After shutting out Drexel, Pitt won seven of ten bouts on the road Friday night against Maryland. The final result was the Panthers over the Terrapins 27-10, and it very easily could have been 33-4.
Pitt’s three losses came at 149, 157, and 197. Dallas Bulsak started over Luke Kemerer (unknown reason) and lost 2-0 to Michael Doetsch. Bulsak almost took Doetsch down at several points and was riding well before surrendering a late reversal in the third period.
Taleb Rahmani lost 3-2 to Jahi Jones in what was a very winnable match. Taleb sacrificed a takedown in the first period looking for a home run finish, then gave one up seconds later. Taleb did not look like his usual self, and it is tempting to think the long layoff between competitions impacted his weight management schedule.
The only match Maryland legitimately looked better than Pitt was at 197. Jaron Smith majored Kellan Stout 9-0 in a contest that saw Stout give up four stalling calls.
“It was a good match to head into our holiday break,” said head coach Keith Gavin. “Maryland wrestled hard, and our guys got tested in some of those bouts.”
Louis Newell got Pitt started on the right track with a 7-2 win over Brandon Cray. He scored two takedowns, two escapes, and a riding time point to earn a solid win.
As noted previously, Micky Phillippi has been giving up the first takedown a lot this year. So far it hasn’t cost him – and it still hasn’t – but he came super close to being pinned on Friday, just a few seconds in. King Sandoval hit a nasty cement mixer from his feet and took Micky straight to his back. Micky was able to fight it off and escape, but this effectively meant he started the match losing 6-1. No matter though, he grinded all the way back for an 8-6 win, and remains undefeated.
Like times we’ve seen so far this year, Cole Matthews started the match off well, then gave up some points late. This could be due to any number of reasons (experience, freshman jitters, weight cut, etc), but it is noticeable he usually starts off better than he finishes. That was the case again at Maryland: he was up 4-1, but late in the third gave up a takedown to make it 5-5. However, he was able to rely on his killer instinct, and got a reversal and pinned Hunter Baxter (Pine-Richland native) with :07 left. This is correctable, and Pitt fans should expect Cole to win by wider margins in the future.
Maryland only had one ranked wrestler in their lineup: Philip Spadafora at 174. Gregg Harvey looked solid positionally throughout the bout vs. the 20th ranked wrestler, and got the first takedown. But, a late takedown and rideout in the second period for Spadafora made it 4-2. Harvey escaped in the third, but time was running out. With just a few ticks left on the clock, Harvey got his second takedown of the match, and secured a 5-4 victory, his first ranked win of the year.
Others winning matches for Pitt include Jake Wentzel with an 11-0 major decision over Kyle Cochran, Nino Bonaccorsi with an 11-3 major decision over Kyle Jasenski, and Demetrius Thomas with a 10-1 major over Parker Robinson. Wentzel is also still undefeated.
Pitt is now 4-1 in dual meets, and their next competition will be on New Year’s Day at the Southern Scuffle. Noteworthy team participants include Rider, Northern Colorado, Stanford, Rutgers, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Penn State, among others.
The Tri-State Sports and News Service identified the top WPIAL “Wrestlers to Watch” in both AA and AAA for the upcoming high school season. Of all the individuals listed who have committed to wrestle in college, none are coming to Pitt.
Here’s a look at the more notable ones:
- Joey Fischer: South Park → Clarion
- Thayne Lawrence: Frazier → Lehigh
- Jack Blumer: Kiski Area → West Virginia
- Dylan Chappell: Seneca Valley → Bucknell
- Wyatt Henson: Waynesburg → Iowa
- Alejandro Herrera-Rondon: Seneca Valley → Oklahoma
- Sam Hillegas: North Hills → Virginia Tech
- Gerrit Nijenhuis: Canon McMillan → Purdue
- Kurtis Phipps: Norwin → Bucknell
- Luke Stout: Mt. Lebanon → Princeton
- Gabe Willochell: Latrobe → Edinboro
With Taleb graduating after this season, and Jake after next, a Thayne Lawrence or Jack Blumer would have been really nice to reload the middle weights. Of note, Pitt commit Mick Burnett is ranked higher than Sam Hillegas at the same weight class.