There were no surprises in the final team rankings at this year's Keystone Classic. As expected, the Penn wrestling team finished first in a field of seven teams on Saturday at the Palestra. The Quakers scored 111.5 points en route to capturing the overall team title. Rider, which edged Penn out for the title last year by 4.5 points, finished a fairly distant second (100.0). Virginia took third place (93.0), and Seton Hall was right behind the Cavaliers in fourth place (90.0). Brown, American and the Citadel finished fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively. One of the big stories of the tournament was the tremendous effort from the Penn freshmen. Ranked as the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation by Amateur Wrestling News, the youngest of Penn's wrestlers proved just how good they were. "We expect these freshmen to step up to the collegiate ranks and compete with confidence in their abilities," Penn coach Roger Reina said. Penn freshman Mason Lenhard won the 125-pound weight class. En route to winning his bracket, the third-seeded Lenhard defeated both of the higher-seeded wrestlers at 125. First, he knocked off second-seeded Willie Harris from American, 7-3, in the semifinals. Lenhard then won an 8-6 decision over top-seeded Jerold Limongelli from Rider. Lenhard's two-point takedown with 20 seconds left in the final period, which put him up 8-5, sealed the victory. "It's good to start off [the season] that way, beating a good kid in the finals," Lenhard said. "I'm glad things went well this tournament, and look forward to doing this all year." Penn's Mike Faust, the No. 5 seed in the heavy weight bracket, also showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. The Baltimore native defeated top-seeded Bronson Lingamfelter from Brown, 2-1, with an overtime escape in the semifinals. With the entire Palestra crowd behind him, Faust escaped the clutches of Lingamfelter with just three seconds left in the fifth period. Faust ended the day as the runner-up after losing, 2-1, on an overtime escape to second-seeded Josh Etu from Virginia. Two other freshmen also placed. Jeff Eveleth finished third at 133, and Greg Hallahan took fifth at 165. Besides Lenhard, three other Penn wrestlers won their brackets, including senior Tim Ortman. The former Penn sprint football star defeated top-seeded Denis Alampiev from American, 11-7, in the finals to win at 165. This victory came after an unexpectedly close semifinal match against Rider's Nick Catone. After three two-minute periods and a one-minute overtime period, the score stood at 2-2. Ortman lost the coin toss, and consequently had to ride Catone for 30 solid seconds. In the face of immense pressure, Ortman did just that. "I knew that if I went to his ankle, I could hold him down, because he was pretty tired," Ortman said. Co-captain Mike Fickell was equally impressive at 197. In a weight class with only six wrestlers, the Penn senior automatically advanced to the semifinals. Fickell, who won last year's Keystone Classic at 197, defended his title by winning both of his matches by fall at 2:55. Perhaps the most impressive sight on Saturday at the Palestra was the manner in which senior co-captain Yoshi Nakamura dismantled his opponents. Although he didn't pin any opponents in his four wins, Nakamura did win twice by technical fall. He dominated each match -- winning by scores of 21-6, 11-3, 17-6 and 20-4. "In beating my guy in the finals by a tech fall, it really shows that I've grown from my injury, and that I've learned from it," Nakamura said. "All things happen for a reason, and you've got to learn from it and go on to new things." Nakamura was also given the Champion of Champions Award at the end of the tournament. Rounding out Penn's place winners were Nebraska transfer Joe Henson, who finished second at 149; sophomore Jody Giuricich, who finished third at 157; and junior Craig Melcher, who finished fifth at 174. The Quakers will return to action on December 3, when they travel to Happy Valley for the Penn State Open.Comments powered by Disqus
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