On Thursday, Pitt's wrestling team took down a good Edinboro squad. On Saturday, they beat an even bigger opponent, knocking off No. 15 Wisconsin. The Badgers move to 1-1 in dual competition (they have competed mostly in tournaments) while the Panthers move to 5-1.
Winning 25-9, the Panthers never trailed in a meet that, surprisingly, was never close. No. 19 Heavyweight Ryan Solomon opened up the dual with a pin. That would be the first of four consecutive bouts that would go the Panthers' way as L.J. Bentley (125 pounds), No. 19 Dom Forys (133), and No. 9 Mikey Racciato (141) all picked up wins, giving Pitt a commanding 15-0 lead.
Robert Lee (149), Cody Wiercioch (165), and Zach Bruce (184) were beaten at the dual. However, Ronnie Garbinsky (157), TeShan Campbell (174), and Nick Bonaccorsi (197) all got into the winning column, giving Pitt seven wins in the ten bouts.
The Panthers used a couple of big upsets to propel themselves to victory. Forys, a rising star of sorts, pulled off the biggest, defeating No. 4 Ryan Taylor, 10-6. And Campbell, a true freshman who is having a promising year, easily defeated No. 16 Rickey Robertson, 13-5 to score a major victory.
Pitt had a disappointing showing earlier in the year against No. 10 Lehigh, which led a lot of us to question how competitive they would be with a younger roster this year after the loss of Tyler Wilps and Max Thomusseit. But as Saturday showed, the Panthers aren't entirely in rebuilding mode. This is a young team that should continue to get better as the year goes on.
To the rankings, I mentioned after the Edinboro dual that Pitt should have a chance to be ranked even if they couldn't pull off the upset against Wisconsin, depending on what the teams in front of them did. Now, however, there really shouldn't be any question. When the new rankings are released this week, the Panthers will almost certainly find themselves in them after checking in at No. 27 this past week, just outside of the Top 25.