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The quakers wrestled poorly against Virginia this past Sunday At 141, junior Zack Kemmerer fell to Virginia's Derek Valenti, 8-2. Credit: Joe Ovelman

If there’s one recurring theme for Penn wrestling this year, it’s consistency.

While the squad hasn’t beaten any of its ranked opponents thus far, it hasn’t lost to the lesser schools either.

Last night was no exception.

The Quakers walked away from their trip to Hofstra on Sunday having won six of their eight contests on the day (each team won a decision by forfeit), culminating in a 31-12 drumming of the Pride (5-7-2).

When asked about his squad’s impressive showing, coach Rob Eiter made sure to keep things in perspective as his team prepares for its first Ivy League bouts.

“We’re not hitting on all cylinders yet,” Eiter said. “We’re getting back on the right track, but Hofstra’s not a strong team this year. They got hit with the injury bug pretty hard.”

Meanwhile, the Quakers (5-4) were able to exterminate a pesky injury bug of their own.

After sitting out for over a month, senior co-captain Cesar Grajales tested his balky right knee in his much-anticipated return to the mat against Jeff Rotella. The No. 9 Grajales promptly scored first with a takedown at the 0:36 mark and soldiered on to beat Rotella handily with a 13-3 major-decision victory.

“Today was about getting out there and seeing how it felt,” Grajales said. “I had wrestled this kid before in the past, and I knew who he was and I knew how he wrestled. I was sure there wouldn’t be any surprises.”

Though Grajales may have been confident in his status heading into the bout, his coach was admittedly less assured.

“I didn’t think I’d have any fingernails after that match,” Eiter said. “I was so nervous for him.”

“He needed to go out there and just kind of feel it,” he added, “and learn what he can and cannot do with that knee.”

In what has also emerged as a trend this season, the Quakers garnered two important victories from freshman Micah Burak and junior co-captain Scott Giffin.

Starting off the dual, No. 18 Burak jumped out to a 4-1 lead over the Pride’s Pat Murphy before picking up his third fall of the season at the 2:20 mark.

Meanwhile, No. 20 Giffin, who emerged victorious in both duals last week, made quick work of Hofstra senior Jonathan Rothman. After taking Rothman down just 11 seconds into the bout, Giffin continued to put up points and eventually ended the match via a 15-0 technical fall.

Following Burak’s match, Rappo, Ortenzio and Kemmerer won consecutively accounting for Penn’s three other victories. The threesome helped give the Red and Blue a 22-0 lead, which grew to 26-0 after Grajales’ gusty performance.

Eiter insists, however, that there is plenty to work on heading into the Feb. 6 Ivy matchups against Brown and Harvard.

He explained that his players need to work on their riding time, as well as chain wrestling, during which a wrestler takes consecutive smaller but more favorable shots instead of going for riskier big takedown.

Penn should be favored this weekend, as Brown and Harvard represent two of the Ivy League’s weakest links.

But if the Red and Blue want any shot at defeating No. 6 Cornell soon after, the squad may need to be a little less consistent.

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