It will be a formidable test for the Quakers. The Terps, out of the ACC, ranked seventh as a team in this week's Intermat/NCAA poll, and they feature no fewer than six ranked wrestlers who are expected to compete Friday night.
Penn counters with a lineup that boasts just one ranked wrestler -- Scott Giffin entered the Intermat poll at 174 pounds this week, at 18th -- but several others have been having outstanding early seasons. Bryan Ortenzio is coming off a win at the 133-pound weight class at last weekend's Nittany Lion Open, while Zack Kemmerer placed second at 141 pounds. Gabriel Burak was undefeated at 165 until this past weekend, and already boasts a win against a ranked opponent this season. His younger brother, Micah Burak, has also had a solid start at 197.
"Maryland has a pretty solid lineup, top to bottom," said Penn head coach Rob Eiter. "However, I think there are a lot of swing matches when you look through the matchups. It should be a great dual.
"Our guys know the task at hand," he continued. "The season to this point has been a grind -- we have been going pretty much straight out now for five weeks, and the guys have had exams and are heading into finals with their schoolwork. But we are not going to back down from this challenge."
The marquee matchup Friday night figures to be the 174 bout, which is the only one that features two ranked wrestlers (Giffin vs. No. 6 Mike Letts).
Penn/Maryland Projected Matchups
(Intermat Rankings in parentheses)
125 - Mark Rappo vs. James Knox
133 - Bryan Ortenzio vs. Steven Bell (8) or Mookie Golden
141 - Zack Kemmerer vs. Alex Krom (12) or Matt Bogusz
149 - Troy Hernandez vs. John Kohler
157 - Jake Hunter vs. Kyle John (19)
165 - Gabriel Burak vs. Josh Asper
174 - Scott Giffin (18) vs. Mike Letts (6)
184 - Harrison Cook vs. Corey Peltier
197 - Micah Burak vs. Hudson Taylor (3)
285 - Tyler Blakely vs. Patrick Gilmore (20)