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Wrestling Heads to Penn for Keystone Classic

November 20, 2009
|  Lynchburg, Va.
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Liberty's Joe Pantaleo is one of two grapplers who might wrestle for Liberty at 133 pounds this week, which would mark the return to the mats for the sophomore who was forced out of the lineup last January after an injury.

Liberty's Joe Pantaleo is one of two grapplers who might wrestle for Liberty at 133 pounds this week, which would mark the return to the mats for the sophomore who was forced out of the lineup last January after an injury.

Tournament season continues for the Flames, as Liberty heads to the city of "Brotherly Love", Philadelphia, for the Keystone Classic, hosted by Penn on Sunday inside The Palestra.

Spotlighting the 10-team field are host Penn, who is ranked No. 24 in the latest USA Today/NWCA/Intermat national rankings, followed directly by No. 25 Duke.

Liberty, along with American, Appalachian State, Boston University, Brown, Mercyhurst, Princeton and VMI comprise the remaining teams in the field.

Two of the key weight divisions to watch during the all-day event will be 149 and 157 pounds, as both American and Penn will send nationally ranked grapplers out onto the mats in these brackets.

American's Kyle Borshoff, who is ranked No. 4 at 149 pounds in the latest Intermat national rankings, is coming off a perfect 3-0 showing at the ACC Challenge, a run that included a victory over No. 20 Peter Yates of Virginia Tech. Last year, Borshoff placed seventh at the NCAA national championship.

Home Penn's Cesar Grajales, who is ranked No. 6 at 149 pounds, did not compete at last weekend's season-opener for Penn in the WWSports.com/BU Open by Binghamton. Grajales is the defending champion at the Keystone Classic and finished the year with a 30-11 record, which ended with his second-straight trip the nationals.

The Quakers second nationally ranked grappler is Matt Dragon at 157 pounds, who is ranked No. 15 in the latest listing. The redshirt senior also did not compete last weekend at Binghamton, but is the reigning 157-pound champion at the Keystone Classic and is coming off a 25-7 season that saw him qualify for nationals for the second time in his career.

American's Steve Fittery is just two spots below Dragon at No. 17 and moved up in the rankings, following a victory over No. 19 Jesse Dong of Virginia Tech at Binghamton. Fittery is new to the Eagles' program after transferring to American from Shippensburg, where he was a two-time Division II national runner-up.

The remaining two national ranked wrestlers in the field include two of the nation's elite grapplers. American's Mike Cannon is ranked No. 4 at 184 pounds, while Duke's Konrad Dudziak is the nation's top ranked heavyweight wrestlers.

Cannon was the No. 2 seed at last year's national champion and eventually finished eighth, as he lost to No. 8 seed Christopher Henrich in his final bout. He is a three-time NWCA All-American who came into the season with a 92-16 collegiate record.

Dudziak was last year's national runner-up at the NCAA championship, where he dropped a narrow 3-2 decision to No. 2 seed Mark Ellis of Missouri in the finals. En route to the finals, the Bayonne, N.J., native posted a 31-3 record during his junior season.

The Flames are coming off a seventh-place finish at last weekend's Brockport/Oklahoma Gold Tournament in Brockport, N.Y., a field the included three Top 20 programs.

Scott Clymer and newcomer David Ziegler gave the Flames their most notable highlights at the event. Clymer finished fourth at 141 pounds, while Ziegler recorded a sixth-place finish at 184 pounds during his first tournament with the Flames.

Clymer, who placed sixth at the event three years ago, lost early at 141 pounds to drop to the wrestleback bracket. Three-straight wins by fall, followed by a one-point decision pushed the redshirt sophomore to the third-place bout where he eventually lost to Rutgers' Trevor Melde, 10-6.

Ziegler, a transfer from Slippery Rock, finished the day with a 3-3 record, which included a pair of wins by decision and a 19-3 technical fall win over Army's Pat Smith.

Sean Katz and Chad Porter followed behind Clymer and Ziegler, with both grapplers finishing the day with 2-2 records.

At 133 pounds, Katz recorded the quickest win by fall during the event, when he pinned Oklahoma's Nick Burnham. Porter, who is currently ranked No. 16 at 165 pounds by D1CollegeWrestling.com, was the No. 3 seed in the event, which saw him record two decision wins, before bowing out after a loss to eventual third-place finisher Ross Tice of Kent State.

This weekend's trip to Philadelphia, Pa., will mark the program's first-ever appearance in Penn's Keystone Classic.

Probable Starting Lineup at Keystone Classic:
125 - Jonathan Childress or Justin Branham
133 - Joe Pantaleo or Sean Katz
141 - Scott Clymer or Collin Lewis
149 - Frankie Gayeski or Sam Walters or Peter Crawford
157 - Shaun Smith or Logan Crawford
165 - Chad Porter
174 - Brad Clark or Nick Knowles or Eli Sanchez
184 - David Ziegler or Joseph Son
197 - Brandon Johnson or Brandon Lawrence or Jon Weber
285 - Andrew Wilson