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December 2, 2011

Wrestling Update 1

Photo courtesy of Cornell Athletic Communications

PRINCETON, N.J. -- The six Ivy League wrestling teams have completed a successful first month of the 2011-12 season. Each squad competed in two tournaments apiece and placed at least three wrestlers in each event. Those in attendance at the Bearcat Open, Michigan State Open, Body Bar System Invitational and Keystone Classic all got a taste of what Ivy League wrestling has to offer.

Cornell led the way with a first-place finish in the Body Bar System Invitational and a No. 3 ranking in the latest National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA)/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Big Red features two wrestlers ranked No. 1 in the nation in their weight classes in Cam Simaz at 197 and Kyle Dake at 157 and has a win over then-No. 4 Minnesota under its belt. Penn is ranked No. 22 in the country.

NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll as of Nov. 29

Here is a team-by-team look at the Ivy League squads this season:

Brown (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: Brown opened its season at the Bearcat Open in Binghamton, N.Y., where three Bears placed. Brown then competed in the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia.  Four wrestlers placed to lead the Bears to a ninth-place finish in the tournament.

Individual Highlights: Freshman Sterling Hecox led the Bears with a third-place finish at 197 in the BearCat Open while sophomore Guiseppi Lanzi won fifth at 157-pounds and junior Zack Kulczycki fell in the fifth-place bout at 149 to finish sixth. Hecox did himself one better in the Keystone Classic, placing second at 197. Freshman 184-pounder Ophir Bernstein's only loss en route to his third-place finish was to the eventual champion and No. 1 overall seed Austin Trotman from Appalachian State, who is ranked No. 11 in the country by InterMat. Lanzi placed fourth at 157 and freshman Ricky McDonald took sixth at 174 pounds.

Brown's Return to the Mats: Dec. 2-3, Cliff Keen Invitational (Las Vegas)

Columbia (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: Columbia took to the mats in the Michigan State Open, which featured 35 teams, including seven ranked in the NWCA/USA Today Division I Team Coaches Poll. Nine Lions placed in the event, including one champion. The Lions then placed six in the Body Bar System Invitational in Ithaca, N.Y., and took fourth out of 12 teams, with 95 team points ahead of No. 4 Minnesota (11th) and No. 25 Buffalo (9th).

Individual Highlights: At the Michigan State Open, freshman Shane Hughes won the 197-pound championship in the Freshman/Sophomore Division. Fellow classmates Elijah Sullivan (third, 141 pounds), Ryan Ponte (fifth, 125 pounds) and Wyatt Baker (fifth, 285 pounds) and sophomore Adam Fondale (fifth, 165 pounds) all joined Hughes as placewinners. In the Open Division, juniors Jake O'Hara and Nick Mills each placed fourth, at 157 and 184, respectively, and senior Kyle Gilchrest won fifth at 133. Junior Steve Santos took second at 149 at the Body Bar System Invitational to lead six Columbia placewinners, including O'Hara (fifth, 157 pounds), junior Stephen West (fifth, 164 pounds), senior Kevin Lester (fifth, 285 pounds), Gilchrest (sixth, 133 pounds) and sophomore Matt Bystol (sixth, 141 pounds).

Columbia's Return to the Mats: Dec. 4 at the Nittany Lion Open (State College, Pa.)

Cornell (1-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: Cornell is ranked No. 3 in the country in the latest NWCA/USA Today Division I Coaches Poll. The Big Red opened its season with a 21-16 win over then-No. 3 Minnesota. Cornell then hosted the Body Bar System Invitational, placing first with 186.5 team points thanks to nine placewinners, including three champions.

Individual Highlights: Two-time All-American and 2010-11 Ivy League Wrestler of the Year Cam Simaz pinned the Gophers' No. 2-ranked 197-pounder Sonny Yohn in Cornell's 21-16 victory, while sophomores Mike Nevinger (141) and Craig Eifert (157) upset two top-10 ranked wrestlers in their respective weight classes. Two-time defending NCAA Champion Kyle Dake opened his junior season with a win at 157 pounds. In the Body Bar System Invitational, Dake (157), freshman Billy George (174) and senior Steve Bosak (184) all won individual titles. Senior Frank Perrelli (125) and sophomore Mike Nevinger (141) both took second, junior Joe Stanzione (133) and sophomores Craig Eifert (149) and Marshall Peppelman (165) placed fifth and senior heavyweight Maciej Jochym finished in sixth place. Dake and Simaz are ranked No. 1 at their respective weight classes by InterMat.

