November 20, 2002
Contact: Vanessa Kreckel /215-573-4125
The Palestra will be the site of the one of the nationís top collegiate wrestling tournaments as the University of Pennsylvania hosts the 8th annual Keystone Classic on Sunday, November 24. The Keystone Classic will feature eleven schools including defending Champion and NCAA runner-up Iowa State University.
The Keystone Classic has grown into of the top invitational wrestling tournaments in the east. The 2001 tournament featured nine wrestlers who went onto earn All-American honors at the 2002 NCAA Championships along with three of them being NCAA Champions. The 2002 Keystone Invitational will again see a wealth of talent as no fewer than 12 wrestlers are ranked nationally in the top 15.
The host Quakers will be looking to recapture the team title this year after finishing second last year to Iowa State. The Quakers, who finished 11th at the 2002 NCAA Championships are ranked in the top 20 in the nation in the preseason polls. The Red and Blue feature a lineup that is young but hungry for success. It is a team well balanced with youth and experience and will be a major contender in the team race. The Quakersí are off to a strong start, placing seven wrestlers at the season opening Michigan State Tournament. The performance cemented the belief that the Quakers will be team to be reckoned with throughout the season. Marcus Schontubeís third place finish at 184lbs highlighted the strong team performance.
The Red and Blue are led by NCAA Qualifiers Jody Guiricich at 149lbs and Matt Feast at 285lbs. The 13th ranked Feast is the defending Keystone Champion at 285lbs after bursting on the national scene with a win over Matt Knauer of Iowa State in the finals a year ago. 2000 NCAA Qualifier Jody Guiricich at 149lbs and Marcus Schontube at 184lbs will look to win individual titles after finishing second in 2001. Both wrestlers are nationally ranked in the preseason polls. The Keystone Classic will also mark the home debut of Pennís 2002 recruiting class that was ranked number one in the nation by WIN Magazine.
Iowa State, who is making their second appearance ever at the Keystone Classic will feature a line up that is ranked nationally in the top 10 by the major wrestling polls. The Cyclones are lead by NCAA Champion Aaron Hoelker at 141lbs. Hoelker captured the 2002 NCAA title at 141lbs and is currently ranked number one in the nation. The Cyclones lineup also includes All-American Zach Roberson at 133lbs who is ranked sixth in the nation. Other ranked Cyclones: Nick Passalano (11th, 165lbs) and Orville Palmer (17th, 184lbs). Palmer is the defending Keystone Classic champion at 184lbs.
Nationally ranked Virginia Tech will look to be in the team mix for their first appearance at the Keystone. The Hokies have two nationally ranked wrestlers in 14th ranked Dave Hoffman at 133lbs and 6th ranked Scott Justus at 184lbs. Justus was the number one ranked wrestler in the nation much of 2002.
Appalachian State University features the last remaining individual champion. Travis Drake is the defending champion at 133lbs after winning the title with a win over Iowa Stateís Roberson. Drake, Roberson and Hoffman will all make up a very talented 133lbs weight class.
The 157lbs weight class will be one of the marquee weights as a pair of top ten nationally ranked wrestlers will be in action. Derek Jenkins from Rider and Adam Britt of Virginia Military Institute are ranked 9th and 10th nationally respectively. Jenkins was a second place finisher a year ago.
The entire 11 team field includes: University of Pennsylvania, Appalachian State University, Boston University, Brown University, Duke University, Iowa State University, Rider, VMI, Virginia Tech and Wagner.
Wrestling is slated to begin at 10 a.m. at The Palestra. For more information contact the University of Pennsylvania Athletic Communications Office at 215-573-4125. For tickets, please contact the Penn Athletic Ticket Office at 215-898-6151 or visit www.pennathletics.com.