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No. 25 Pitt Wrestling Dominates Buffalo, 37-0, for Second Shutout of the Season



Pitt wrestling. Holden Heller

PITTSBURGH — No. 25 Pitt dominated from start to finish against Buffalo, shutting them out 37-0 Friday night at Fitzgerald Field House to get back to winning ways.

The Panthers (6-2) earned their second shutout of the season, as they blanked the Cleveland State Vikings in their opening duel meet. The Panthers also improve to 5-2 all-time against the Bulls (6-7), as they defeated them last year in their season opener.

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Panthers head coach Keith Gavin wanted his team to show their competitiveness in this match after a poor loss to rival WVU on Sunday, Jan. 8. He said that he got that from them and more, resulting in the dominant victory.

“Last Sunday, we were a little flat and I think that we didn’t wrestle with a whole lot of energy or passion behind what we do,” Gavin said. “Tonight, you want them to go out there and show everybody that you love to wrestle and you love to compete. We have a bunch of guys that do love to wrestle and love to compete and we need to show that on a consistent basis. The energy level was much better and I think that it’s easy to do that coming off a disappointing loss. The important thing is to stay consistent with it.”

Pitt redshirt junior Colton Camacho (11-6) started off the night with a dominant performance in the 125 pound weight class, earning a technical fall, 20-3, on Buffalo redshirt first-year Mason Bush (3-6).

Panthers redshirt senior No. 8 Micky Phillippi (7-1) then won a major decision, 14-4, over Bulls redshirt first-year Cole Minnock (10-9) in the 133 pound weight class.

No. 3 redshirt senior Cole Matthews (11-1) continued the Panthers’ dominance with a technical fall, 21-6, over Bulls redshirt sophomore Jack Marlow (5-13) in the 141 pound weight class.

Pitt saw its next three wrestlers shutout their next three opponents. No. 29 redshirt sophomore Tyler Badgett (14-6) won an 8-0 decision over Buffalo redshirt sophomore Matt Ryan (3-9) at 149 pounds.

Panthers redshirt senior Dazjon Caston (4-5) won a close bout, 1-0, over Bulls redshirt first-year Kaleb Burgess (8-11) to get himself an important victory in the 157 pound weight class. No. 30 redshirt senior Holden Heller (7-4) got an easy, 6-1 decision against redshirt junior Ty Raines (5-7) at 165 pounds to complete the trifecta.

Redshirt first-year Luca Augustine (9-6) continues to show his growth over the season at 174 pounds, earning a 5-1 decision over redshirt sophomore Jay Nivison (4-6).

The biggest match of the night saw Pitt No. 18 Reece Heller (14-2) go up against Buffalo No. 28 redshirt senior Giuseppe Hoose (13-4) in the 184 weight class. Heller used a takedown and an escape to earn a tight, 3-2 decision over Hoose, with both fighting until the very end.

“Usually in matches like that, you get a guy like that and he was just hanging on my neck the whole time,” Reece Heller said. “It was really hard for me to deal with that. But I felt good, I outwrestled him in positions and I feel like that’s where I ended up winning the match. Like I said, the guy wasn’t really trying to do a lot other than tire me out and hang on my neck until the last minute. It was a really, really gritty match for me and it was hard, but I’m really glad I pulled through and persevered through that.”

Panthers no. 2 redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi (8-0) stayed undefeated with a 13-3 major decision over Bulls redshirt first-year Eli Sheeran (12-9) at 197 pounds.

Pitt senior Jake Slinger (7-5) wrestled Buffalo redshirt senior Greg Hodulick (7-12) in the heavyweight classand they both found themselves tied at 0-0 heading into the third period. Slinger made two takedowns and an escape in the third period to earn a 5-1 decision to help earn Pitt the shutout.

Pitt starts ACC play next week with a trip to take on Virginia on Friday, Jan. 20.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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