Cornell's Return to the Mats: Dec. 2-3 at the Cliff Keen Invitational (Las Vegas)

Harvard (0-0, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Crimson saw six wrestlers place in the Binghamton Open, including one second and two third-place finishes. Harvard then earned 90 team points to take fifth out of 11 teams in the Keystone Classic in Philadelphia, with seven placewinners and one championship.

Individual Highlights: Junior Paul Liguori led the Crimson in the Binghamton Open with a second-place finish at 149 pounds while fellow classmates Steven Keith and Walter Peppelman each placed third at 133 and 157 pounds, respectively. Sophomore Cameron Croy took fourth at 184, while freshman James Fox did the same at 197. Freshman heavyweight David Ng finished in sixth-place. In the Keystone Classic, Peppelman won the first tournament title of his career. His run to the championship included a pin in just eight seconds over VMI's Ted Gottwald. Keith and Croy each placed second while Fox (third, 197 pounds), Liguori (fifth, 149 pounds), Ng (fifth, 285 pounds) and freshman Joe Barbato (sixth, 125 pounds) rounded out the rest of Harvard's placewinners.

Harvard's Return To The Mats: Dec. 2-3 at the Cliff Keen Invitational (Las Vegas)

Penn (2-1, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: Penn, ranked No. 22 in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, opened its season with a pair of tournaments, the Binghamton Open and the Keystone Classic. A total of eight Quakers finished as placewinners in the Binghamton Open, including two champions. Penn took sixth in the Keystone Classic out of 11 teams with 84.5 team points. The Quakers put six on the podium, including a pair of champions and one second-place winner. Penn then competed in the Journeyman/Asics Northeast Duals at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., taking two out of three dual matches. The Quakers defeated No. 14 American, 24-18, and North Carolina, 32-12, before falling to Arizona State, 21-20.

Individual Highlights: In the Binghamton Open, returning All-American Zack Kemmerer, ranked No. 4 in the country at 141-pounds, defended his title by winning all five of his bouts en route to the championship. He was joined at the top of the podium by senior Bryan Ortenzio, who won at 133-pounds. Ortenzio again won at 133 pounds in the Keystone Classic. This time, he was joined by freshman Steve Robertson, who won at 149. Fellow classmate Lorenzo Thomas lost in the 165-pound championship bout to take second. Kemmerer made a statement in the Northeast Duals, defeating No. 9 and defending EIWA champion Matt Mariarcher from American and No. 14 Evan Henderson from UNC en route to an undefeated day. Ortenzio went 3-0 on the day with a fall and a major decision.

Penn's Return To The Mats: Dec. 2 at Bloomsburg

Princeton (0-2, 0-0 Ivy League)
Team Results: The Tigers opened their season with the Binghamton Open, where six wrestlers placed, up from three last year and one the year before that. Princeton then took a break from tournament action with a pair of dual matches, falling to Rider, 29-10, and Wisconsin, 29-9, which is receiving votes in the latest NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Tigers then competed in the Keystone Classic, finishing fourth with six placewinners and 90.5 team points.

Individual Highlights: Junior Garrett Frey led the way in the Binghamton Open with a third-place finish at 125 pounds. Junior Zach Bintliff (fifth, 149 pounds), sophomores Adam Krop (third, 141 pounds), Brandon Rolnick (sixth, 165 pounds) and Ryan Callahan (sixth, 184 pounds) and freshman Chris Perez (fifth, 133 pounds) all finished among the top-six in their weight classes. Senior Daniel Kolodzik went 2-0 In Princeton's two dual matches with a major decision. In the Keystone Classic, Frey and Kolodzik reached the championship bouts at 125 and 157, respectively, before falling to ranked opponents. Joining those two on the podium were junior Andy Lowy (fifth, 174 pounds), Krop (third, 141 pounds), sophomore Dan Santoro (fourth, 174 pounds) and Perez (fifth, 133 pounds).

Princeton's Return To The Mats: Dec. 3 vs. Binghamton; vs. Old Dominion