Wrestling is more of a individual sport, but there was certainly one team working for the Quakers yesterday in upstate New York.
Penn wrestling opened its season with the WWSports.com/Binghamton Open, an all-day tournament held in Binghamton’s Events Center. For the Quakers, the tourney was highlighted by the dynamic duo of junior Gabriel Burak, who placed first in the 165-pound weightclass, and his younger, but bigger brother Micah, who placed second in the 197-pound weightclass as a freshman.
Gabriel was a perfect 5-0 in his matches and captured first place after pinning Scott Winston of Rutgers in 5:55. Even so, the older Burak was quick to mention that it is still just the beginning of the season.
“It’s great to win,” he said. “But I want to be winning at the end of the season when it matters.”
While his younger brother did not win his own weightclass, Micah performed well nonetheless, especially considering it was his first collegiate tournament. Coach Rob Eiter was extremely impressed with the young wrestler.
“I got a big old smile on my face,” he said. “Obviously when you have a freshman do as well as Micah has, [the] sky’s the limit.”
Interestingly, in Micah’s final match, he lost 1-0 to a formidable yet familiar foe in Cornell’s Cameon Simaz, who was an All-American last year. The two faced each other once while they were both in high school, the result being the same as Sunday’s.
In addition to the Burak brothers, several other Quakers contributed solid performances. Junior Bryan Ortenzio finished second in the 133-pound weightclass, as he dropped his final match, 3-2, to Cornell’s Mike Grey. In his first year as a starter, junior Zack Kemmerer placed fifth in the 141-pound weightclass after defeating Delaware Valley’s Zak Andrews.
Noticeably absent from Sunday’s matches was co-captain senior Matt Dragon, who was unable to compete due to a shoulder injury. Sophomore T.J. Polacek filled in for Dragon in the 157-pound weightclass, but was unable to place. Though he won his first round match, 6-4, he dropped the next two.
Yet with so many matches throughout the day, Eiter saw that his team still has much to work on as the season begins. He and the rest of the Quakers will have a week of practice to prepare for their home opener at the Palestra in the Keystone Classic next Sunday.Comments powered by Disqus
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