PHILADELPHIA - The Penn wrestling team unquestionably performed well on the mat during the 2010-11 season, placing eight at the EIWA Tournament, sending six wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, fielding four Round of 12 placers for the first time since 2000 and watching Zack Kemmerer become the program's 25th All-American.
Recently, head coach Rob Eiter's team proved how adept it is away from the mat as well with its recognition as one of the Top-30 teams as part of the 2011 NWCA All-Academic honors.
The Quakers ranked No. 18 among Division I wrestling teams, one of nine schools from the EIWA, once again proving the EIWA boasts the nation's best talent on and off the mats. This marks the 12th time since the award's inception in 1991 that Penn has recorded one of the Top-30 grade-point averages in Division I. The last time Penn received the honor came in 2008.
The team award is decided by combining the grade-point averages of the 10 starters at a team's NCAA qualifying tournament with two other members of the team and averaging those numbers out. Two of the individuals whose contributions to the team score also earned them individual NWCA All-Academic honors were Gabriel Burak and Mark Rappo.
The two are part of a group of 93 wrestlers from Division I that are chosen based on grade-point average and in-season accomplishments. Rappo and Burak are Penn's first individual All-Academic honorees since Rob Hitschler and Lior Zamir were honored in 2008.
Burak advanced to the Round of 12 at the 2011 NCAA Championships at 165 pounds in his second trip to NCAAs, closing out a career at Penn which saw him set a new record for falls in a single season with 12 pins during the 2009-10 season.
Rappo was a finalist at the EIWA Championships at 125 pounds, earning his first trip the NCAA Championships. Both Rappo and Burak were named All-Ivy at the conclusion of the 2010-11 season, with Rappo a second-team selection and Burak earning honorable mention distinction.