Pitt's wrestling team opened up its season with two consecutive wins over Ohio and Campbell on Sunday at the Mountaineer Duals in Morgantown. Neither team win was all that easy, though the second came with less suspense. Here are the full individual results.
First, the Panthers defeated Ohio, 21-16. Pitt trailed Ohio after the first four bouts as L.J. Bentley (125 pounds) and Nick Zanetta (141 pounds) both dropped 4-3 decisions. Pins by Jake Wentzel (157 pounds) and Teshan Campbell (165 pounds) opened things up a bit, giving Pitt an 18-6 lead. But three straight Ohio victories cut Pitt's lead to 18-16 and the Panthers needed a win in the final bout by heavyweight No. 15 Ryan Solomon, who won his bout, 6-2.
Campbell also provided Pitt with a challenge and the Panthers won a close one, 21-13. They also got out to an early 3-0 lead but the Panthers won five of the next six bouts to pull away a little. Pitt was up 21-10 heading into the final bout and put backup John Rizzo in to compete giving Solomon a break. His loss made the score a bit closer.
Despite the close bouts, there were some good things here. First, Campbell's pin was against a top 20 wrestler, Ohio's No. 19 Austin Reese. He's currently unranked but a guy that the team will really need this year. He showed some lapses last year but also quite a bit of promise and it was good to see him win both of his matches.
Dom Forys, the team's top grappler and No. 9 in his weight class, also picked up a nice win, topping Ohio's No 13-ranked Cameron Kelly. He later scored a major decision and had a great day.
Mikey Racciato is a guy that returned to the team after missing much of last year. He was 1-1 on the day, losing his Campbell bout, but is another guy that could eventually be ranked.
Finally, one thing to watch is that Pitt is starting two true freshmen this year - the aforementioned Wentzel and Christian Dietrich (174 pounds). Both were top 50ish recruits in the nation and close to the top of their respective classes. They were 3-1 on the day with Wentzel picking up a pin and Dietrich scoring a major decision win. Those two will be important to the success of the program this year.
Pitt had a handful of disappointing individual results but it was nice to see them start the year with two wins. Next up, the team faces Edinboro next Sunday on the road.