No Kemmerer, no problem for Penn wrestling
Senior will grapple in All-Star event, but others ready to step up in Keystone Classic
November 18, 2011, 1:06 am · Updated November 18, 2011, 1:08 am·
Penn wrestling saw unexpected fire from their freshmen at the Binghamton Open, and the Quakers intend to maintain that heat this Sunday as the Quakers host the Keystone Classic at the Palestra.
The Red and Blue will look to the younger wrestlers to step up in the wake of the five that placed at Binghamton and in the absence of senior Zack Kemmerer, who will represent Penn in the National Wrestling Coaches Association All-Star Classic in Arizona instead.
After a solid showing at Binghamton, the Quakers are keeping focus, working on their areas of weakness and feeling confident going into the weekend.
“I think we’re obviously looking to place as many guys as possible,” said senior Zack Ellis about Sunday’s event. “We’re coming off of a really good Binghamton Open. Almost all of the freshmen actually placed in their first college tournament, which I can assure you is not the norm, so they’re definitely looking strong.”
Freshman Ian Korb agreed that they felt confident about their performance thus far, but he acknowledged that there is room for improvement.
“At Binghamton, we set ourselves apart a lot from other teams,” Korb said. “We performed a lot better than anyone thought we would … but we’ve just got to open up more as a team on offense, and I think once that happens, everything will come together a lot better.”
The Red and Blue will stick to their normal regimen and work on a few of the weaknesses of the younger wrestlers.
Quakers coach Rob Eiter said that he thought the freshmen did well, for the most part.
“They have to be able to realize how much time is left and know to wrestle the full period or the full match. Those are probably the two areas, top, bottom, and more of the strategy type mistakes.”
The Classic will feature the Big Ten power Northwestern, which ranks three places above Penn nationally at No. 17.
“Northwestern is just like us. They’re very talented but very young,” Eiter said. “As a Big Ten school, they wrestle a little bit of a different style, so we’re trying to get the guys ready for a more physical type of match if we do meet one of the kids from Northwestern.”
Kemmerer will miss out on the home opener and a chance to defend his title.
“It’s a strategic move. It’s, in a way, selfish,” he admitted.
“As much as I would love to be here to defend my title, representing Penn at one of the biggest broadcasted matches of the year,” he added, “you can’t pass [the All-Star Classic] up.”