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Pitt Wrestling

No. 18 Pitt Falls to No. 3 Iowa State Late, 16-15



PITTSBURGH — No. 18 Pitt took on their toughest opponent in No. 3 Iowa State Saturday night at Fitzgerald Field House. Both teams displayed some of the best wrestlers in the country and it came down to the final match, with Iowa State winning on points criteria after both teams each won five bouts.

The Panthers (9-3) lose their first match since West Virginia on Jan. 8, ending a four match winning streak. The loss to the Cyclones (13-2) is the sixth in the series all-time, as they Cyclones lead the Panthers 6-3.

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“Exciting duel,” Panthers head coach Keith Gavin said after the match. “I think it was entertaining for everybody here, obviously a great crowd, so I’m appreciative of that. Heartbreaker at the end there, but overall, proud of our guys’ effort and we’re continuing to get better. So just got to keep building and working hard.”

Pitt redshirt junior Colton Camacho (14-7) battled with Iowa State redshirt junior Caleb Fuessley (7-11) at 125 pounds. Both wrestlers made an escape through the first three periods, forcing the match into overtime. Camacho got a takedown on Fuessley, to win in sudden victory, 3-1.

Panthers No. 6 redshirt senior Micky Phillippi (11-1) took on Cyclones junior Zach Redding (11-8) in the 133 pound weight class. Phillippi and Redding battled to the end, with riding time working in Phillippi’s favor for a 5-4 decision. The Cyclones challenged Phillipi’s riding time, as it was just a little more than the one-minute scoring mark, but the officials kept the time as originally called.

No. 3 Cole Matthews (15-1) established control for Pitt throughout his bout with Iowa State No. 24 first-year Casey Swiderski (8-6) at 141 pounds, having the led most of the way. Swiderski got a takedown late to tie the match up, but riding time again played in favor for Pitt, with Matthews winning on a 5-4 decision, putting them up 9-0.

Panthers No. 29 redshirt sophomore Tyler Badgett (15-9) battled hard with Cyclones No. 10 first-year Paniro Johnson (12-3) at 149 pounds. Johnson led early, but Badgett kept it close in the end, just losing on a 5-3 decision.

Pitt first-year Jared Keslar (11-4) started at 157 pounds in place of the senior Dazjon Casto, who sat out with an injury. He fell behind 3-0 to Iowa State senior Jason Kraisser (17-8), but used a takedown and a near fall to take the lead, 4-3. Kraisser regained the lead soon after, 5-4, on a takedown and defeated Keslar in a 7-5 decision.

Panthers No. 23 redshirt senior Holden Heller (10-5) took on one of the best wrestlers in the country against Cyclones No. 2 redshirt senior David Carr (16-0) at 165 pounds. Both wrestlers found themselves tied early at 3-3, but Carr broke the deadlock with a takedown, escape and riding time to win a 7-3 decision, tying the match at 9-9.

Pitt redshirt first-year Luca Augustine (12-7) fell behind 4-2 in the second period against Iowa State first-year MJ Gaitan (4-4) at 174 pounds. Augustine then used two escapes and a takedown late in the third period to earn his side a win in a 6-4 decision.

No. 18 Reece Heller (15-5) faced a tough challenge for the Panthers as he wrestled against Cyclones No. 4 graduate Marcus Coleman (15-1) at 184 pounds. He found himself down 6-1 early on to Coleman, but kept wrestling and kept it a loss in a 10-5 decision, keeping the match tied at 12.

The match of the night came in Pitt No. 2 redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi against Iowa State No. 5 junior Yonger Batisda at 197 pounds. Both wrestlers kept it close and tied at the end of two periods. Batisda got an escape and then the referee called stalling on Bonaccorsi to put him down 4-2.

Facing his first loss of the season, Bonaccorsi got a takedown and then two back points to take the lead and eventually the victory in a 6-4 decision.

“It was one of those things where I just had to keep chipping away,” Bonaccorsi said on his strategy against Batisda. “He was very stingy defensively and overall just a really tough kid. I knew I was eventually going to get one of those. It’s kind of what I like to do. Eventually might shoot ten times and only get one of them so that was kind of what happened tonight. Knew I was going to get it eventually. Just took to the third period to do it.”

The Panthers needed one more match win to seal an incredible win against the Cyclones. Panthers No. 5 first-year Dayton Pitzer (7-2) came up against Cyclones No. 10 graduate Sam Schuyler (12-2) in the heavyweight and both put on a great show.

Pitzer and Schuyler both made a takedown each through the first two periods, tied at 2-2. Pitzer made an escape in the third period to take the lead, but Schuyler got a late takedown to win the bout in a 4-3 decision, and the duel match on points criteria.

Gavin said that Pitzer has been dealing with injuries since the Virginia Tech match last Friday, Jan. 27. He also said that if the match didn’t come down to him, senior Jake Slinger would’ve wrestled in his place. Gavin did consider starting off with Pitzer, but he felt confident with Camacho in getting the three points at 125 pounds.

Even with the loss, Gavin said he liked the effort from his team against Iowa State and that it bodes well going forward the rest of the way.

“I just think we’re getting better as the season goes on,” Gavin said. “That’s what you want to see. Now’s a pretty good time to be wrestling your best. Obviously we’ve got another tough test coming next week, but we just got to keep building off of it. I just told them, “We can always get better. ” Hopefully we get better next week and the win next Friday.”

Pitt travels to Raleigh, N.C. to take on No. 7 NC State next Friday, Feb. 10, where they can win the ACC regular season title.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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1 year ago

I don’t watch wrestling on a regular basis, but this was a thrilling battle. I am not sure how we are not a top 10 team right now. Despite the late loss, I think Pitzer losing his redshirt makes us that much better as a team. Maybe with the injury that changes things? Either way, great showing today!

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