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Penn senior Tim Ortman captured his first EIWA title last weekend at the Palestra. The 165-pounder will look to ride his recent wave of success next week at the National Wrestling Championships in Iowa. (Alyssa Cwanger/DP File Photo)

Next week, many sports fans will have their eyes glued to their televisions, looking for the No. 16 seed from some no-name conference to upset Stanford in the first round of March Madness. But for five members of the Penn wrestling team, attention will be elsewhere. Mike Fickell, Tim Ortman, Joe Henson, Yoshi Nakamura and Mason Lenhard will be donning the Red and Blue at wrestling's own version of "The Big Dance" -- the National Wrestling Championships. On Tuesday, these five Quakers will fly to the University of Iowa for the culminating tournament of the 2000-2001 wrestling season in hopes of repeating last year's top 10 team finish. And while Penn coach Roger Reina thinks his wrestlers are a little bit nervous, he looks at it positively. "Pressure makes diamonds, doesn't it?" Reina said. "Adrenaline is a physical reaction to stress; it's natural and needed for peak performance. "I like the saying, 'Everyone has butterflies going into competition. Just make sure yours are flying in formation.'" Reina has spent the last two weeks making sure that his wrestlers' butterflies are right where they should be. "Our physical preparation is largely complete at this point, and I'm 100 percent confident that we are peaking at the right time," Reina said. "Mental, technical and tactical preparations can be honed now, and that's more of our focus." Of the five Penn grapplers going to Iowa, perhaps the most focused is Nakamura. The 2001 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association champion at 157 pounds, Nakamura proved last weekend that he hasn't lost a step since his season-ending injury early last year. And he knows exactly what he wants out of the upcoming tournament. "I'm fully confident in my ability," Nakamura said. "I know what I need to do to be a national champion. "I've trained hard and I've trained smart. The coaches have guided me along the entire season and prepared me for this moment, and I'm ready for it." Henson, the only Penn junior who qualified for Nationals, is just as confident as Nakamura. "It's my third time there, and I know what to expect," Henson said. "I have confidence in everything we've done this year." The Nebraska transfer, who wrestles at 149 for the Quakers, should have a good shot at All-American status this year. But the two grapplers who probably want to be All-Americans more than anyone else are Fickell and Ortman. As seniors, this will be Fickell and Ortman's last shot at the coveted distinction. Fickell -- the Quakers' wrestler at 197 -- will be chasing something else as well at this tournament. With one more pin, Fickell will tie Rick Springman's school record for most falls in a season (11). Ortman, who came away with his first EIWA title last weekend, has wrestled impressively as of late and has the potential to surprise a lot of opponents at 165 pounds. Lenhard, the lightest and youngest of the five heading to the Midwest, will also be vying for All-American honors. "If I upset a few opponents, wrestle well and everything goes my way, I think I can be an All-American," the 125-pounder said. If these five Quakers are able to implement their coach's strategy with confidence and focus, perhaps Penn -- a team that posted a 6-7 record and finished second at EIWAs last weekend -- might become the Cinderella team of the tournament once again.

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