The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


December 8, 2013

UPJ shows well in PSAC wrestling tournament

EDINBORO — Coach Pat Pecora and the 12th-ranked Mountain Cat wrestlers traveled to their first-ever PSAC Championships at Edinboro University on Saturday and placed sixth overall and second among the nine Division II teams competing in the 12-team field.  

“We had a very good showing and came away with our first PSAC individual championship,” Pecora said. “Getting through the eight Division II schools is tough enough, then you have to go up against four Division I schools. Edinboro just went toe-to-toe against Iowa on Thursday night.”

Five Mountain Cats placed in the top-six, including Travis McKillop, who won Pitt-Johnstown’s first the title at 184 pounds. Dave Fogle was the runner-up at 125 pounds.

McKillop, the No. 2-seed at 184 pounds, received a bye in the first round, before pinning Shippensburg’s Evan Ramos at 1:34 and dealing third-seeded Sam Shirley of Bloomsburg a 13-3 major decision loss to advance to the title bout against Edinboro’s Division I seventh-ranked Victor Avery.

Avery medical forfeited and McKillop claimed the title.

“I knew going in it was going to be a tough tournament,” McKillop said. “Once I got there it was an eye opener.

“There is tough competition in every bracket. Every match is a scrap. I thought I wrestled pretty well in the matches. I would have liked to have won the title by competing, but things happen.

“My first match was a against a Division I kid, a national qualifier,” he added. “I just wrestled the UPJ style.”

After receiving a bye in the first round, Fogle, seeded third at 125, earned a 6-1 win over Bloomsburg’s Sean Boylan and a 7-2 decision over Gannon’s second-seeded Matt Turek to reach the finals against Division I 16th-ranked Kory Mines of Edinboro.  Mines defeated Fogle 8-2 to claim the championship.

In addition to Fogle and McKillop, Gary Lantz place third at 165, while Dave Cawley (141) finished fifth, and Evan Link (133) placed sixth.

Lantz posted a 4-1 record and pinned Clarion’s Michael Pavasko at 4:50 in the third-place bout, while Cawley was 3-1 and defeated Millersville’s David Charles, 2-0, to place fifth. Link reached the fifth-place bout, before defaulting to Mercyhurst’s Kody Young.

“As an individual performance, I’m pleased. Team-wise, I look at it like we took second out of the Division II schools,” Pecora said. “There is another facet in this conference with wrestling, whoever has the best record out of all the Division II teams wins the Division II dual meet championship.

“It’s a unique animal that we’re dealing with. There is some really top-notch competition.”

Division I Edinboro claimed the team title with 172.5 points, followed by other Division I teams Bloomsburg (135 points), Lock Haven (102), and Clarion (92).  Division II Mercyhurst, (90) was fifth, Pitt-Johnstown was sixth (62), and Kutztown (48.5) was seventh. East Stroudsburg (44.5), Shippensburg (26), Gannon (17.5), Seton Hill (13), and Millersville (12) rounded out the 12-team field.


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