Wrestling trio turns in perfect performance at Northeast Duals
Veterans Burak, Kemmerer and Ortenzio each finish weekend 3-0 as team wins two of three
November 27, 2011, 10:58 pm · Updated November 27, 2011, 11:59 pm·
Joe Ovelman | DP
Penn wrestling’s “Big Three” walked into the Journeymen/Asics Northeast Duals on Saturday looking to make a statement.
Their actions spoke louder than any words could.
Anchored by undefeated performances from their three nationally ranked upperclassmen — Micah Burak, Zack Kemmerer and Bryan Ortenzio — Penn went 2-1 at the Northeast Duals, defeating American University and the University of North Carolina before falling to Arizona State.
Each of the three arrived at those 3-0 results through vastly different means.
Burak had the easiest day of the bunch, recording two victories by forfeit after Arizona State and American opted not to send out their wrestlers in the 197-pound weight class. In his sole action of the day, Burak handily defeated UNC’s Nick Tenpenny, 11-2, notching his first takedown just 39 seconds into round one.
Kemmerer wrestled in only two matches, but faced the stiffest competition out of any Penn grappler.
Against American, Kemmerer was matched up with ninth-ranked Matt Mariacher, the wrestler that eliminated him during EIWA Conference championships last season.
Determined to avoid a repeat, Kemmerer gained momentum quickly with a first-round takedown and held on from there to earn a 5-1 win.
Later, Kemmerer squared off against No. 14 Evan Henderson of UNC, a highly touted freshman that was a three-time Pennsylvania state champion at 141 pounds.
Though Henderson only trailed, 4-3, after two rounds, Kemmerer was able to parlay a quick takedown into easy points, eventually notching a 9-3 win.
Kemmerer’s standout performance impressed coach Rob Eiter.
“He’s got so much confidence right now,” Eiter said. “It shows when he’s wrestling out on the mat there, and he just really out-wrestled [Mariacher], a very dangerous kid.”
Not all the spotlight fell on Kemmerer, though, as 133-pounder Ortenzio also used the matches as an opportunity to raise some eyebrows himself.
Ortenzio turned in a dominant performance, only conceding two points on the day on his way to victories over American’s Chris Brienza, UNC’s Brock Livorio and American’s Shane McGough.
If Eiter was happy with how Kemmerer was doing, then he was thrilled with Ortenzio.
“Brian’s probably wrestling the best out of everybody on the team right now,” Eiter said. “To be honest with you, he’s kind of surprised me just at how consistent and determined he’s been, and Saturday was no different. He went out there and just took it to them.”
As a team, that’s what the Quakers did on Saturday, missing out on an unbeaten performance by a mere point. A deduction on heavyweight Anthony DiLonardo for throwing his headgear following a loss to Arizona State’s Levi Cooper proved to be the difference.
The Quakers emerged from the Northeast Duals in good position for their dual match in Bloomsburg on Friday, before they return home for a much-anticipated tilt against No. 10 Lehigh on Sunday.
“We’ve got to prepare mentally differently for these dual matches,” Ortenzio said. “But I think that as a team, we’ve proven that we can wrestle well at the Palestra.”