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Pitt Wrestling Travels to Face North Carolina in Final Road ACC Dual

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Pitt Wrestling

No. 19 Pitt wrestling travels to face a common opponent in North Carolina Friday night at 7:00 p.m. in their final ACC road dual of the season

The Panthers come into this dual 8-6 on the season and 1-1 in ACC duals. They defeated the Duke Blue Devils on the road last Friday, for their first ACC dual win and dual victory of 2024.

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That win for Pitt wrestling ended a three dual losing streak, where they lost 31-6 to both then ranked No. 5 Oklahoma State on Jan. 12 and No. 8 NC State on Jan. 26, as well as a 21-20 loss on criteria to then ranked No. 24 Arizona State on Jan. 21, all at home.

North Carolina comes into this match 8-7 overall and 0-2 in the ACC. They lost in the ACC, both times on the road, to Virginia Tech, 33-3, on Jan. 27 and to NC State last Friday, 33-6.

The common shared opponents between Pitt wrestling and North Carolina, has seen both lose to NC State and beat Morgan State. North Carolina defeated Arizona State and Navy, who Pitt lost to, but also fell to Illinois, who Pitt defeated.

The Tar Heels hold a 10-5 lead in the all-time series, but the Panthers won 21-11 last year at the Petersen Events Center.

Both programs had undefeated National Champions last season, with Nino Bonaccorsi doing it for Pitt at 197 pounds and Austin O’Connor winning at 157 pounds.

This match marks the final ACC road dual for Pitt, as they will host Virginia Tech next Friday, Rider on Thursday, Feb. 22 and Virginia in the season finale on Friday, Feb. 23.

No. 19 Pitt Wrestling vs. North Carolina Probables

125 Pounds: Redshirt senior Colton Camacho (7-9 overall, 0-2 ACC) vs. No. 29 redshirt sophomore Spencer Moore (11-4 overall, 0-2 ACC)
133 Pounds: No 23 redshirt first-year Vinnie Santaniello (13-10 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. redshirt sophomore Jace Palmer (12-8 overall, 0-2 ACC)
141 Pounds: No. 22 redshirt senior Cole Matthews (11-9 overall, 2-0 ACC) vs. No. 5 redshirt sophomore Lachlan McNeil (18-4 overall, 0-2 ACC)
149 Pounds: No. 28 redshirt first-year Finn Solomon (13-7 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. redshirt sophomore Will Guida (13-8 overall, 0-1 ACC) OR redshirt first-year Jayden Scott (14-11 overall, 0-1 ACC)
157 Pounds: Redshirt first-year Jared Keslar (13-12 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 33 redshirt sophomore Sonny Santiago (10-7 overall, 1-1 ACC)
165 Pounds: No. 14 redshirt senior Holden Heller (8-5 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. redshirt sophomore Isias Estrada (6-14 overall, 0-2 ACC)
174 Pounds: No. 18 redshirt sophomore Luca Augustine (11-3 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 27 graduate student Tyler Eischens (6-5 overall, 1-1 ACC)
184 Pounds: No. 9 redshirt senior Reece Heller (15-4 overall, 2-0 ACC) vs. No. 24 junior Gavin Kane (10-7 overall, 1-1 ACC)
197 Pounds: No. 14 redshirt first-year Mac Stout (15-4 overall, 1-1 ACC) vs. No. 26 redshirt junior Max Shaw (14-4 overall, 0-2 ACC)
285 Pounds: Redshirt junior Geoff Magin (0-2 overall, 0-2 ACC) vs. redshirt sophomore Cade Lautt (10-9 overall, 0-1 ACC) OR Adam Honis (4-5 overall, 0-1 ACC)

The biggest matchup of the night comes at 141 pounds, with Pitt No. 22 redshirt senior Cole Matthews facing off against UNC No. 29 redshirt sophomore Spencer Moore.

The common wrestlers both have faced this year favors Moore, who is 4-2, compared to Matthews, who is 1-4. The biggest difference comes in NC State No. 4 junior Ryan Jack, who Matthews won a 15-10 decision against, but Moore has lost twice to this season.

