Ziad HaddadThe junior from Orefield, Pa. was ranked No. 1 all year and capped a perfect 25-0 season with a 5-4 victory over previously unbeaten Jacob Mitchell of California Baptist in the national tournament finals March 15 in Cleveland, Ohio. Hadded had seven major decisions, five falls and two technical falls while not giving up a takedown all season.
"I am very blessed," Haddad said. "This is a very prestigious award that holds great magnitude in our sport. I am a product of not giving up and people not giving up on me. Not only to achieve my dream of winning a national title, but everything that has come along since then is more than I could have every imagined."
Haddad is the seventh recipient of the award that is voted on by eight coaches from around the country – two from each region -- and the third heavyweight winner, including the second straight. He edged Central Regional Wrestler of the Year Casy Rowell of Central Oklahoma by one point for the top honor.
Haddad spent two years at North Carolina and was a Division I national qualifier for the Tar Heels in 2012 before transferring to Kutztown. He's 51-5 in two years with the Golden Bears and placed fourth in the national tournament as a sophomore in 2013 before winning the title this season.
Previous winners of the award were Nebraska-Kearney heavyweight Tervel Dlagnev (2008), Nebraska-Omaha 157-pounder Todd Meneely (2009), Pittsburgh-Johnstown 133-pounder Shane Valko (2010), Western State 197-pounder Donovan McMahill (2011), Upper Iowa 133-pounder Trevor Franklin (2012) and Grand Canyon heavyweight Tyrell Fortune (2013).