PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania’s wrestling team begins the 2014-15 season on Sunday, heading to the East Stroudsburg Open. The first official competition of Alex Tirapelle’s tenure will see the Quakers compete against a large field of opponents, including entrants from over 30 colleges.
Included in the field of teams competing at the East Stroudsburg Open will be six teams on Penn’s dual meet schedule this season, giving the Quakers an opportunity to get familiar with opponents set to be on the opposite side of the mat down the road.
Last year, Penn placed eight wrestlers at the ESU Open. Leading the contingent was Ray Bethea who went 5-0 to claim the championship at 157 pounds. Frank Mattiace also was champion at the event, winning the 197 pound title via a 4-0 defeat of teammate Harrison Cook. Lorenzo Thomas began his All-American campaign with a runner-up finish at 184 pounds.
Thomas is likely to be the top seed at 184 pounds, with frequent rival and returning All-American Ophir Bernstein of Brown also entered in the field. The pair met four times last season, all wins for Thomas – including a 10-6 win at the ESU Open and an 8-5 win in the consolation quarterfinals at the NCAA Championships.
Moving up a weight this season to 133 pounds will be Caleb Richardson. A NCAA qualifier last season at 125, Richardson navigated a tough schedule to a 12-11 record which included an eighth-place finish at the Southern Scuffle.
Another weight shift for the Quakers will see Andrew Lenzi return to 141 pounds where he last competed during the 2010-11 season. Lenzi wrestled the last two seasons at 149, last season going 3-0 at the ESU Open before withdrawing.
Ray Bethea used his win at the ESU Open last season to catapult himself to a 19-9 overall record at 157 pounds, likely just on the outside looking in for one of the final NCAA qualifying spots. He will return to 157 this season, and should be a favorite to march deep into that field once again.
In addition to the veteran grapplers in action, seven newcomers will be making their Penn debuts.
Penn’s Lineup for ESU Open
125 – Marc Mastropietro
133 – Caleb Richardson
141 – Eric Friedman, Andrew Lenzi
149 – Jeff Canfora, Freddie Dunau, A.J. Murabito, Joe Velliquette
157 – May Bethea, Ray Bethea, Charlie Lynch, Brooks Martino
165 – Quinton Hiles, Dan McDevitt
174 – Joe Heyob
184 – Lorenzo Thomas
197 – Carson Stack
285 – Patrik Garren