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Penn senior Mike Fickell (left) placed third at the Penn State Open on Sunday. All four of his bouts at Happy Valley were decided by pins, with Fickell winning three. (Andrew Margolies/DP File Photo)

Despite having six wrestlers place in last Saturday's Penn State Open, the Penn wrestling team still had reason to be disappointed with its performance. The Quakers came home to Philadelphia with no individual titles and five wrestlers came within one match of placing. Two of those five men -- freshman Greg Hallahan and senior Tim Ortman -- represented Penn at the 165-pound weight class. Both wrestlers went 3-2 and lost tough matches that prevented them from placing. The tournament was organized in a very unique format. Each weight class was structured in a five-round, 32-man, double-elimination bracket. However, in order to reduce the number of matches that took place, competitors losing in the first round were not given a second chance. By incorporating the 'one-and-out' rule in the first round, there is a very real possibility that the second-best wrestler in a weight class would be eliminated early simply because he performed poorly in his opening match. This hurt the Quakers, especially in the 133-pound weight class, where Penn was represented by three freshmen. All three of them -- Dan Mousetis, Rob Dolan, and Jeff Eveleth -- lost their opening matches and did not compete again for the rest of the day. The Quakers showed the most depth in the 141-pound weight class, where they went 3-4-5. Sophomore Chris Hanlon led the way; he went 4-1 and placed third after defeating teammate freshman Kyle Bernholz. Bernholz, who finished fourth, posted three straight wins before losing to eventual champion Corey Ace of perennial-powerhouse Edinboro. Sophomore Max Galka rounded out the weight class by taking fifth. Penn's strongest individual performance this past Saturday came from freshman Mason Lenhard. Lenhard -- the 2000 Keystone Classic Champion at the 125-pound weight class -- finished second at the Penn State Open. After defeating four opponents by fairly close margins, he lost a 3-2 nail-biter to Penn State's Josh Moore in the finals. There was a good amount of controversy concerning the outcome of this match. Some believed that Mason had the winning takedown at the very end of the third period, but the referee did not call it. Senior co-captain Mike Fickell also performed well. His third place finish included a 4-1 record and three pins. Like his teammate, Nebraska transfer Joe Henson gave a good effort for the Quakers. The junior out of Hanover, Pa., went 4-1 and placed third at the 149-pound weight class. Henson lost his semifinal match to eventual champion Marc Hoffer of American -- a wrestler who defeated Henson earlier this season in the finals of the 2000 Keystone Classic. But Henson came back in the third place match by defeating Jamarr Billman of Lock Haven, 3-1, in overtime. Senior co-captain Yoshi Nakamura did not travel with the team to Happy Valley last Saturday. In place of the tournament at State College, Pa., Nakamura elected to attend the Henri Detlane Tournament in France, where he placed first in the freestyle competition. The tournament -- named after France's former Olympic wrestling champion -- attracts teams that represent countries from all over Europe. En route to capturing the freestyle crown, Nakamura convincingly defeated four opponents from four different countries -- Spain, France, Bulgaria, and Tunisia. Nakamura's victory marks his second consecutive tournament crown. At this year's Keystone Classic, Nakamura defeated four opponents -- two by technical fall -- to obtain the title at 157. Nakamura was also given the Outstanding Wrestler Award at that tournament. Needless to say, the Penn co-captain's presence was sorely missed at the Penn State Open. Sophomore Jody Giuricich was Penn's only notable representative at 157, ending up just shy of placing in a fairly-loaded weight class. Giuricich won his first three matches, but then dropped his quarterfinal match and his match to place. The Quakers will have a few weeks to train before heading off to Northwestern University to attend the Midlands Open at the end of the month.

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