By George Fladeland
It’s a difficult task to become a national champion at the college level. However, it’s even more difficult to defend a national title. That’s exactly what KU wrestler Ziad Haddad accomplished on Saturday, March 14 at Saint Louis University’s Chaifetz Arena.
When the PA system announced Haddad’s name they included the Rocky theme song. At a powerful 6′ 2″ 285 lbs Haddad certainly took the role of Rocky in his final match as a Golden Bear. His imposing stature, technique, and skill was too much for his opponent.
Haddad faced third ranked Austin Goergen from Saint Cloud State in the championship match. Once Haddad took down Goergen once, he wanted more. Haddad finished the match with four takedowns against Goergen to earn the 8-6 victory, and defended his national championship crown.
After Haddad defended his national title he was awarded the most dominant wrestler in Division II. He deserved the award because Haddad finished his senior season a flawless record of 30-0. As for his career, Haddad had not been taken down for 55 matches and also posses a 55 match winning streak in that time.
He ended his career at KU with a record of 82-5. His 82 wins landed him fourth all-time in KU’s history despite only wrestling as a Golden Bear for three seasons. Haddad’s first season was spent as a Tarheel at the University of North Carolina. Each of his four seasons he qualified for the NCAA tournament. All three of Haddad’s years at KU he gained All-American status.
Haddad will be missed at KU and the wrestling community. His dedication, commitment, and hard work is something that every successful person should mirror. Haddad’s storied wrestling career will land him in the Kutztown University Athletic Hall of Fame one day alongside with the other KU athletic legends.