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PHILADELPHIA - Penn begins the 2012 portion of its wrestling season on Sunday with a dual against Rider inside The Palestra (1 p.m.) as the Quakers run off eight duals to prepare for championship season in March.
Last year, Penn headed to Lawrenceville and won a close dual, 23-18, over the Broncs. The Red and Blue ran out to a 13-0 lead to start the dual, with bonus points at 125, 133 and 141. Micah Burak added a major decision at 197 to seal the dual for Penn, before Rider got six team points at heavyweight via a forfeit.
As has been the case over recent years, Penn and Rider are quite familiar with each other this season thanks to common tournament appearances. The Quakers have a 6-4 edge in matches against Rider wrestlers this season, including Erich Smith who is 2-0. The 184-pounder has recorded a pair of falls when lined up against a Bronc, both at the Binghamton Open on Nov. 13. One of those falls came in 1:50 against Rider's probable starter, Clint Morrison.
Smith is 12-10 overall this season, and had a great start to his Midlands Championships last week, defeating the No. 11 seed (Cameron Croy of Harvard) and the No. 6 seed (Tony Dallago of Illinois) to reach the quarterfinals before losing to No. 3 seed and national No. 7 Ben Bennett of Central Michigan.
This week, Smith was ranked No. 29 by WrestlingReport.com, giving Smith some deserved recognition as a tough competitor who has a real chance to qualify for the NCAA championships.
Another potential rematch on Sunday could come at 165 pounds. Lorenzo Thomas defeated Rider's James Brundage, 4-3, in the quarterfinals of the Keystone Classic back in November as Thomas wrestled his way to second place. At 174, Ian Korb and Brandon Lintner wrestled last week at Midlands, with Korb winning, 6-3. Lintner is listed as a potential starter at either 165 or 174, and could rematch with Korb if given the nod at 174.
Rider does have a nationally-ranked wrestler at 174 in No. 13 Jim Resnick. The junior is 11-2 overall this season, and had won 11 matches in a row before an 11-3 loss to Rutgers' Greg Zannetti on Dec. 10 in Resnick's most recent match. Included in those 11 wins were championship runs at both the Binghamton Open and Keystone Classic for Resnick, including a win in the Keystone final over current No. 8 Lee Munster of Northwestern.
Zack Kemmerer suffered his first two losses of the 2011-12 season at the Midlands Championships and dropped from No. 2 down to No. 12 at 141 pounds. This weekend, he looks to begin a new climb to the top with his match against Jimmy Kirchner. Kemmerer is 5-1 all-time against Rider wrestlers, but has not faced Kirchner who is up this year after competing at 133 last season. Kirchner is 12-7 this season, with six wins by at least a major decision and wins over Cornell's Chris Villalonga and Princeton's Adam Krop to go with a one-point loss to American's Matt Mariarcher.
Bryan Ortenzio is 5-0 against Rider all-time, but the No. 15 ranked 133-pounder has not faced his likely opponent, freshman Jimmy Morris. Freshman Steve Robertson (18-4 this season) could have a rematch from the Binghamton Open at 149 pounds, a match Robertson won, 4-1.
Probable Matchups for Penn vs. Rider
125 - Geoffrey Bostany, So. (4-9) or Karim Shafi, So. (2-2) vs. Chuck Zeisloft, So. (11-7)
133 - #15 Bryan Ortenzio, Sr. (18-2) vs. Jimmy Morris, Fr. (2-3)
141 - #12 Zack Kemmerer, Sr. (15-2) vs. Jimmy Kirchner, Sr. (12-7)
149 - Steve Robertson, Fr. (18-4) vs. Zac Cibula, Jr. (2-2) or Aaron Nestor, Sr. (6-6)
157 - Troy Hernandez, Jr. (4-10) vs. Ramon Santiago, So. (8-7)
165 - Lorenzo Thomas, Fr. (14-7) vs. James Brundage, So. (10-8) or Brandon Lintner, Jr. (9-7)
174 - Ian Korb, Fr. (12-10) vs. #13 Jim Resnick, Jr. (11-2) or Brandon Lintner, Jr. (9-7)
184 - Erich Smith, Sr. (12-10) vs. Clint Morrison, Fr. (5-6)
197 - #8 Micah Burak, Jr. (9-2) vs. Donald McNeil, Fr. (8-9)
285 - Anthony DiLonardo, Fr. (3-10) vs. Evan Craig, So. (9-6)