The Cowboys won 30-10, and out-wrestled Pitt in almost every match in a battle between top ten programs.
The dual got off to a good start for the Panthers. Unranked Louis Newell took down No. 4 Nick Piccininni two times in the first period with his ultra slick throw by. His success wouldn’t last unfortunately, as Piccininni came back to take the lead, then pinned Newell in the second period.
Looking to continue his teammate’s success, Reece Witcraft came out firing on all cylinders as he converted a Micky Phillippi shot attempt into a throw of his own, planting Micky within a fraction of an inch of being pinned. Time ran out in the first period, but with just a few more seconds Witcraft may have been able to re-position and stick Micky.
Winners don’t get rattled however. After conceding an escape to start the second, and going down 7-0, Micky took Witcraft down, and during the transition locked up a cradle. With plenty of time in the period, Micky was able to settle Witcraft into a secure position, and pinned him at 4:04.
That would be Pitt’s last win until heavyweight.
“It was a disappointing loss,” critiqued head coach Keith Gavin. “We got outworked in a lot of matches and that’s just unacceptable. Micky was a good example of what it looks like to be gritty in a tough situation, and [Demetrius Thomas] wrestled well. We need to learn from this and move forward.”
Cole Matthews faced Dusty Hone, the backup at 141 and fell in a 7-1 decision. Cole wasn’t able to execute his plan, and Hone essentially controlled every aspect of the match from start to finish.
The Cowboys’ highest ranked wrestler is No. 3 Boo Lewallen at 149. He looked the part as he dismantled Luke Kemerer in a dominating 19-4 technical fall.
The most entertaining match of the evening – as usual with Pitt matches – came at 157 with Taleb Rahmani getting in to his famous scrambles and funkiness.
In the first period Taleb and Wyatt Sheets appeared to trade a takedown and reversal with Taleb earning the latter. But upon replay, it looked definitively like Sheets never had control during the takedown, meaning Taleb would have the lead 2-0, instead of being tied 2-2.
The Pitt coaching staff agreed and challenged the call. Despite what seemed obvious on the slow motion replay, the refs did not overturn their original call. After a crazy back-and-forth match, Taleb eventually escaped to tie it 8-8, but Sheets had 1:02 of riding time, giving him the decisive ninth point for the win.
At 165, Jake Wentzel squared off vs No. 9 Travis Wittlake, a rematch from the Southern Scuffle.
In a near repeat of their first meeting, Jake got put to his back from neutral and wasn’t able to get any significant offense going after that. Wittlake won 9-2.
The next three weight classes fared similarly for Pitt. 17th ranked Gregg Harvey got majored by unranked backup Andrew Shomers 10-0, and did not look like himself at all. Neither did Nino Bonaccorsi. He couldn’t get to anyting going, and also lost to an unranked, yet highly regarded, Anthony Montalvo. Nino did get a takedown, but also got put on his back in the first and was ridden the whole third. Montalvo clearly got the scouting report, using his ties to prevent Nino’s typical high octane offense from getting in to gear.
Kellan Stout looked solid in the first period, getting a takedown on No. 10 Dakota Geer in an all-PA match. Geer controlled the remainder of the bout though, and came away with a 6-2 victory.
Rounding out the dual, Meech faced Austin Harris and poured it on using his normal array of scoring moves. Meech was the only Pitt wrestler to thoroughly out-class his opponent Friday night; he impressed with a 14-3 major decision.
Like Gavin said, Pitt has some things to work on before they begin the final stretch of their season. And they might want to do it quickly; the ACC portion of the schedule starts on Saturday.
Next up for Pitt is a 10am meeting with the Duke Blue Devils in Durham, NC.