The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

College

March 2, 2014

UPJ sends six to NCAA Division II tournament

Dave Fogle (125 pounds), Travis McKillop (184), and Zac Bennett (197) each won individual championships to lead a group of six Mountain Cat wrestlers who qualified for the national tournament following this weekend’s NCAA Division II Super Region I Tournament in the Sports Center.

Pitt-Johnstown finished second in the 12-team field, 25 points behind regional champion Notre Dame College.

Notre Dame won the team championship with 115.5 points. Pitt-Johnstown (90.5), Mercyhurst (83), Kutztown (55) and Gannon (40) rounded out the top five.

“We had a good tournament,” Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora said. “I think we wrestled very very very well to finish second. We were right behind Notre Dame, which is the No. 1 team in the nation. It’s a tough region. We wrestled real well.”

Mercyhurst’s Mike Wehler was named the 2014 Super Region I coach of the year, while Kutztown’s Evan Yenolevich (133) was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler.

Fogle, the second seed at 125, earned a 5-3 win over third-seeded Brian Houser (Notre Dame) in the semifinals, before defeating top-seeded Matthew Turek (Gannon), 5-2, in the title bout.

At 184, top-seeded McKillop cruised into the title bout with a tech fall and a pin, before claiming the title with an 8-5 decision over Notre Dame’s Garrett Lineberger.

Second-seeded Zac Bennett pinned sixth-seeded Aram Moffitt at 1:15 in the semifinals to set up the championship bout with Notre Dame’s Brandonn Johnson.

Bennett built a 4-0 lead after two periods and went on to win the title with a 5-1 victory.

Three Mountain Cats qualified for the national tournament by wrestling through the consolation bracket and placing third.

At 141, Sam Hanau suffered a loss in the semifinals, but bounced back to win two more matches, including a fall over Seton Hill’s A.J. Fisher at 2:35 in the consolation finals.    

True freshman Cole Landowski also suffered a loss in the semis, but won a decision over Gannon’s Rocco Wellek.

Landowski then held off second-seeded Kyle Barnes (Shippensburg) 4-3 to reach the national tournament.

At 285, Josh Duplin lost in the quarterfinals, but battled back to win four straight matches, including a narrow 3-2 decision over West Liberty’s Aaron Silverio to earn a third-place finish.

Two-time national qualifier Gary Lantz suffered a tough 3-2 loss in the first tie-breaker to Kutztown’s Bionojel Candelaria in the third-place bout at 165.

Luke Palamides (133), Heath Coles (157), Nikos Garafola (174) all reached the consolation semifinals, but did not place.

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