ALLEN, TX – For the second year in a row, Coach Matt Park’s team returned home from the National Collegiate Wrestling Association (NCWA) National Championships with hardware.
This year, two wrestlers earned All-American honors. Senior Kasey Haines at 149 pounds and sophomore Cliff Hill at 197 pounds; both captured eight place and finished the tournament with 4-3 records.
Both Haines and Hill opened the tournament with wins in the first round and then dropped to the consolation bracket with a loss. Both wrestlers reeled off of three straight wins to get themselves into the top eight of their weight class.
Along the way, Haines reversed a loss from the Mid-East Regional qualifier where he was pinned by Jonathan Dempsey of Lafayette; he pulled out an 8-6 sudden victory win with a takedown in overtime. Hill saved his heroics for this last match, where he was trailing Benjamin Hogan 8-2 (Cincinnati) in the second period, when he used an upper body throw to secure the pin at 4:13 and earn All-American honors. Both wrestlers then lost their two matches to settle for eighth place and NCWA All-American.
Penn State DuBois’ other wrestlers competed hard and attributed to the team success with several winning matches along the way.
Penn State DuBois finished in 14th place with 36 points; the next best conference school was Penn College in 20th place and 19 points. In the team race, California Baptist established a lead with its strength in the lighter weights, and then held off McKendree in a thrilling race of All-American one-upmanship as the Lancers won their second National Collegiate Wrestling Association Championships here. The Lancers totaled nine All-Americans out of their 13 qualifiers, and each made the difference in their 145.5 points that edged McKendree’s six All-Americans and 137 points.
Fittingly, the tournament results came down to the heavyweight match, where CBU’s Zach Merrill sealed the title with a 3-0 win over Ross Janney of McKendree. That ended a rush of points for both squads that saw each team score All-American (top eight) finishes in five of the last six weight classes. McKendree had the higher finishes during the impressive run, but the Lancers’ three additional All-Americans earlier in the tournament were the difference.
For complete results from the NCWA Tournament, visit http://www.psuduboisathletics.com.