Gannon University: Moccia earns win for seventh place, four Gannon All-Americans compete to close NCWWC National Championships

Freshman Julianne Moccia (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll), competing at 109 pounds, defeated Angelina Graff of North Central by fall to earn seventh place at the 2022 NCWWC National Championships—one of four Gannon University women’s wrestling All-Americans to compete on day number two of the tournament. Moccia (the No. 7-ranked 109-pounder in the nation) earned the first points of the match, taking down Graff for the 2-0 lead. Graff would flip the script and take a 3-2 lead, but a huge four-point move from Moccia gave her the 6-3 lead after the first period. A takedown in the second period made it 8-3 and led to the eventual fall for Moccia’s 23rd win of the season.

At 101 pounds, Gannon’s No. 8-ranked Kat Pendergrass (South Hill, Va./South Granville(NC)) faced off against No. 7 Brook Thurber of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Pendergrass fell behind 4-0, but closed the gap to 4-2 by the end of the first period and took the lead 6-4 in the second. Thurber closed strong, though, and retook the lead to win the close bout 8-7, making it consecutive eighth-place finishes for two-time All-American Pendergrass at the NCWWC National Championships.

Gannon’s Lana Perez (Honolulu, Hawaii/Moanalua), also a two-time All-American, took on another North Central wrestler, No. 6-ranked Sara Sulejmani, in the 136-pound seventh-place match. Perez fell behind early 2-0, but stormed back, earning four straight takedowns to take an 8-2 lead after the first period. Sulejmani followed the same pattern in the second period, though, taking Perez down twice and earning the fall in 4:26.

The final Golden Knight competitor, No. 7-ranked freshman Anya Knappenberger (Berlin, Md./Stephen Decatur) at 130 pounds, faced the No. 1-ranked wrestler in the weight class, Montana Delawder. Knappenberger fell behind 2-0 early but managed to take Delawder down to tie the match, 2-2. Delawder earned the next two takedowns to end the first period up 6-2 and eventually won the match 13-4 to claim seventh place.

Gannon improved on its total of All-Americans from a year ago, earning four total compared to the three from 2021. The team finished tied for ninth in the team standings (38.5 points) with Emmanuel College, just four points behind eighth-place Adrian College, the hosts of this year’s national tournament. McKendree University (188 points) beat out King University (166.0) for the overall team title.

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