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Three UPJ Wrestlers Earn Regional Championships

Three Mountain Cats Claim Regional Championships

Dave Fogle (125 lbs.), Travis McKillop (184 lbs.), and Zac Bennett (197 lbs.) all won individual championships to lead a group of six Mountain Cat wrestlers who qualified for nationals following this weekends 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 (Ohio).

Notre Dame won the team championship with 115.5 points.  Pitt-Johnstown (90.5 pts.), Mercyhurst (83.0 pts.), Kutztown (55.0 pts.), and Gannon (40.0 pts.) rounded out the top-five.

Mercyhurt Universitys Mike Wehler was named the 2013-14 super Region I Coach of the year, while Kutztown Universitys Evan Yenolevich (133 lbs.) was named the tournaments Outstanding Wrestler.

Fogle, the second seed at 125 lbs., 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 lbs., 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 Dames third-seeded 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 Dames No. 1-seeded 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 national by wrestling through the consolation bracket and placing third.

At 141 lbs., Sam Hanau suffered a loss in the semifinals, but bounced back to win two more matches, including a fall over Seton Hills 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 Gannons Rocco Wellek, then held off second-seeded Kyle Barnes (Shippensburg), 4-3, to reach the national tournament.

In addition, at 285 lbs., Josh Duplin suffered a loss in the quarterfinals, but battled back to win four straight matches, including a narrow 3-2 decision over West Libertys Aaron Silverio to earn a third-place finish and a trip to nationals.

Two-time National Qualifier Gary Lantz suffered a tough 3-2 loss in the first tie breaker to Kutztowns Bionojel Candelaria in the third-place bout at 165 lbs. and came up just short of his third trip to nationals.

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

The six Mountain Cats who qualified for nationals will compete at the 2014 NCAA Division II Championships in Cleveland, OH on March 14-15.
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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times