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Pitt Wrestling

No. 18 Pitt Dominates Duke on Senior Day, 43-3, Earns a Share of the ACC Regular Season Title



PITTSBURGH — No. 18 Pitt dominated Duke, 43-3, Saturday, Feb. 18 at Fitzgerald Field House on Senior Day, which also clinched them a share of the ACC regular season title.

The Panthers (10-4 overall, 4-1 ACC) stay perfect against the Blue Devils (3-12 overall, 0-5 ACC) in the all-time series, 10-0, with this win. This win also ends a two match losing streak, which saw the Panthers lose at home to the then ranked No. 3 Iowa State Cyclones on Feb. 4 and the then ranked No. 6 NC State Wolfpack on Feb. 10.

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Panthers head coach Keith Gavin said that his squad is wrestling well right now. He also said that the Panthers are progressing, as they prepare for the ACC Tournament in two weeks time.

“I think that it’s good to come out here and just execute a lot of skills,” Gavin said on the victory over Duke. “We scored a lot of points and that’s important. Hopefully it’s a springboard for the ACC Championship. We still have two more weeks of good focused training and then we’ll be ready to go after that second week.”

Pitt redshirt junior Colton Camacho (15-8) and No. 10 redshirt senior Micky Phillippi (12-2) started out the match with two pins against Duke.  Camacho pinned first-year Ethan Grimminger (0-10) at 3:53 in the second period at 125 pounds and Phillippi pinned junior Logan Agin (4-13) 6:02 in the second period at 133 pounds.

Panthers redshirt senior Cole Matthews (17-1) continued his dominance this season with a 20-7 major decision over Blue Devils sophomore Christian Colman (3-13) at 141 pounds.

Pitt redshirt sophomore Tyler Badgett (16-10) ended a two match losing streak and won an 8-3 decision over Duke redshirt junior Patrick Rowland (12-15) at 149 pounds.

Senior Dazjon Casto won his first match for Pitt since Virginia on Jan. 20 with a 10-0 major decision against Duke sophomore Logan Ferrero (1-8) at 157 pounds

Panthers redshirt senior Holden Heller (12-5) won a close 5-3 decision against Blue Devils redshirt senior Gabe Dinette (0-8) at 165 pounds. Redshirt first-year Luca Augustine (13-8) won by forfeit for the Panthers after the Blue Devils did not put anyone out at 174 pounds.

Redshirt junior Reece Heller (16-6) pinned Duke junior Luke Chakonis (5-19) at 1:05 in the first period for Pitt’s third pin of the match at 184 pounds.

Pitt redshirt senior Nino Bonnacorsi (14-0) finished his regular season undefeated with a technical fall decision, 18-2, against Duke senior Vincent Baker (6-4).

The Blue Devils won the final match of the day at heavyweight to avoid the shutout. No. 18 senior Jonah Niesenbaum (24-3) held off Panthers senior Jake Slinger (8-7) in a 5-3 decision.

The victory for Pitt tied them with NC State and Virginia Tech at 4-1 in ACC play, making it a three-way tie for the ACC Regular Season Title. Phillippi, spoke on the importance of winning that ACC trophy for the first time since 2014 and how it’ll motivate the team and his game going forward.

“I’m happy but not complacent,” Phillippi said on his season so far. “I wanna do the best I can possibly do. I’ve had a couple big wins this year, but nothing matters until that big tournament. Get the ACCs, get a title there and go to nationals, win a title. Sky’s the limit.”

The Panthers celebrated five seniors today for Senior Day, ending their careers with the program once this season concludes. This included Phillippi, Bonaccorsi, Casto, Slinger and redshirt junior Nicholas Meglino.

Phillippi and Bonaccorsi have been with the program since the 2017-18 season. They both are looking to go out on top and finish their careers as two of the best wrestlers in Panthers history.

“It’s been amazing,” Phillippi said. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything. When coming in here, I think we completely turned the program around, which was pretty cool to see. Nino and I have been together the whole way through. He’s like my brother. He’s in my wedding. We’ll be brothers for life. It’s pretty cool. I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I’m hoping we can end this on an even bigger note.”

Pitt is done with its regular season duel matches for now. They will prepare for the ACC Championships in Raleigh, N.C. on March 5.

Gavin said that his wrestlers are ready for those ACC Championships and just need to keep doing what they’ve done well this season.

“I think just right now it’s about consistency,” Gavin said. “Being consistent with your approach to practice and your mentality when you come into practice. Everyone should be very deliberate with what they’re doing. Each guy has their area of concentration where they need to get better. Just holding them accountable to that and making sure that they’re being consistent with their approach.”

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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