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Pitt Wrestling

No. 20 Pitt Escapes New York with 19-18 Dual Match Win Over Columbia

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No. 20 Pitt fell behind early in New York City against Columbia, but three late victories earned them the victory, 19-18 on Sunday.

The Panthers (5-1) win their fourth dual match in a row with the victory over the Lions (0-3). This is the first time the Panthers are 5-1 to start the season since 2019-20 where they started with the same record. The win also makes the Panthers 3-0 against Ivy League teams in the past two years, as the Panthers defeated the Brown Bears on Friday and Columbia at home last season.

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The match did not start off good for Pitt in the 125-pound weight class. Redshirt junior No. 30 Colton Camacho suffered two takedowns against Columbia junior Nick Babin in the third period to go down 4-0. He managed an escape and got a point for riding time but lost the duel, 4-2.

Panthers Redshirt senior No. 9 Micky Phillippi used a reversal to earn a 2-0 win over junior Angelo Rhini in the 133-pound weight class to tie the match at 3-3.

Pitt then fell behind 9-3, as redshirt senior No. 1 Cole Matthews did not meet weight at 141 pounds and forfeited his duel.

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Badgett used a take down in the first period to start with a 2-0 lead over senior Danny Fongaro in the 149-pound weight class. He continued to wrestle well with a reversal and riding time to earn a 5-0 decision.

It looked like Pitt would regain the lead in the duel between senior No. 21 Dazjon Casto and sophomore Cesar Alvan in the 157-pound weight class. Casto led 14-1 in the third period, but Alvan earned a controversial quick pin call.

This put the Lions up 15-6 and the Panthers far behind them, making it a big task for the team to make a comeback.

Redshirt senior No. 17 Holden Heller won the only ranked match of the day versus junior No. 12 Joshua Ogunsanya in the 165-pound weight class. He managed an escape and a takedown in the second period and earned a stalling call on Ogunsanya to earn a 4-2 decision.

The Lions extended their lead to 18-9 in the match, as junior Lennox Wolak won a 3-2 decision over redshirt first-year No. 33 Luca Augustine in the 174-pound weight class. Wolak used a takedown and an escape to counter two escapes from Augustine to win the duel.

The Panthers needed help in the 184-pound weight class and did not have No. 28 redshirt junior Reece Heller wrestling.

Redshirt sophomore James Lledo took his place, as he did in his victory in the Brown dual match on Friday and faced off against first-year Jack Wehmeyer.

Wehmeyer started with a takedown and used two escapes, but Lledo countered with two reversals to tie it at four. Wehmeyer used an escape and a takedown, but then Lledo countered with an escape and takedown of his own to tie it at 7. Wehmeyer escaped but Lledo earned a point for Wehmeyer stalling to make it tied up at eight. Lledo then made a takedown and only allowed an escape to win the duel 10-9.

No. 3 redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi dominated sophomore Javen Javero, 15-2, to earn a major decision in the 197-pound weight class and put the Panthers within two, down 18-16.

Pitt needed a final victory from senior Jake Slinger to win the match. He took on senior Danny Conley and fell behind 2-0 when Conley got a takedown on him. Slinger then escaped and a reversal to take a 3-2 lead in the second period. Slinger made another takedown and won the duel, 6-2, with a riding time point added. With three points for the Slinger victory, Pitt won the match 19-18.

This is the final dual match for Pitt in 2022, but they participate in the Midlands Open Championships at Northwestern in Evanston, Ill from Dec. 29-30. The next dual match is the Backyard Brawl at Fitzgerald Field House on Jan. 8 at 2 p.m.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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