Despite two wins over ranked teams and a one-time Top 25 ranking, Pitt's wrestling team struggled through a mostly rough season this year. The Panthers sent several wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament earlier this year, but finished a disappointing 39th. The team also struggled in conference, finishing last in the ACC Tournament with a 2-3 record in the regular season.
The team returns most of the core from last year (apparently save for Mikey Racciato, who no longer appears on the roster) and more help is on the way as the Panthers landed the No. 11 recruiting class for 2016 according to FloWrestling. The Pitt write-up has some good information on the three guys coming in, Austin Bell, Christian Dietrich, and Jacob Wentzel. Bell ranks the highest as the No. 39 overall recruit in the nation, followed by Wentzel at No. 40, and Dietrich at No. 53. Three top 60 guys is a nice haul for head coach Jason Peters.
One thing I liked about this class is that two of the three kids (Bell and Wentzel) are local to western Pennsylvania. If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you know that I rarely care where the school's athletes come from. But Pennsylvania is a hotbed of wrestling talent and it's good to see Peters keep a few of these kids here.
Pitt is no stranger to elite classes and in 2013, had the No. 2 one in the nation. But as with any sport, those are never any guarantees for success and that was proven as the class has largely fizzled out. Racciato was arguably the best guy on the roster, but no longer appears to be with the team. Edgar Bright ran into problems and was dismissed. Nick Zanetta and Cody Weircioch (the top rated guy in that class at No. 11) have both been only a little better than .500 in their careers. Heavyweight Ryan Solomon is probably having the best career of the group remaining and while he's been good with a 31-19 career record, he's probably underachieved a little considering he was the No. 24 recruit in the nation per this site.
Still, while it's no guarantee this class will pan out, you're always better off bringing in the best talent available. And with the No. 11 class, Pitt looks to have added a nice collection of incoming freshmen.