As the Omicron variant continues to spread, many sporting events are being cancelled.
In December, University of Pittsburgh’s wrestling team, ranked No. 21 in the NWCA Coaches Poll, got word that the Midlands tournament was a no-go due to COVID-19 precautions.
At the time, Coach Keith Gavin got together with other collegiate coaches to arrange for a new tournament, the Illinois MatMen open, to be held at the same venue on the same weekend.
Pitt’s wrestlers took home the win at that tournament last week.
Pitt’s next home match, was schedule for Friday, January 7th. That, too, is now cancelled after Gavin said their opponent, Penn, contacted him earlier this week to say they were having issues with COVID-19 and could no longer make the trip to Pittsburgh.
Once again forcing Gavin to find a new opponent.
“I contacted a bunch of coaches,” Gavin said. “Army said they also needed a match so they would be willing to wrestle and then Michigan said they were in the same boat so we just agreed to wrestle both of them.”
As the NCAA rules stand now, each wrestler will need to wrestle a certain number of matches in order to qualify for the Coaches Poll. With cancellations, Gavin said teams are worried, if adjustments are not made, the athletes won’t have a chance to compete at nationals.
“We’re heathy and we need to wrestle,” Gavin said. “You don’t know what else will be cancelled in the future so we need to make sure we have matches that allow our guys to get to not only get to nationals but be prepared for it.”
Starting at noon on Sunday at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse, Pitt will face off to Army, who they haven’t met on the mat in 29 years.
Immediately following that match, Pitt will take on No. 3, Michigan.