MORGANTOWN, WV — Pitt won the first eight bouts, cruising to a 29-0 lead.
It wasn’t even close. West Virginia finally got a win at 197, where 10th ranked Noah Adams beat Kellan Stout 8-6 in a close bout. Backup heavyweight Cole Rickert got the nod at 285 and fell to Brandon Ngati, which made the final score 29-6. Other than that, it was all Pitt.
“We wrestled well,” said head coach Keith Gavin. “The goal is continual improvement and our guys are buying into that mindset. We are on the right track.”
When asked if it felt extra special beating West Virginia, Gavin responded “No… I don’t really get into the rivalry a lot. I like the West Virginia guys; they have a great staff.” By all accounts this is true. Tim Flynn is well respected in the wrestling world, and is as charismatic as any head coach in the game.
Regardless of who Pitt is facing, Gavin wants his wrestlers only focusing on improvement and executing better than the previous time. One wrestler who has some solid building blocks from Thursday’s match is Kellan Stout. He pushed No. 11 Noah Adams to the brink including getting a takedown and riding him well for a period of time. But, “he got a little sloppy.”
Despite Kellan’s usual prowess on top, he gave up two reversals to Adams which was the eventual deciding factor.
“He’s very good on top, he was looking to trick him into a turn, but he didn’t need to… He showed some good progress, he’s doing a good job on his feet. He made a slight adjustment with his positioning that went a long way for him.” Gavin offered this constructive criticism for his 197 pounder, and it was clear the expectations are for Kellan to be winning those matches.
Pitt outscored WVU 83-26 through the first eight bouts. Luke Kemerer won 11-9 and Taleb Rahmani 7-6, but the rest of them weren’t really close.
Louis Newell won 11-1, Micky Phillippi 20-5, Cole Matthews 4-0, Jake Wentzel 11-0, Gregg Harvey 6-2, and Nino Bonaccorsi 13-3.
Of note, Micky gave up the first takedown again. That’s something that needs cleaned up as the season progresses.
Pitt was 2-3 in the last five meetings with the Mountaineers before this year’s win. The WVU program imploded a little after Sammie Henson’s departure several years back, but Flynn will rebuild it, and quickly. Let’s not forget Edinboro finished 3rd at NCAAs a few years ago. If Flynn can do it at tiny Edinboro with a small budget, he can do it at West Virginia. And he will be competing with Gavin and company recruiting western PA.
The Backyard Brawl will be more evenly contested sooner than later.