Wrestling Places Third at Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational

Results- Final Bracket

PRIMM, Nev. – The No. 15 University of Pennsylvania wrestling team finished third at the 25th Annual Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Saturday behind five individual place-winning performances.

Penn finished with 100.5 team points, just behind Michigan’s 109. Missouri ran away with the competition, finishing with 157 points.

No. 2 Matt Valenti and No. 3 Matt Herrington were each runners-up in their weight classes, while Matt Eveleth finished third at 125 lbs. Zack Shanaman finished fourth at 165 and Lior Zamir was the seventh-place finisher at 184.

Eveleth proved to be one of the highlights of the tournament for Penn as he took out several ranked opponents. The senior pinned No. 4 Tanner Gardner of Stanford for third place, capping an outstanding tournament. Earlier in the championship bracket, Eveleth beat No. 13 Javier Maldonado of Tenn.-Chattanooga, 4-1, in the quarterfinals anddefeated No. 15 Chad Sportelli in dominating fashion, majoring the Kent State grappler 13-1.

Valenti was the runner-up at 133 lbs., falling to No. 5 Matt Keller of Tenn.-Chattanooga in a dramatic, 9-7 sudden-victory final. Valenti had won five matches to get to the final, earning a tech fall, two major decisions and two decisions over ranked opponents – No. 11 Mike Rowe (9-6) and No. 9 Drew Headlee (9-5) – in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

Rick Rappo turned in an upset at 141 lbs., beating No. 17 Don Fisch of Rider with a fall at 4:40 of their Round of 32 match. Rappo, unfortunately, dropped his next two matches.

At 149 lbs., Rob Hitschler racked up some tournament points for the Quakers by fighting back through the consolation bracket with three wins before dropping a 3-0 decision to No. 10 Aaron Martin of Tenn.-Chattanooga.

No. 10 Matt Dragon was rolling through the 157-lb. bracket with two wins before taking an injury default in his match with Columbia's Devin Mesanko.

Zack Shanaman lost in the round of 16 but fought back through the consolation bracket to take fourth place. Shanaman beat No. 13 Max Dean of Indiana, 3-1, in sudden victory in the consolation semifinals before falling to Ohio State’s Christopher Vondruska, 3-2, in the third-place match.

No. 3 Matt Herrington beat No. 6 Kenneth Cook, 4-2, in the semis to set up a match with the nation’s top-ranked wrestler in Missouri’s Ben Askren. Askren, though, took care of Herrington as he had every other opponent in the tournament, pinning the Penn senior in 46 seconds. Askren earned five falls overall.

Lior Zamir made it into the quarterfinals at 184 before falling to No. 3 Tyrel Todd of Michigan, 5-2. Zamir did well in the consolation bracket, beating No. 12 Duke Burk, 3-2, before losing to No. 11 Louis Caputo, 4-0. Zamir faced off against No. 17 Rocco Caponi of Virginia in the seventh-place match and won, 6-2.

At 197 lbs., Jack Sullivan got a few wins under his belt in wrestlebacksafter being pinned in the first round by Western State's Cody Mumma. Sullivan fought back to earn two wins before ultimately losing to Larry Reichard of Ohio, 8-3.

It was a similar story at heavyweight, where Ben Reiter was pinned in his first championship bracket match but earned a couple of wins in wrestlebacks. Reiter earned decisions over Ohio's Joe Ellwood and Cumberland's Xavier Taylor before West Virginia's Dustin Rogers took a 9-4 decision over him.

Penn will take a month off before returning to action when it hosts York College on Jan. 6 at The Palestra.

Download: 2006_cliff_keen_vegas.pdf