Matthews also won a 3-2 decision against McNeil in their only previous meeting, giving him a slight advantage into Friday’s bout.

The matches at the heavier weights feature three ranked bouts, providing some important battles that might serve as a preview for the ACC Championships in March.

Panthers No. 18 redshirt sophomore Luca Augustine takes on Tar Heels No. 27 graduate student Tyler Eischens, who transferred in from Stanford, at 174 pounds. Both wrestlers defeated Navy Midshipmen first-year Danny Wask, but Eischens defeated Wolfpack No. 29 fifth year Alex Faison, 9-6 in sudden victory, while Augustine lost on a 7-5 decision.

A rematch from last season occurs at 184 pounds, with Pitt No. 9 redshirt senior Reece Heller wrestling North Carolina No. 24 junior Gavin Kane. Kane won 6-3 last season, giving Reece Heller incentive to assert himself as the best wrestler at his weight in the ACC.

The two split their common opponents this season, with Reece Heller defeating winning a 4-3 decision against NC State No. 10 redshirt first-year Dylan Fishback, but Navy senior David Key pinning him back in November. Kane won a 9-6 decision against Key, but lost a 15-3 major decision to Fishback.

No. 14 redshirt first-year Mac Stout is 7-2 in his last nine matches for the Panthers and he’ll face Tar Heels No. 26 redshirt junior Max Shaw at 197 pounds. The two wrestlers have beaten four out of their five common opponents this season and both lost to Wolfpack No. 3 redshirt senior Trent Hidlay.

Pitt Wrestling redshirt first-year Jared Keslar has a tough assignment in UNC No. 33 redshirt sophomore Sonny Santiago at 157 pounds. Santiago pulled off a big upset against NC State then ranked No. 6 junior Ed Scott last Friday, winning 8-5 in sudden victory. Keslar is 0-7 on the season against ranked wrestlers and will need to perform if he is going to get his first on Friday.

Panthers No. 14 redshirt senior Holden Heller finally got a win last Friday, ending a five-match losing streak after starting the season 7-0. He will wrestle against Tar Heels redshirt sophomore Isias Estrada at 165 pounds.

Both wrestlers defeated Morgan State senior Jacob Marsh and lost to both NC State No. 13 redshirt sophomore Derek Fields and Arizona State redshirt senior Chance McLane. The difference between the two in their common opponents is Holden Heller winning an 11-10 decision against Illinois first-year Chris Moore, while Estrada lost a 2-0 decision against him.

No. 23 redshirt first-year Vinnie Santaniello looks to assert himself for Pitt at 133 pounds in the ACC. He’ll wrestle against UNC redshirt sophomore Jace Palmer, who comes in 0-2 in ACC duals. Both wrestlers lost to NC State No. 5 redshirt junior Kai Orine and to Navy sophomore Brendan Ferretti for their common opponents.

Panthers No. 29 redshirt first-year Finn Solomon will either face Tar Heels redshirt sophomore Will Guida OR redshirt first-year Jayden Scott at 149 pounds. Solomon and Scott both lost to Sun Devils No. 4 redshirt junior Kyle Parco and Wolfpack No. 3 sophomore Jackson Arrington, while defeating Morgan State first-year Aaron Turner and Buffalo redshirt sophomore Kaleb Burgess.

Redshirt junior Geoff Magin continues to fill in at 285 pounds for Pitt wrestling. No. 13 redshirt first-year Dayton Pitzer is out for the rest of the regular season with a dislocated shoulder he sustained against Arizona State on Jan. 21. Magin will take on UNC redshirt sophomores Cade Lautt OR Adam Honis Friday night.

Looking for his first win of 2024 is Panthers redshirt senior Colton Camacho, who will wrestle No. 29 redshirt sophomore Spencer Moore at 125 pounds. Camacho and Moore both lost to Wolfpack No. 26 graduate student Jarrett Trombley and Cowboys No. 11 redshirt first-year Troy Spratley and defeated Fighting Illini redshirt senior Justin Cardani.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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