Winter sports conclude seasons at nationals

For the first time in two seasons, it wasn’t the Gannon University men’s or women’s basketball teams making headlines in March.

This time around it was the swimming and wrestling teams that represented the Knights on the national stage.

Redshirt senior Zack McKendree became only the third wrestler in program history to reach a Division II championship match when he lost a last-second 3-1 decision in the finals of the 165-pound weight class NCAA Division II National Championship in Kearney, Neb.

McKendree finishes his career at Gannon sitting alone atop the program’s all-time wins list with 111 victories. He’s also only the fifth two-time All-American in the Knights’ history.

The fifth-year senior wasn’t the only member of the team wrestling at nationals as junior Jose Matos earned an eighth-place finish in the 125-pound weight class.

Redshirt senior A.J. Milanak and redshirt junior Ethan Swope didn’t place in their respective weight classes.

The four wrestlers contributed to Gannon’s 16th-place finish over the two-day event spanning Friday and Saturday. Of the 41 teams, the University of Nebraska-Omaha claimed the national championship as it was the only school to earn at least 100 points with three first-place finishers.

The Knights finished above their Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rivals Kutztown and Shippensburg universities as well as Mercyhurst College.

Also touring the Midwest states were the Gannon University swimming teams as they took to San Antonio, Texas from Wednesday through Saturday to compete in the NCAA Division II national championship.

Freshman Luke Curtis added to his already stellar postseason – during which he won three individual titles in PSAC Championship – by picking up four All-American accolades in the Lone Star State. 

He was awarded the honors after finishing 12th or higher in the 1,650-yard free-style, 400-yard international medley, 500-yard freestyle and 1,000-yard freestyle.

After his first national championship, Curtis is already tied for the second most All-American awards in program history – he needs only three to break the record.

The women’s swimming and diving team had another strong showing at nationals as junior Dianna Rocco earned All-American honors twice during the week for her performances in the one- and three-meter dives – she finished 10th and 13th, respectively.

She is the only diver in school history to earn All-American awards in multiple championships. Her five All-American honors also leads all other divers – men or women – in program history by representing three more than any other Knight.

Junior Kaitlyn Bosy, senior Ellie Hess and sophomore Jackie Rzymek also competed for the Knights although none of them were able to earn All-American honors.

Bosy and Hess placed finished 30th and 45th in the 100-yard freestyle preliminaries. 

Gannon will now turn its attention to spring as all of the winter sports have officially ended their seasons.

ZACK MCDERMOTT

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