NCAA Releases Championships Brackets, Revealing Placements for Pitt Wrestlers
The NCAA have released the brackets for the Wrestling Championships, revealing placements for Pitt wrestlers and their journeys to achieve high placements and National Titles.
The NCAA Wrestling Championships will play out starting this Thursday March 16 through Saturday March 18 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla. Panthers head coach Keith Gavin is in his sixth season as head coach and will bring six wrestlers with him to this season’s Championships.
Redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi finished his season undefeated with a 16-0 record, giving him the No. 1 seed at 197 pounds. He is the first Pitt wrestler to earn this achievement since Gavin did it in 2008. Gavin also won the National Title at 174 pounds with a perfect record, the last Pitt wrestler to achieve both feats.
Bonaccorsi won his second straight ACC Title at 197 pounds against NC State sophomore Isaac Trumble in Raleigh, N.C. last Sunday in a 2-1 decision. This is his fifth straight year as an NCAA qualifier, as he made it twice at 184 pounds and the last three times at 197 pounds. Bonaccorsi’s best finish at the Championships came in 2021, where he made it to the final as the No. 6 seed, before losing to No. 4 A.J. Ferrari of Oklahoma State.
He will face the winner of No. 32 UNC redshirt junior Max Shaw (14-10) or No. 32 Penn junior Cole Urbas (17-13) in the First Round. Bonaccorsi defeated Shaw in a 7-2 decision on Feb. 3 at the Petersen Events Center and defeated him in 2022 and 2021 as well for a 3-0 career record against him.
Redshirt senior Cole Matthews had a 19-1 record in the 2022-23 season and earned a No. 3 seed at 141 pounds at the Championships.
Matthews’ sole loss came against West Virginia redshirt first-year Jordan Titus at home on Jan. 8 in a 3-1 decision.
He won his second straight ACC title against NC State sophomore Ryan Jack in a 3-1 decision last Sunday and will compete in his fourth straight NCAA Championships. He finished in fifth place last season, the highest finish for a Pitt wrestler in the 2022 NCAA Championships.
Matthews takes on No. 30 Clarion senior Seth Koleno (21-9) in the First Round on Thursday.
Redshirt senior Micky Phillippi has one more shot for a National Title at 133 pounds and comes into the NCAA Championships as the No. 9 seed.
Phillippi finished with a 13-3 record in the 2022-23 season. He made it to the ACC Final for his fifth straight season but lost to NC State redshirt sophomore Kai Orine in a 3-1 sudden victory, for his second lost against Orine this season.
Like Bonaccorsi, Phillippi is a five-time consecutive NCAA qualifier. He has reached the quarterfinals twice but has never placed at the Championships.
Phillippi faces off against No. 24 Iowa junior Brody Teske (9-4) in the First Round on Thursday.
Brothers in redshirt junior Reece Heller and redshirt senior Holden Heller transferred from Hofstra last season and are now in their first NCAA Championships together.
Reece Heller placed at No. 16 at 184 pounds with an 18-8 record this season. He will take on No. 17 Lehigh senior Tate Samuelson (21-7) in the First Round. Reece Heller defeated Samuelson in a 7-6 decision on Nov. 19 at home in this season’s first matchup.
Holden Heller has a 14-6 record and finished in Third Place at the ACC Championships last Sunday at 165 pounds. He earned a No. 20 seed this week and will compete in his second NCAA Championships, as he made it there in 2021 as a redshirt sophomore at 157 pounds.
Holden Heller will face off against No. 13 rival Penn State redshirt first-year Alex Facundo (18-4) in the First Round.
Redshirt first-year Luca Augustine (15-9) is the lowest seed of any Panther at No. 28 at 174 pounds. He had a strong end to his season, finishing in Third Place at the ACC Championships to earn the last automatic qualifying spot for the NCAA Championships.
He has a big task ahead of him in the First Round, as he wrestles No. 5 Oklahoma State junior Dustin Plott (21-4), who will have a favorable home crowd in Tulsa.
Pittsburgh Sports Now will be in Tulsa providing coverage on the NCAA Wrestling Championships this week around the clock, so make sure to get your Pitt wrestling coverage here. The schedule for NCAA Wrestling Championships looks like this. All times are in the eastern standard time zone.
Thursday, March 16
Session 1 – 12:00 pm (Preliminaries & First Round)
Session 2 – 7:00 pm (Sweet 16 & Consolations)
Friday, March 17
Session 3 – 12:00 pm (Quarterfinals & Consolations)
Session 4 – 8:00 pm (Championship Semifinals & Round of 12)
Saturday, March 18
Session 5 – 11:00 am (Placing Matches)
Session 6 – 7:00 pm (Championship Finals)