pounds. The two met in the final of last year's Keystone, with Burak scoring a win by fall at 6:28. The two both hail from the state of Colorado and have wrestled each other many times over their careers. With a dual between Penn and American on the horizon next week, this could be an interesting match if it happens. A potential spoiler is No. 15 John Hall from Boston University who is hoping to make a name for himself and steal the spotlight.
For the Quakers, the Keystone Classic is always a chance to get on the mats inside The Palestra and impress the home crowd. After five freshmen placed last weekend at the Binghamton Open, Penn wrestling fans are excited to see the newcomers for the first time. Steve Robertson was 6-1 last weekend to take third at 149 pounds, and with no nationally-ranked wrestlers at that weight could be a factor at the end of the day. Lorenzo Thomas took fourth at 165 pounds after advancing to the semifinals and is another contender this weekend. 174-pounder Ian Korb went 5-2 last weekend and has interests in upsetting the three ranked wrestlers at his weight, while C.J. Cobb will look to take his 6-2 day at 133 pounds and translate it to a strong showing with an expected bump to 141 on Sunday. Erich Smith will be making his Keystone Classic debut at 184 pounds, and he has a lot of momentum after a solid 5-2 day last weekend heading into a wide-open field at 184.
Probable Penn Lineup at Keystone Classic
125 Geoffrey Bostany, So. 2-2
133 #15 Bryan Ortenzio, Sr. 5-0
133 Jeff Canfora, Fr. 3-2
141 C.J. Cobb, Fr. 6-2
141 Zack Ellis, Sr. 1-2
141 Mark Pinero, Fr. 6-2
149 Steve Robertson, Fr. 6-1
149 Jordan Michelson, So. 0-2
157 Troy Hernandez, Jr. 2-2
165 Zach Agostino, So. 2-2
165 Lorenzo Thomas, So. 3-2
174 Ian Korb, Fr. 5-2
174 Mike Steltenkamp, Jr. 0-2
184 Erich Smith, Sr. 5-2
197 No. 6 Micah Burak, Jr. 0-0
285 Anthony DiLonardo, Fr. 1-2
285 Steven Graziano, So. 2-2
Rankings indicate InterMat Poll as of 11/8
For the second consecutive year, the Penn Sports Network will broadcast live via the web starting at 12 p.m. Coverage to start will be primarily focused on matches featuring Penn wrestlers, with coverage switched over to other feature matches as allowed. The championship finals are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., and all title bouts will be shown regardless of school affiliation.
Tentative Schedule for 2011 Keystone Classic
10 a.m. - Championship First Round (Likely Pigtails)
10:30 a.m. - Championship Second Round
12:30 p.m. - Championship Quarterfinals/Consolation First Round
2 p.m. - Consolation Second Round
3 p.m. - Championship Semifinals/Consolation Third Round
4:30 p.m. - Consolation Fourth Round
5:15 p.m. - Consolation Semifinals
6 p.m. - Championship Finals/Third and Fifth Place Matches