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Pitt Wrestling

No. 19 Pitt Wrestling Upset by UNC in Final Road Dual, 22-12



Pitt wrestling

No. 19 Pitt Wrestling faced off against North Carolina Friday night, but would end up losing in an upset, 22-12, in their final road dual of the season.

The Panthers (8-7 overall, 1-2 ACC) lose to the Tar Heels (9-7 overall, 1-2 ACC) for the fifth straight time in Chapel Hill, N.C., with their last win coming in 2014, the first season the Panthers competed in the ACC. The Panthers are now 1-8 in their last nine meetings against the Tar Heels, with the win at the Petersen Events Center last season, and 3-8 against them since joining the conference.

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This defeat for Pitt wrestling makes it four out of five dual losses to start 2024, and six out of eight since the National Collegiate Duals on Dec. 18. The loss also most likely ends Pitt’s attempt to win at least a share of the ACC dual team title for the second straight season.

Panthers Redshirt senior Colton Camacho (7-10 overall, 0-3 ACC) battled throughout his match with Tar Heels No. 29 redshirt sophomore Spencer Moore (12-4 overall, 1-2 ACC) at 125 pounds. Moore would escape to take the lead in the second period, but Camacho also built 1:16 of riding time. Moore would drain that down below 60 seconds to start the third period and managed to hold off attacks from Camacho to hold on for the 1-0 decision.

Camacho drops his fifth straight match since the start of 2024 and is the only Panther to not have an ACC win. He also drops to 2-4 against ranked wrestlers on the season.

Pitt No. 23 redshirt first-year Vinnie Santaniello (13-11 overall, 1-2 ACC) took on North Carolina first-year Derek Guanajuato (4-4 overall, 1-0 ACC) at 133 pounds. Guanajuato came in replacement for redshirt sophomore Jace Palmer, who lost his first two ACC matches.

Guanajuanto opened up the scoring with a takedown in the first period. Santaniello gave away a point on a locked hands violation while he rode Guanajuanto and then Guanajuanto made a reversal and took a 6-0 lead.

The start of the third period saw the referees take away the takedown and make it 3-0. Santaniello escaped, but never completed a move to score and Guanajuanto would get the upset.

The biggest match of the night came at 141 pounds, with Panthers No. 22 redshirt senior Cole Matthews (12-9 overall, 3-0 ACC) wrestling Tar Heels No. 5 redshirt sophomore Lachlan McNeil (18-5 overall, 0-3 ACC)

A scoreless first period saw Matthews start in the down position to begin the second period. He would turn McNeil for the reversal and then got him on his back for four near fall points to take a 6-0 lead. McNeil would only muster two escapes as Matthews won a 6-2 decision.

The win for Matthews makes him 10-1 against the top six ranked wrestlers in Intermat in his career and 3-0 against the top five wrestlers this season, with wins over Ohio State No. 3 sophomore Jesse Mendez on Dec. 10 and NC State No. 4 junior Ryan Jack on Jan. 26.

Pitt wrestling looked to tie the dual up or take the lead with No. 28 redshirt first-year Finn Solomon (13-8 overall, 1-2 ACC) battling UNC redshirt first-year Jayden Scott (15-11 overall, 1-1 ACC) at 149 pounds.

Scott would take the lead, grabbing Solomon’s right leg and then sweeping the left leg for the takedown. Solomon made an escape and 1:15 of riding time at the end of the second period to get himself in good position. Scott rode Solomon for 49 seconds to erase the riding time advantage, but Solomon escaped to stay in the match. Scott held on for the 3-2 decision, fending off attacks from Solomon.

Panthers redshirt first-year Jared Keslar (13-13 overall, 1-2 ACC) continued his struggles against ranked wrestlers, losing an 11-4 decision to Tar Heels No. 33 redshirt sophomore Sonny Santiago (11-7 overall, 2-1 ACC) at 157 pounds. He initially lost 12-4, but the referees gave Keslar a late fourth point at the end of the match to keep it a decision and not a major decision.

