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Pitt Wrestling Loses in a Heartbreaker at Virginia



The No. 12 Pitt wrestling team lost a nail-biter to ACC foe Virginia Friday night in Charlottesville, Virginia, at Mem Gym, in a dual that came down to the final bout. The loss ends what was a streak of five straight wins for Pitt over its conference rival, Virginia, a streak which dated back to 2015.

In the 17-16 defeat, Pitt came out on top in five of the 10 individual matches. Those wins included two upset wins for team captains Jake Wentzel and Nino Bonaccorsi over top-15 ranked opponents and two overtime victories by redshirt freshman Colton Camacho and redshirt sophomore Luke Kemerer respectively. The Panthers fall to (3-2, 1-2 ACC), while Virginia improves to (2-1, 1-1 ACC).

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In the final bout of the meet, Virginia’s No. 18 heavyweight Quinn Miller locked up the dual win for the Hoos. Miller recorded a 10-0 major decision over Jake Slinger, racking up 3:44 of riding time along the way. The bonus-point victory gave the Cavaliers their one-point margin of team victory.

At 197, the most anticipated match of the night, Bonaccorsi put on a show, defeating Flo’s No. 2 Jay Aiello 7-5, allowing Pitt to retake the team lead. For Aiello, the loss ended a streak of winning 24 straight bouts in dual competition. The Chantilly, Virginia product went 14-0 last season and won seven straight to end the 2019 campaign. He has won 18 consecutive matches overall dating back to the finals of the Midlands Championships last season. This was Aiello’s first loss this season. He is now 5-1 on the year.

Pitt got the dual off to a strong start, with Camacho picking up a gutsy 4-2 overtime decision against fellow freshman Patrick McCormick.

Then, reigning two-time ACC champ Micky Phillippi extended the lead for the Blue and Gold with a tightly-contested 4-3 decision over his former UVA teammate No. 11 Louie Hayes. With the win, Phillippi improved to 4-0 against Hayes in his career. The win also extends Phillippi’s current winning-streak to 18 matches, which is currently the fourth-longest in the conference.

From there, the Panthers saw their 6-0 team lead vanish as the Hoos captured an upset win over a ranked Cole Matthews at 141 and secured a bonus-point victory in the 157-pound bout.

At the midway point, Pitt held a 9-7 lead in the team score thanks to a gritty overtime win by Kemerer at 149. The Panther needed a late third period takedown followed by a ride out of UVA’s Denton Spencer just to send the match to extras. Kemerer secured a takedown in sudden victory to add three Pitt points to the team score. The win is Kemerer’s second in a row. He is now 2-3 on the season, with both victories coming in ACC play.

Following the intermission FloWrestling’s No. Jake Wentzel showed why he was able to capture the ACC at 165 last year by recording a dominant 11-3 major decision over Flo’s No. 9 Jake Keating. Although Keating was the reigning ACC Wrestler of the Week, Wentzel was the aggressor on Friday. The South Park, Pennsylvania native earned a big bonus-point decision over a talented Keating. The win put Pitt ahead 12-7 in the team score with four bouts remaining.

At 174 and 184 the Pitt grapplers fought hard, but saw the home team take both matches, which helped UVA take a 13-12 lead in the team score into the final two matches.

“In the ACC, you can’t have letdowns in any weights,” head coach Keith Gavin said. “You need effort at all 10 weight classes to win duals in this conference. We didn’t get that tonight, unfortunately.”


The loss sends Pitt home with a 1-2 mark in conference action, with one dual remaining.

Next up, Pitt heads back to the friendly confines of Fitzgerald Field House for their final home meet and conference dual of the 2021 regular season on Friday Feb. 5. The Panthers will square off against No. 14 North Carolina. Wrestling starts at 6 p.m.

Virginia 17, No. 12 Pitt 16

125: Colton Camacho (Pitt) dec. Patrick McCormick, 4-2 (sv-1); Pitt 3, UVA 0
133: No. 4 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) dec. No. 12 Louie Hayes, 4-3; Pitt 6, UVA 0
141: Brian Courtney dec. No. 14 Cole Matthews (Pitt), 3-1; Pitt 6, UVA 3
149: Luke Kemerer (Pitt) dec. Denton Spencer, 4-2 (sv-1); Pitt 9, UVA 3
157: No. 15 Justin McCoy major dec. Tyler Badgett (Pitt), 16-5; Pitt 9, UVA 7
165: No. 7 Jake Wentzel (Pitt) major dec. No. 13 Jake Keating, 11-3; Pitt 13, UVA 7
174: Vic Marcelli dec. Jared McGill (Pitt), 6-2; Pitt 13, UVA 10
184: Michael Battista dec. No. 16 Gregg Harvey (Pitt), 3-2; UVA 13, Pitt 13
197: No. 5 Nino Bonaccorsi (Pitt) dec. No. 3 Jay Aiello, 7-5; Pitt 16, UVA 13
HWT: No. 20 Quinn Miller major dec. Jake Slinger (Pitt), 10-0; UVA 17, Pitt 16

Additional Matches

141: Dylan Cedeno dec. Jake Cherry (Pitt), 3-0
141: Scott Kiyono dec. Ryan Michael (Pitt), 5-3 (sv-1)
157: Antonio Petrucelli dec. Justin Phillips (Pitt), 6-4
165: Hunter Kernan (Pitt) pinned David Veltri, 2:53
174: Robby Patrick dec. Tommy O’Brien (Pitt), 9-5
174: Dane Csencsits (Pitt) dec. Channing Connors, 8-5
184: Hudson Stewart dec. James Lledo (Pitt), 11-10
184: Krystian Kinsey dec. Nick Meglino (Pitt), 8-1
197: Austin Cooley (Pitt) major dec. Ethan Weatherspoon, 11-1
HWT: Jessie Knight pinned Cole Rickert (Pitt), 5:51

*All team ranking information is via the NWCA Coaches Poll rankings released Jan. 26. All individual ranking information is via FloWrestling rankings released Jan. 25

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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