Pitt Wrestling wins over No. 16 Virginia Tech, 19-14

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department (www.pittsburghpanthers.com)

Before the basketball team takes on Virginia Tech on Saturday, the Pitt wrestling team faced the Hokies on Friday night, winning 19-14.

Things got off pretty slowly with scoreless first periods in the first three matchups. At 125, Anthony Zannetta pulled off a minor upset, knocking of No. 19 Joey Dance, 3-0 in a low scoring match. Zannetta got a takedown that was reviewed to go up 3-0 and held on for the win. It was his 100th career victory and got Pitt off to a good start. At 133, No. 20 ranked Shelton Mack won another low-scoring bout, 3-2 over unranked Dennis Gustafson. No. 17 Edgar Bright for Pitt won his match 2-1 after picking up a point for over a minute of riding time, giving Pitt a 9-0 lead.

Mikey Racciato ended the first period drought at 149 pounds, scoring a takedown early over No. 17 Zach Neibert. He couldn't hang on, though, and lost 7-4 for his second straight defeat after he lost his match against West Virginia. It was a controversial loss as he appeared to get a reversal and control of the match. But it wasn't given to him and Neibert scored some points late.

Leading 9-3, Ronnie Garbinsky got the call at 157 pounds, but fell to a technical fall to Sal Mastriani after getting out to a 5-0 start. Garbinsky appeared to be injured and the 15-point loss really cost the Panthers as they clung to a 9-8 lead. That proved costly as Pitt lost another close one when Geno Morelli gave up late points with only about 15 seconds in the bout to Chris Moon, and fell 2-1. That gave Virginia Tech their first lead, 11-9.

That didn't last long, though, and the Panthers responded. No. 7 Tyler Wilps easily winning his match 13-3 for a major decision over John Dickson at 174 pounds and No. 6 Max Thomusseit the won 7-2 over No. 17 Nick Vetterlein at 184 pounds. No. 18 Nick Bonaccorsi then won 8-3 over No. 20 Chris Penny at 197, and those three wins gave Pitt a 19-11 lead. With the match clinched, P.J. Tasser got a rest at 285 and Mike Gregory came on, and fell12-10 to Ty Waltz to provide the final margin.

Just a really impressive win for Pitt over yet another ranked team. The victory reaffirms Pitt as the clear top team in the ACC and the Panthers moved to 12-1 on the year, remaining undefeated in the conference (5-0). The win also clinched a share of the ACC title. With wins against the Hokies (now 15-3), Virginia, Oklahoma State, and Lehigh, the Panthers are now 4-1 against current Top 25 teams.

Next up for Pitt is a huge Valentine's Day weekend with matches against No. 14 Edinboro and No. 11 Michigan on Friday and Saturday. Both will be on ESPN3 again.

Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and manager/editor of Cardiac Hill @AnsonWhaley

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