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Pitt Wrestling

No. 18 Pitt Prepares to Battle with No. 3 Iowa State to Keep Winning Streak Alive



No. 18 Pitt faces a great challenge on Saturday, Feb. 4 at Fitzgerald Field House as they battle with No. 3 Iowa State in a duel match.

The Panthers (9-2 overall) are on a four match winning streak and wrestling the best they’ve done all season. They defeated the Tar Heels Friday night at the Petersen Events Center to put them alone in first place in the ACC at 3-0.

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Iowa State (13-2 overall) defeated West Virginia Friday night in Morgantown, W.Va. They fell behind 10-0 early on, but wrestled strong the rest of the way, losing only one of the final seven bouts to win the match 20-13.

Pitt will do their best to keep that winning streak alive, but Iowa State bring in incredibly talented wrestlers that will challenge anyone in the country. Iowa State’s two losses this season are also against No. 1 Penn State and rival No. 2 Iowa, the only two squads ahead of them in the rankings.

The probable matchups look like this:

Weight Class-Pitt wrestler vs. Iowa State wrestler.

125-No. 33 redshirt junior Colton Camacho vs. junior Caleb Fuessley or redshirt first-year Conor Knopick 

133-No. 6 redshirt senior Micky Phillippi vs. junior Zack Redding 

141-No. 3 redshirt senior Cole Matthews vs. No. 24 first-year Casey Swiderski 

149-No. 29 redshirt sophomore Tyler Badgett vs. No. 10 first-year Paniro Johnson

157-First-Year Jared Keslar  vs. No. 27 senior Jason Kraisser or redshirt sophomore Cam Robinson

165-No. 23 redshirt senior Holden Heller vs. No. 2 senior David Carr

174-Redshirt first-year Luca Augustine vs. No. 25 junior Julien Broderson 

184-No. 18 redshirt junior Reece Heller vs. No. 4 senior Marcus Coleman or redshirt senior Joel Devine

197-No. 2 redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi vs. No. 5 junior Yonger Bastida 

Heavyweight-No. 5 first-year Dayton Pitzer vs. No 10 senior Sam Schulyer

The biggest match of the night features Bonaccorsi (11-0) vs. Batisda (13-1) at 197 pounds. Bonaccorsi is undefeated this season and comes up against Bastida for the first time in his career. Bastida finished fifth at the 2022 NCAA Championships and will be the biggest test for Bonaccorsi this season.

First-year Dayton Pitzer (7-1) is continuing to grow in popularity as he dominates veteran talent in the heavyweight class. He will face a great test in Schuyler (11-2) and a win for Pitzer could convince head coach Keith Gavin to burn his likely redshirt for this season.

Reece Heller (15-4) just suffered a loss to a great opponent in UNC No. 13 Gavin Kane Friday night at 184 pounds. He likely faces tough competition again in Coleman (14-1) Saturday night, that should provide for an enticing bout. He could also face off against Devine, but Coleman wrestled Friday night against West Virginia.

Holden Heller (10-4), brother of Reece Heller, takes on his greatest competition this season in the undefeated Carr (15-0) at 165 pounds. Holden Heller has won his last four bouts, but Carr will determine how ready he is for the best in the country.

One intriguing matchup puts Augustine (11-7) against Broderson (13-8) at 174 pounds. Augustine earned a huge upset over North Carolina No. 8 graduate Clay Lautt Friday night, winning a 2-1 decision in tie breakers. Broderson is coming off a loss and Augustine has a great opportunity to finish this weekend undefeated.

Badgett (15-8) finally earned his first ACC duel win against Tar Heels first-year Jayden Scott Friday night at 149 pounds. He won’t get an easy matchup against the Cyclones in Johnson (11-3) and he will need to compete well to earn a win against Johnson.

Matthews (14-1) looks to stay near the top of the rankings with a win over Swiderski (8-5) at 141 pounds. Phillippi will also look for a big win over Redding (11-7) at 133 pounds to try and tip the match in Pitt’s favor.

Camacho lost a difficult battle with UNC No. 19 graduate Jack Wagner at 125 pounds. Coming up against Fuessley (7-10) or potentially Knopick (7-3), he has chance to end the weekend with a match win and potentially a Pitt team victory as well.

Keslar stepped in place for Panthers senior Dazjon Casto (5-6) this weekend. He stood no chance against Tar Heels graduate Austin O’Connor, who won on technical fall, 24-8. Keslar should face Kraisser (16-8) at 157 pounds, making it an easier opportunity for a victory. He could also face Robinson (17-3), but Kraisser did wrestle against the Mountaineers Friday night.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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