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Pitt Dominates No. 17 Lehigh in Home Opener at Fitzgerald Field House



The No. 13 Pitt wrestling team took down in-state rival No. 17 Lehigh Saturday evening in the first dual meet of the 2021 season at Fitzgerald Field House in Pittsburgh. In the 24-9 win, Pitt came out on top in eight of the 10 individual matches. The Panthers improved to (2-0, 0-0 ACC), while Lehigh fell to (0-1, 0-0 EIWA).

“We won a lot of close matches tonight, and I thought we got too conservative at times,” Pitt head coach Keith Gavin said after the match. “We can certainly do a better job of scoring when we have a lead. Our goal is to build a mentality of always trying to stay on the attack. It was a solid team win over a Lehigh program that we respect a ton, but I’d like to see us finish matches better and not play it so safe.”

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For the second time in six days, redshirt junior and No. 5 197-pounder Nino Bonaccorsi earned an individual win which clinched the team race for the Panthers. While he didn’t put up a plethora of points as he did in Pitt’s 22-14 win over Navy earlier this week, Bonaccorsi authored a convincing 7-2 decision in the only ranked-versus-ranked bout of the meet.

This also marks the second consecutive dual in which the Blue & Gold were able to string together victories in at least five straight individual bouts. Saturday, with the Panthers trailing 9-6 after four matches, Pitt rattled off six wins in a row, scoring a combined 15 team over that span to end the dual, winning by a wide 24-9 margin.

After facing a six-point deficit following the 125-pound bout, when Pitt freshman Colton Camacho gave up a first-period pin at the 1:58 mark to Lehigh’s Jaret Lane, ranked Panthers No. 6 Micky Philippi and No. 16 Cole Matthews both emerged victorious in their respective matches, tying the dual at 6-6.

From there, Pitt won six of the seven remaining bouts to preserve the first home dual meet win of 2021.

At 157 pounds, true freshman Tyler Badgett delivered an impressive 6-1 decision over Lehigh’s JT Cooley 6-1 to  once again tie the dual, this time at nine points a-piece. The win was Badgett’s first career win at The Fitz.

From there, Pitt never looked back, winning the next five matches against the Mountain Hawks to earn the dual meet win, including a very exciting comeback sudden victory 9-3 decision for Pitt heavyweight Jake Slinger, who nearly pinned his opponent in the process. The heavyweight out of Upper St. Clair also earned the first home dual meet victory of his Pitt career.

At 165, the reigning ACC Wrestler of the Week No. 8 Jake Wentzel struggled early against true freshman Thayne Lawrence, but came away with the win, a 3-0 decision and did not surrender a single point to Lawrence.

Jared McGill and No. 22 Gregg Harvey eared 4-1 and 4-2 decisions in their respective matches to extend the Pitt team lead before Bonaccorsi sealed the deal, and Slinger added extra team points of his own.

The win represents the second in a row for the Panthers against over the Mountain Hawks. Last year, the Panthers earned a dramatic 19-18 victory at then No. 7 Lehigh in November 2019.

After the dual, to give numerous student-athletes on both teams the opportunity to log additional matches. Pitt’s starters faced Lehigh reserves and vice versa participated in a variety of exhibition matches following the dual as well. The results (shown below) did not factor into the dual meet scoring.

The Panthers will be back in action Saturday, Jan. 16 for second straight home dual at the Field House when they host ACC foe Duke at 10 a.m.


125 | Jaret Lane (Lehigh) Fall Colton Camacho (Pitt), 6-0 (Lehigh leads, 6-0)
133 | Micky Phillippi (Pitt) dec. Malyke Hines (Lehigh), 10-5 (Lehigh leads 6-3)
141 | Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. Connor McGonagle (Lehigh), 4-3 (Tied 6-6)
149 | Jimmy Hoffman Cobb (Lehigh) dec. Luke Kemerer (Pitt), 4-0 (Lehigh leads, 9-6)
157 | Tyler Badgett (Pitt) dec. JT Cooley (Lehigh), 6-1 (Tied 9-9)
165 | Jake Wentzel (Pitt) dec. Thayne Lawrence (Lehigh), 3-0 (Pitt leads, 12-9)
174 | Jared McGill (Pitt) dec. Jake Logan (Lehigh), 4-2 (Pitt leads, 15-9)
184 | Gregg Harvey (Pitt) dec. JT Davis (Lehigh), 4-1 (Pitt leads, 18-9)
197 | Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) tech. fall Jake Jakobsen (Lehigh), 7-2 (Pitt leads, 21-9)
HWT | Jake Slinger (Pitt) tech. fall Victor Lacombe (Lehigh), 9-3 (SV1) (Pitt wins, 24-9)

Additional Results:

125 – Colton Camacho (Pitt) dec. Sheldon Seymour (Lehigh) 7-4, TB1
133 – Louis Newell (Pitt) dec. Satoshi Abe (Lehigh) 5-1
141 – Joe Lobeck (Lehigh) dec. Ryan Michaels (Pitt) 9-3
149 – Mick Burnett (Pitt) dec. Paul Watkins (Lehigh) 8-6
157 – Antonio Petrucelli (Pitt) dec. Tyler Sung 6-3
165 – Connor Herceg (Lehigh) dec. Tye Weathersby (Pitt) 6-5
174 – Tommy O’Brien (Pitt) Fall Trey Cornish (Lehigh) 6:49
184 – Caden Wright (Lehigh) dec. Nicholas Meglino (Pitt) 4-0
197 – James Lledo (Pitt) major dec. Andrew Shedleski (Lehigh) 15-2
285 – Eli Jones (Lehigh) dec. Cole Rickert (Pitt) 2-0

*All individual ranking information is via FloWrestling rankings released Jan. 4.


Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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