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

Photo used with permission of the University of Pittsburgh athletics department (

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.

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