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Head Coach Pat Pecora (36th season) and the Pitt-Johnstown wrestling program have added 16 new wrestlers for the 2011-12 season, including six 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 16 incoming wrestlers, six 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.

Mike Pavasko (Homestead, Pa./Steel Valley H.S.) is coming off of a 36-8 season and a fourth-place PIAA finish at 152 lbs., while 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.)

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