Pitt wrestling got themselves back in the dual, with No. 14 redshirt senior Holden Heller (9-5 overall, 2-1 ACC) pinning UNC redshirt sophomore Isias Estrada (6-14 overall, 0-2 ACC) at 1:49 in the first period at 165 pounds, cutting the home team’s lead to 12-9.

Panthers No. 18 redshirt sophomore Luca Augustine (11-4 overall, 1-2 ACC) took on Tar Heels No. 27 graduate student Tyler Eischens (7-5 overall, 2-1 ACC) at 174 pounds, looking to get his team level or in the lead.

Augustine tried to escape to start the second period, but Eischens stopped him and got two back points. Augustine would escape, but the referees called him for stalling for the second time, putting him back down two points. The two scrambled to try and score points, but the score would hold as a 3-1 decision for Eischens.

Pitt No. 9 redshirt senior Reece Heller (15-4 overall, 2-0 ACC) didn’t face off against UNC No. 24 junior Gavin Kane at 184 pounds, with first-year Sabino Portella (2-6 overall, 0-1 ACC) taking his place. Reece Heller won the match with a takedown on an ankle pick in the second period to earn a 5-2 decision and kept Pitt within three points at 15-12.

A former WPIAL South Hills battle came about at 197 pounds, with Panthers No. 14 redshirt first-year Mac Stout (15-5 overall, 1-2 ACC) wrestling Tar Heels No. 26 redshirt junior Max Shaw (15-4 overall, 1-2 ACC) at 197 pounds. Stout wrestled for Mt. Lebanon, while Shaw wrestled for Thomas Jefferson.

Shaw used his hips to get around Stout for the first takedown but Stout made two escapes to keep it 3-2 heading into the third period, although Shaw had more than a minute of riding time.

Shaw escaped to start the third period, as Stout allowed him to get up. The referees called stalling twice on Shaw, which tied the match, but Stout didn’t complete an attacking move, allowing Shaw to win a 5-4 decision after riding time.

Redshirt junior Geoff Magin (0-3 overall, 0-3 ACC) has filled in at 285 pounds for Pitt wrestling, with No. 13 redshirt first-year Dayton Pitzer out with a dislocated shoulder for the rest of the regular season.

He took on North Carolina redshirt sophomore Cade Lautt (11-9 overall, 1-1 ACC) and Lautt easily started off the better of the two, using two takedowns to take a 7-1 lead through the first two periods.

Magin escaped and made a takedown that almost got back points/pin needed for Pitt to win the match on criteria. He let Lautt escape to score more points, but Lautt used two takedowns plus riding time to win a 15-6 major decision for UNC.

Pitt wrestling will return home for their final three duals of the regular season, with No. 13 Virginia Tech coming to town next Friday, Feb. 16.

No. 19 Pitt Wrestling vs. North Carolina Final Results

North Carolina 22, No. 19 Pitt 12

125: No. 29 Spencer Moore (UNC) dec. Colton Camacho (Pitt), 1-0 (UNC leads, 3-0)
133: Derek Guanajuato (UNC) dec. No. 23 Vinnie Santaniello (Pitt), 4-1 (UNC leads, 6-0)
141: No. 22 Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. No. 5 Lachlan McNeil (UNC), 6-2 (UNC leads, 6-3)
149: Jayden Scott (UNC) dec. No. 28 Finn Solomon (Pitt), 3-2 (UNC leads, 9-3)
157: No. 33 Sonny Santiago (UNC) dec. Jared Keslar (Pitt), 11-4 (UNC leads, 12-3)
165: No. 14 Holden Heller (Pitt) pins Isaias Estrada (UNC), 1:49 (UNC leads, 12-9)
174: No. 27 Tyler Eischens (UNC) dec. No. 18 Luca Augustine (Pitt), 3-1 (UNC leads, 15-9)
184: No. 9 Reece Heller (Pitt) dec. Sabino Portella (UNC), 5-2 (UNC leads, 15-12)
197: No. 26 Max Shaw (UNC) dec. No. 14 Mac Stout (Pitt), 5-4 (UNC leads, 18-12)
285: Cade Lautt (UNC) maj. Geoff Magin (Pitt), 15-6 (UNC wins, 22-12)

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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