Ziad Haddad Wins NCAA DII Championship; McKillop Runner-up

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Zaid Haddad - Photo From Express-Times

Ziad Haddad – Photo From Express-Times

Pennsylvania had one of the best seasons at the NCAA Division II National Championships in 2014. Two former Keystone State wrestlers were crowned National Champions as Eric Burgey (Easton Area) claimed the 165 lbs. title and Ziad Haddad (Bethlehem Catholic) won the 285 lbs. National Championship.

Full Results here!

Haddad was a 2008 PIAA Class AA State Champion at 285 lbs. for Bethlehem Catholic going undefeated as a senior (39-0). Haddad competed in the Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic and continued his wrestling career at the University of North Carolina. In his first season Ziad took a redshirt year and went (9-7) wrestling unattached. In his first season of competition Haddad was impressive at 285 lbs. finishing as the ACC runner-up and qualifying for the 2010 NCAA Division I National Championship. Following the 2010 season Haddad took a two season hiatus from school and would not return to the mat or classroom until Fall 2012. Haddad transferred from UNC to Kutztown University where he would compete for the Golden Bears. In his first season with Kutztown the redshirt sophomore placed fourth at the NCAA Division II National Tournament earning All-American honors for the first time in his career. This season Haddad was the top ranked heavyweight and ended the season undefeated (30-0) en route to capturing the NCAA Division II National Championship.

The third Pennsylvania finalist was 184 lbs. wrestler Travis McKillop of University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown. The junior was a former PIAA Class AA State Champion for Burrell and captured his third straight All-American honors. As a freshman McKillop placed seventh at 174 lbs. at the NCAA Division II National Tournament before moving up to 184 lbs. as a sophomore where he finished in third place. This season McKillop again returned to 184 lbs. and advanced into his first NCAA National Finals with a (8-6 OT) win in the semifinals. In the finals McKillop fell Notre Dame’s Garrett Lineberger by fall in (4:54).

There were multiple other Pennsylvania wrestlers who left with NCAA All-American medals at the DIvision II National Tournament. At 125 lbs. former Forest Hills wrestler Dave Fogle placed third for Pitt-Johnstown. The former 4x PIAA Class AA State Medalist duplicated his 2012 finish where he also placed third at the NCAA Division II Nationals at 125 lbs. Former Northwestern Lehigh PIAA Class AA State Champion Evan Yenolevich (Kutztown) placed sixth at 133 lbs. It was the seniors second All-American honors for Yenolevich who placed fourth in 2012. At 141 lbs. former Reynolds PIAA Class AA State runner-up Dylan D’Urso of Mercyhurst had an impressive Tournament as he earned his first All-American honors placing third. D’Urso lost in the quarterfinals to Charles Napier (Fort Hays State) but avenged the defeat in the consolation finals over Napier (3-3 TB-2 RT). D’Urso ended his sophomore season with a (37-5) record. Fellow Mercyhurst wrestler Jeremy Landowski placed eighth at 149 lbs. in his first career NCAA National Tournament. The former 3x PIAA Class AA State Medalist for Burrell ended his sophomore season with a (26-10) record. Former Westmont Hilltop star Zac Bennett was a 2x NCAA Division I National Tournament qualifier for the University of North Carolina in his first two seasons with the Tar-Heels. This season Bennett made the move back home transferring to Pitt-Johnstown for his junior year. In his first season at Pitt-Johnstown the former PIAA Class AA State Champion captured All-American honors placing in seventh at 197 lbs. Pitt-Johnstown teammate and fellow Westmont Hilltop alumnus Josh Duplin improved on his NCAA Tournament qualification from a season ago and earned All-American honors at 285 lbs. The former PIAA Class AAA State runner-up and true sophomore placed in seventh at heavyweight for Pitt-Johnstown.


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