Penn wrestling ready to go Tiger hunting

Middleweights are the key for Quakers in final match before the ECAC Championship

· February 17, 2012, 2:49 am   ·  Updated February 20, 2012, 11:04 pm

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It’s the Tigers’ turn to be hunted.

Saturday, Penn wrestling (7-6, 2-2 Ivy) will travel to the Garden State to take on Ivy rival Princeton (7-12, 1-3) on its Senior Day in the Quakers’ last regular season tune-up before the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships.

“We’re just trying to get the guys excited about this last match against Princeton,” coach Rob Eiter said. “There should be some key matchups in a couple of weightclasses, and so we’re just trying to get them fired up for it.”

Those key matchups will focus on the middleweights, especially between Penn junior Troy Hernandez and Princeton senior No. 15 Daniel Kolodzik at 157. Hernandez will be looking to foil a perfect Ivy League season for Kolodzik, whose conference record currently stands at 3-0.

The other middleweight matchups include Penn freshman Steve Robertson against junior Zach Bintliff at 149 and Penn freshman Lorenzo Thomas against fellow freshman Rich Eva at 165.

However, the most anticipated matchup precedes the middleweights, as Penn senior No. 13 Zack Kemmerer challenges sophomore No. 15 Adam Krop.

“[This matchup] is going to determine who’s the No. 1 seed in conference,” Kemmerer explained. “So for me, personally, I have something on the line. But Princeton uses us as a measuring stick, so as a captain, I need to step up so we can put them in their place.”

Additionally, both Kemmerer and Krop are undefeated in the Ivy League, adding a potential spot for first-team All-Ivy to be fought for.

Penn will look to close the meet strong with junior No. 10 Micah Burak against senior Kurt Brendel, as well as the momentum of sophomore heavyweight Steven Graziano against junior Charles Fox.

Graziano was named the EIWA Wrestler of the Week after helping the Quakers to a win against Columbia, defeating 2011 NCAA qualifier Kevin Lester.

The Red and Blue will look to settle the debate for second place in the Ivy League. With the exception of Cornell, Harvard was the only Ivy League loss for Penn this season. Princeton then went on to defeat the Crimson later in the day to pick up its only Ivy win.

While the Quakers still aim to win the race for second, some of the focus has already shifted to preparation for the EIWA Championships the following weekend, which will also take place in Princeton, N.J.

“It will be nice that the EIWAs are there, to get some of the younger guys familiar with the place,” said Kemmerer. “But we are still focused on beating this team. We need to knock them down.”

Though much is on the line in this match — EIWA seeding, NCAA qualification and second place in the Ivy League — Penn is still focused on one thing: beating Princeton, for the sake of beating Princeton.

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