Wrestling Travels Across State for Duals at No. 23 Pitt and Clarion

PHILADELPHIA - Penn is really stretching the boundaries of an "in-state" clash this weekend, as the Quakers head west for a pair of duals with No. 23 Pittsburgh and Clarion on Jan. 23. The Red and Blue will battle the Panthers at 2 p.m. before heading over to North Allegheny High School for the dual with Clarion at 7 p.m.

Saturday's contest will be only the second-ever dual between Penn and Pitt. The first one came just last season as the Quakers downed the Panthers, 20-16, in a close matchup. The Quakers won six of 10 matches that day, including a pair of major decision victories by Gabriel Burak and Scott Giffin. The turningpoint of last year's dual came at the upper weights where Thomas Shovlin downed Matt Wilps, 5-4, at 197 and Trey McLean upset No. 6 Zach Sheaffer atheavyweight, 5-2.

Those two wrestlers will not be in the lineup on Saturday for Penn due to injury and graduation. However, the situation is very similar as the 197-pound match will again be a focal point of the dual. For the Panthers, Wilps is again in the lineup for the Panthers and enters the match ranked No. 18 in this week's InterMat/NWCA/USA Today poll. He is 25-7 on the season with an undefeated 12-0 mark in dual matches.

The Quakers will counter with a ranked grappler of their own, No. 19 Micah Burak. One of just two freshmen in the national rankings, Burak enters the matchwith a record of 14-4. All four of losses have come at the hands of wrestlers ranked ahead of him - including a 4-2 loss in a second sudden victory periodagainst Wilps at the Nittany Lion Open in December. Two of his other tough losses during his rookie campaign have been 1-0 heartbreakers against No. 5 CamSimaz (Cornell) and No. 9 Anthony Biondo (Michigan) as Burak continues to make a name for himself.

The Panthers, who enter the weekend with an 11-1-1 record in dual meets, will field a lineup featuring six wrestlers with records above .500 in dual meets.The Quakers, with only seven duals under their belts this season have not seen as much time in a dual setting in 2009-10, but matchup well with Pitt at mostof those weights with four wrestlers above .500 at those six weights and another two in classes where Pitt has struggled this year.

At 125 pounds, Mark Rappo has drawn the start in all seven duals and is 5-2 (9-6 overall.) One of his tournament losses was a 6-5 defeat in a tiebreaker toAnthony Zanetta - the man he will wrestle on Saturday. Zanetta is 8-1 in dual matches and 26-8 overall.

Another interesting weight to watch is 133 pounds. Bryan Ortenzio has been a standout performer for the Quakers this season at 133, with a record of 21-6.His opponent will be Jimmy Conroy. The senior defeated Ortenzio at last year's dual, 4-1, but is just 3-3 in duals this year (10-7 overall.)

Penn's second dual of the day will matchup the Quakers against 2-4 Clarion. The Golden Eagles have dropped three duals to nationally-ranked teams and alsoown a win over No. 25 Old Dominion. 157-pounder Hadley Harrison is ranked 19th in the country with a 23-6 record. Freshman James Fleming has put together a16-5 record in his freshman season at 149 pounds.

The dual with Clarion will be held on a neutral site at North Allegheny High School. The high school is the alma mater of Clarion head coach Teague Moore,and the Quakers-Golden Eagles match is part of a combined high school-college night of wrestling as a high school quad meet will precede the Penn-Clarion battle. North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon, Burrell and Latrobe all will wrestle the afternoon leading up to the college match.

For a live internet radio broadcast of the Penn-Clarion match, click here.

Probable Penn Lineup (4-3)
All Rankings are from the 1/19 InterMat Poll
125- Mark Rappo, So. 9-6
133- Bryan Ortenzio, Jr. 21-6
141- Zack Kemmerer, Jr. 22-7
149- No. 9 Cesar Grajales, Sr. 5-1 or Troy Hernandez, Fr. 9-9
165- No. 20 Gabriel Burak, Jr. 25-5
174- Scott Giffin, Jr. 12-3
184- Cory Beaver, So. 7-9 or Harrison Cook, Fr. 7-12
197- No. 19 Micah Burak, Fr. 14-4
285- Tyler Blakely, Sr. 5-10

Probable Pitt Lineup (11-1-1)
125- Anthony Zanetta, Fr. 26-8
133- Jimmy Conroy, Sr. 10-7
141- Tyler Naumann, So. 24-3
149- Eric Albright, Sr. 14-12
157- Mark Powell, Sr. 12-9 or Donnie Tasser, Fr. 2-2
165- Karl DeCiantis, So. 7-13 or Adam Counterman, Jr. 12-7
174- David Sullivan, Sr. 16-9
184- Zac Thomusseit, So. 14-6
197- No. 18 Matt Wilps, So. 25-7
285- Ryan Tomei, Jr. 24-4

Probable Clarion Lineup (2-4)
125- Joe Waltko, Fr. 8-11 or Trey Hicks, Fr. 7-10
133- Jay Ivanco, Jr. 8-11
141- Greg Lewis, Sr. 9-8
149- James Fleming, Fr. 16-5
157- No. 19 Hadley Harrison, Sr. 23-6
165- Nick Milano, Fr. 7-12 or Justin McCrillis, Fr. 2-8
174- Steven Cressley, Fr. 13-14
184- Clint Podish, So. 9-9
197- Alex Thomas, Fr. 11-8
285- Quintas McCorkle, So. 17-10 or Phil Catrucco, Fr. 0-3