PHILADELPHIA – The University of Pennsylvania wrestling team closes out the 2014-15 regular season on Saturday with a pair of duals in The Palestra. Saturday will be Senior Day for the Quakers, and Penn will honor the six graduating members of the program before its dual with Princeton (12 p.m.) and the season finale against Drexel for the Abner’s Cheesesteak Trophy at 2 p.m.
Both duals will be streamed live over the internet worldwide via ESPN3 and the WatchESPN App in addition to their regularly scheduled airing on the Ivy League Digital Network.
The Quakers have won their last four dual meets – all against EIWA opponents – to build a 7-4 record in dual meets. The Red and Blue are undefeated at home this season, winning all four previous dual meets on home mats.
At stake against the Tigers? Second place in the Ivy League for the 13th consecutive season. Penn has won 23 consecutive duals meets against their perennial rivals dating back to 1992.
At “steak” against University City neighbor Drexel? Retention of the Abner’s Cheesesteak Trophy which was first awarded last season to the winner of the Penn-Drexel dual. The two schools which share a border on 33rd Street have met 25 times previously, Penn holding a 13-11-1 edge in the all-time series. Penn has had the better of the series of late, winning the last 12 meetings held since 1992.
Looking at the Penn-Princeton dual, all eyes likely will be on the bout at 197 pounds. Penn’s Canaan Bethea is 10-5 this season, with one of his losses coming to Princeton’s No. 12 Abe Ayala, 6-5, in Bethea’s first match of the season at Midlands. Ayala is 24-4 this season, with all four losses to ranked wrestlers. Of Bethea’s five losses, four have come inside the Top-20 of Division I and the other to the No. 1 ranked wrestlers in the Junior College rankings.
Another bout to keep an eye on is the 141-pound clash between Jeff Canfora and Jordan Laster. Canfora enters the weekend with a 16-9 record and outside the NCAA Coaches Panel Top-33. Laster is 21-9 overall, and ranked No. 30 in the latest Coaches Panel. A win for wither wrestler could inch them closer to securing an automatic bid to NCAAs for the EIWA to compete for the first week of March. Last year, Canfora scored an 8-5 decision over Laster in the dual meet.
No. 5 Lorenzo Thomas will wrestle his 11th match of the season against a Top-33 opponent when he wrestles Princeton’s No. 24 Brett Harner. The two met last year, a 6-3 win for Thomas. This season, Thomas is 21-3, while Harner is 25-6.
Against the Dragons, the 133-pound matchup is set to be the highlight bout as Penn’s No. 18 Caleb Richardson and Drexel’s No. 15 Kevin Devoy are slated to do battle. Richardson is 22-7 this season, and enters the weekend on a seven-match winning streak. Devoy is 30-4 overall and 16-1 in in dual meets, entering the match on a nine-bout winning streak. The two could be deciding the No. 2 seed at EIWAs in the bout.
Noel Blanco is ranked No. 32 in the latest NCAA Coaches Panel at 157 pounds, providing Brooks Martino with another opportunity to add to his NCAA resume. Martino is 10-8 this season, but owns a win over Brown’s Justin Staudenmayer who was ranked No. 18 in the Coaches Panel.
The Thomas-Harner and Canfora-Laster bouts are the only expected rematches for the dual with Princeton. Canfora and Thomas also likely have the only rematches of the Drexel dual.
Penn’s Probable Lineup
125: Jeremy Schwartz, So. (1-7)
133: No. 18 Caleb Richardson, So. (22-7)
141: Jeff Canfora, Sr. (16-9) or Andrew Lenzi, Sr. (7-7)
149: No. 8 C.J. Cobb, Sr. (16-3)
157: May Bethea, Fr. (9-9) or Brooks Martino, Jr. (10-8)
165: Ray Bethea, So. (9-4) or Quinton Hiles, So. (9-13)
174: Joe Heyob, Fr. (9-8) or Brad Wukie, Sr. (8-6)
184: No. 5 Lorenzo Thomas, Sr. (21-3)
197: Canaan Bethea, Sr. (10-5)
285: Patrik Garren, Fr. (10-12)
125: Ryan Cash, Sr. (9-11)
133: Trey Aslanian, So. (0-0) or Jordan Reich, Fr. (4-13)
141: Jordan Laster, So. (21-9)
149: Chris Perez, Jr. (12-5)
157: Rich Eva, Sr. (5-6) or Francesco Fabozzi, Fr. (15-13)
165: No. 20 Jonathan Schleifer, Fr. (22-7)
174: Judd Ziegler, Jr. (15-12)
184: Brett Harner, So. (25-6)
197: No. 12 Abe Ayala, Jr. (24-4)
285: Ray O’Donnell, So. (18-15)
125: Tanner Shoap, So. (13-8) or Zach Fuentes, Fr. (8-5)
133: No. 15 Kevin Devoy, So. (30-4) or Franco Ferraina, Jr. (6-7)
141: Dave Pearce, So. (19-7) or Andrew Mauriello, Fr. (1-6)
149: Matt Cimato, So. (21-15) or Geoffrey Verallis, Fr. (0-5)
157: Noel Blanco, Sr. (17-12) or Ryan O’Connor, Fr. (0-1)
165: Nick Elmer, Fr. (11-14) or Mike Paccione, Jr. (0-3) or Zach Spira, Fr. (0-0)
174: Stephen Loiseau, Fr. (22-14)
184: Alex DeCiantis, So. (13-14) or Jason Fugiel, So. (2-5)
197: Brandon Litten, Fr. (9-18)
285: Joey Goodhart, Fr. (18-15) or Alex Foley, Fr. (12-14)