Men’s wrestling returns 3 All-Americans, 10 starters


The Gannon University men’s wrestling coach, Don Henry, meets with his team before competing during the 2019-20 season. The Knights would finish with an overall reocrd of 8-6.

Alex Pepke, Sports Editor

The men’s wrestling team at Gannon University had quite the year last season. In a year that got cut short due to COVID-19, Gannon still produced one of its most productive seasons in program history.

Led by coach Don Henry, the Knights have proven to be one of the most formidable teams in all of NCAA Division II.

Henry, who has been the head coach of the program since 1984, has guided 17 top-30 national finishes in the past 20 years.

He turned Gannon’s program into one solely focused on development into a fully competitive, all-around program.

Henry was inducted into the NCAA Division II Wrestling Hall of Fame in March of 2014.

This past season the Knights finished with an overall dual meet record of 8-6 and went 5-2 in Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) matchups, while also facing a handful of Division I opponents.

Despite a rocky start, Gannon ripped off five straight victories toward the end of the season, including wins over ranked PSAC teams Kutztown, East Stroudsburg and Mercyhurst.

While the Knights performed well on the mat, they also excelled in the classroom. They earned the 16th-highest team GPA (3.17) in all Division II and had eight student-athletes earn National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) Scholar All-American honors, which was the most in the PSAC.

Gannon had eight wrestlers secure a berth at the National Qualifiers: Nick Young, Luigi Yates, Joel Leise, Jacob Dunlop, Dom Means, Even Fisler, Alex Farenchak and Freddie Nixon. This was the second appearance at the National Qualifiers for Dunlop and Nixon, with the other six going for the first time.

Gannon was one of four teams in the country to qualify eight or more wrestlers.

Gannon was able to finish second in the team standings at that qualifying event, finishing behind only Pitt-Johnstown.

The NWCA named three Knights – Means, Farenchak and Nixon — as All-Americans. These awards were based on the wrestlers’ overall body of work and performances during the regular season and super region tournaments.

Since there was no PSAC tournament for the first time, the PSAC coaches voted on the all-conference awards, and Gannon had seven student-athletes earn that honor.

Fisler was named to the first team, Dunlop, Means, Farenchak and Nixon were named to the second team and Yates and Leise were named to the third team.

Gannon should have no problem putting together another successful season this year, as all 10 starters will be returning to the team, which is scary for PSAC opponents.

Farenchak led the team in victories, going 24-8 on the year. He also led the way with seven majors and had a perfect 6-0 record in PSAC duals. He also went 6-3 against nationally ranked opponents.

Fisler paced Gannon with 12 dual wins, along with another perfect PSAC record of 7-0. Dunlop tied Fisler for the best winning percentage on the team with an overall record of 20-5.

The schedule for the men’s wrestling team has not been released by the PSAC or Gannon yet, but it is expected to be released soon.

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