Monday, May 11, 2020

Gone, Lost & Forgotten: Their Best = California of Pennsylvania

The University of California of Pennsylvania aka Cal U was a very good team that had success at the NCAA Division II level.  In 1976 the Vulcans finished in eighth place at the NCAA DII tournament with a dual record of 17-2.  In 1989 they finished in seventh place.

Bill DePaoli
As a high school wrestler Bill DePaoli only qualified for the state tournament once, his junior season.  He went 1-1.  As a freshman in college, he took third at the NAIA tournament, despite having failed to qualify for the state tournament as a senior in high school.  It'd be nothing but success for the Vulcan from there on out. In 1977, he would win his first NAIA title. He'd follow that up with a third place finish at the NCAA Division II tournament in 1978.  He saved his best season for last.  As a senior in 1979 he started off the season by taking runner-up honors at the Midlands.  He would then win an NAIA title, place second in NCAA Division II & take home fourth place at the NCAA Division I tournament.  All in all between three Divisions DePaoli was a six time All American with a 124-8 record.   Not bad for a guy that only made the state tournament once.

Post his collegiate career DePaoli coached both wrestling & ice hockey.
Ken Hackman
190 lbs 
The best Ken Hackman ever finished during his high school career was third at the state tournament. Yet when the athletic director first announced that Cal U may be cutting the wrestling program, Hackman told him not to because he was going to win an NCAA title & he'd just as soon do it for the Vulcans.  After finishing as the NCAA DII runner-up in 1987 & in eighth place at the DI tournament, that's exactly what Hackman did.  He won NCAA DII titles in 1988 & in 1989.   He finished his career with a 101-10 record despite wrestling at Pittsburgh his freshman season. 

Another interesting fact about Hackman is that his girlfriend was the Vulcans athletic trainer during his time there.

Rick Travis
126, 134 lbs 
Rick Travis had an outstanding career for the Vulcans capturing NCAA Division II All American honors in all four seasons of competition.  He placed sixth in 1985 & 1986, finishing in third in 1987 & then taking runner-up honors in 1989.

Kevin Kinane
118 lbs 
A member of the Vulcan team after Cal U moved to the Division I level, Kinane had an excellent sophomore  season taking runner-up honors at the Midlands tournament & finishing in sixth place at the NCAA tournament.  His career was cut short due to an injury.

Michael Swift
150, 142 lbs 
Swift was having a stellar career as a Vulcan when Cal U was at the NCAA Division II level.  He placed fifth as a freshman in 1990 & made the NCAA finals as a sophomore in 1991.   His junior season Cal U moved up to Division I.  He qualified for the NCAA tournament but failed to place.  Making adjustments to the DI competition, Swift came back strong for his senior season.  He placed eighth at the Midlands championships & followed it up with an eighth place finish at the NCAA Division I tournament.   When his career was said and done he had 160 victories, 44 of which were by fall.

Darwin Stalnaker
126 lbs 
A career plagued by injuries, Darwin Stalnaker still made the most of his time on the mat.  In high school he finished third at the state tournament but he'd be yet another Vulcan to outdo his high school performance in college.  After starting out his career at Maryland, Stalnaker thought his wrestling career was over for good when he missed an entire season due to injury.  He was then coaxed into transferring to Cal U & restarting his wrestling career.   He finished that season of 1975-1976 as the NAIA runner-up.  Unfortunately he would miss out on the rest of his career but suffering another injury, this one career ending.

Post college Stalnaker started the wrestling program at Fairchance-Georges high school where he lead his squad to a record of 131-78-2.

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