Wrestling Adds 16 Recruits, Including PA State Champion Travis McKillop
06/21/11...Head Coach Pat Pecora (36th season) and the Pitt-Johnstown wrestling program have added 15 new wrestlers for the 2011-12 season, including five former Pennsylvania State Place-winners. Highlighting the class are Travis McKillop (Lower Burrell, Pa.), Burrell High School’s 2011 PIAA State Champion at 160 lbs., and Penn Cambria High School’s Evan Link (Cresson, Pa.), the 2010 and 2011 state runner-up at 112 lbs.
Of the 15 incoming wrestlers, five were former Pennsylvania State-Place-winners and four others qualified for the PA State Tournament. In addition, Coach Pecora added 2010 PA State Place-winner Zak Newton (Cresson, Pa./Penn Cambria H.S.), who played football at St. Francis University last season, and Sean O’Connell (Farmington, Conn./Farmington H.S.), a transfer from Anderson (S.C.) University.
“Once again, I believe we have added some young men who will make an immediate impact on our program and some who will make an impact a few years down the road,” Coach Pecora said. “Overall, another great recruiting class.”
Heading this year’s recruiting class are McKillop and Link.
McKillop, whose cousins were former football standouts at the University of Pittsburgh, posted a 52-2 overall record in 2010-11 on his way to winning the PA State title at 160 lbs. McKillop, currently ranked third in the nation in his weight class, finished his high school career with a 163-31 record. He also represented Pennsylvania in the 2011 Dapper Dan Wrestling Classic in Pittsburgh.
Link will join his brothers Nathan and Ryan on the Mountain Cats squad. Link, currently ranked sixth in the nation, is a two-time PA State Runner-up at 112 lbs. He finished with a 42-2 record in 2010-11 and a 138-20 career record.
Coach Pecora is also bringing in four former Pennsylvania State Place-Winners.
Portage Area High School’s David Kephart (Portage, Pa./Portage Area H.S.) had a 36-4 overall record in 2010-11 and placed seventh at 189 lbs. Newton placed fifth at the PIAA Tournament in 2010 at 189 lbs., but chose to play football at St. Francis out of high school. Corey Aungst (Claysburg, Pa./Claysburg-Kimmel H.S.) placed eighth at 145 lbs. in 2011.
Four PA State Qualifiers will also continue their collegiate wrestling careers at Pitt-Johnstown. They include: AAA State Qualifiers Nikos Garafola (Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield H.S.) (189 lbs., 39-6 record) and Damian Lascoli (Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg, H.S.) (160 lbs., 29-9 record) and AA State Qualifiers Brian Gibbons (Buffalo Mills, Pa./Bedford H.S.) (171 lbs., 38-6 record) and Dylan Killian (Annville, Pa./Annville-Cleona H.S.) (152 lbs., 40-6 record).
In addition, several others will join the team in 2011-12. O’Connell will transfer to Pitt-Johnstown from Anderson. True freshmen include: Felipe Arias (135 lbs., Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson H.S.), Christian Bosco (160 lbs., Jeannette, Pa./Penn Trafford H.S.), Jarek Dudek (145. lbs, Kittanning, Pa./Kittanning H.S.), Gio Giorgio (125 lbs. West Lawn, Pa./Wilson H.S.), Zach Leda (HWT. New Kensington, Pa. /Kiski Area H.S.)
Alphabetical List of the 2011-12 Pitt-Johnstown Wrestling Recruits
NAME HOMETOWN/HIGH SCHOOL H.S. WT. SR RECORD. H.S. HONORS
Felipe Arias Sinking Spring, Pa./Wilson 135 lbs.
Corey Aungst Claysburg, Pa/Claysburg-Kimmel 145 lbs. 42-6 2011 PIAA AA 8th-Place
Christian Bosco Jeannette, Pa./Penn Trafford 160 lbs.
Jarek Dudek Kittanning, Pa./Kittanning 145 lbs.
Nikos Garafola Greensburg, Pa./Hempfield 189 lbs. 39-6 2011 PIAA AAA State Qualifier
Gio Giorgio West Lawn, Pa./Wilson 125 lbs.
Brian Gibbons Buffalo Mills, Pa./Bedford 171 lbs. 38-6 2011 PIAA AA State Qualifier
David Kephart Portage, Pa./Portage Area 189 lbs. 36-4 2011 PIAA AA 7th-Place
Dylan Killian Annville, Pa./Annville-Cleona 152 lbs. 40-6 2011 PIAA AA State Qualifier
Damian Lascoli Hollidaysburg, Pa./Hollidaysburg Area 160 lbs. 29-9 2011 PIAA AAA State Qualifier
Zach Leda New Kensington, Pa./Kiski Area HWT.
Evan Link Cresson, Pa./Penn Cambria 112 lbs. 42-2 2-time PIAA AA State Runner-up
Travis McKillop Lower Burrell, Pa./Burrell 160 lbs. 52-2 2011 PIAA AA State Champion
Zak Newton Cresson, Pa./Penn Cambria 189 lbs. 39-8 2010 PIAA AA 5th-Place
Sean O’Connell Farmington, Conn./Farmington 184 lbs.
The Mountain Cats are coming off of a 15-2 dual meet season, a second-place finish at the NCAA Division II Super Region I Tournament and a tie for 10th-place finish at the National Tournament. Seven wrestlers advanced to the 2011 Division II National Tournament. Three became All-Americans, including sophomore Ryan Link (133 lbs.) (Cresson, Pa.) (4th-Place), senior Chris Dempsey (HWT.) (Sewickley, Pa.) (5th-Place), and red-shirt freshman Jack Bachman (141 lbs.) (Greensburg, Pa.) (8th-place). In the classroom, Zach Lundgren (157 lbs.) (DuBois, Pa.) earned First-Team NWCA All-Academic Team honors, while Josh Krupa (HWT.) (Bedford, Pa.), Myers Miller (165 lbs.) (Bolivar, Pa.), and Keith Ryan (157 lbs.) (Shirleysburg, Pa.) were honorable mention choices.
Pitt-Johnstown will open the 2011-12 season at the Washington & Jefferson Collegiate Open on November 12, before making their home debut against West Liberty (WV) University on November 18 at 7 p.m. in the Sports Center.