Lehigh wrestling heavyweights overpower Penn
Senior Zack Kemmerer reaches 100 wins, but Quakers fall short against Mountain Hawks
December 5, 2011, 12:12 am · Updated December 5, 2011, 12:20 am·
Maegan Cadet | DP
Penn wrestling’s strong start wasn’t enough to survive Lehigh’s strong finish.
“We knew that we had to have those matches down below,” explained coach Rob Eiter. “The lower weights — that was our best opportunity, and we knew that up above was their strength.”
Sunday’s wrestling match against the rival Mountain Hawks displayed the two teams’ complementing weight classes, but Lehigh prevailed, 21-15.
Penn’s lower weights started with 133-pound senior Bryan Ortenzio, who captured a 13-2 major decision against Lehigh freshman Chris Dinnien. The Quakers kept up their momentum when 141-pound All-American senior Zack Kemmerer followed with a 16-1 technical fall against Lehigh freshman Jim Carucci.
Freshman Steve Robertson also contributed with a 10-3 decision against senior Kyle Rosser to push the Red and Blue to their largest lead of the afternoon, 12-0.
Penn then began to struggle when junior Troy Hernandez and freshman Lorenzo Thomas had consecutive losses, bringing Lehigh closer at 12-6. Penn battled back with an intense overtime win for freshman Ian Korb against his rival, Lehigh freshman Nate Brown.
“[Brown] was always ranked above me in high school and I never got to wrestle him,” Korb said. “So I was pumped up all week looking forward to this match. … I wanted to show everyone that I was actually better than that kid and I’ve always been better than that kid.”
However, Korb’s win marked the end of Penn’s team scoring for the remainder of the afternoon.
Lehigh then presented three consecutive nationally ranked wrestlers: 184-pound redshirt junior Robert Hamlin, 197-pound junior Joe Kennedy and 285-pound senior Zach Rey. Respectively, they defeated Penn’s senior Erich Smith, junior Micah Burak, and freshman Anthony DiLonardo, affording Lehigh an 18-15 lead.
Finally, Lehigh closed the match when freshman Mason Beckman shut down Quakers’ sophomore Geoffrey Bostany, 3-2.
Coach Eiter admitted that winning can be difficult when you have a matchup such as No. 4 senior Rey against unranked freshman DiLonardo, but also asserted that this was something they’d have to get used to.
“We explained to them that Maryland is next weekend and that Maryland, in my opinion, should be a top-ten ranked team right now,” Eiter noted. “They’re solid from top to bottom so every match we’ve just got to get a little bit better.”
Despite the loss, Penn still has a reason to celebrate. During their win at Bloomsburg on Friday, Kemmerer recorded his 100th collegiate career win. Kemmerer understands the gravity of the accomplishment but is by no means settling his career on it.
“The more I talk about it, the more I understand how significant it is,” Kemmerer admitted. “I was told there’s only a handful of people who’ve accomplished that, but it’s just a number and it’s not something I want to define my season by.
“[In the end] I want to hang my hat on the fact that I’m a national champion.”