The Pitt wrestling team continued its struggles to open the season, dropping a dual to Clarion on Saturday, 24-20. That puts the Panthers, who started the season ranked in the Top 25, now 1-4 on the year. Clarion had only one ranked wrestler coming in so a loss here was disappointing, to say the least.
Pitt got behind quickly, winning only one of the first four matches. No. 11 Dom Forys dominated his unranked opponent, winning 18-3 via a technical fall. That was the only bright spot, however, as L.J. Bentley, No. 16 Nick Zanetta, and Alex Murray were all defeated to put Pitt down, 9-5. For Bentley, it was his first match of the year.
At 157 pounds, Taleb Rahmani picked up yet another pin, moving the Panthers into the lead, 11-9. A win by Jake Wentzel at 165 pounds put Pitt up 14-9, but it was mostly downhill from there. Both Austin Bell (174 pounds) and Gregg Harvey (184 pounds) were both pinned, and after Kellen Stout lost his match at 197, that put things out of reach. No. 15 heavyweight Ryan Solomon did his job scoring a pinfall, but it was too late and the Panthers lost by four points.
Pitt’s problem is pretty simple right now. They have four pretty good wrestlers and a bunch of question marks. The four can keep them in meets but you’re not going to win in that scenario if you lose too many of the tossups. Guys like Forys, Rahmani, and Solomon can make up some of that with pins or majors but they can’t do everything. Excluding Zanetta, who’s been real good this year, Pitt just needs more from the other guys. The big problem on Saturday were the pins, obviously. You can lose a bout and not kill the team. But what hurts is getting pinned and giving up six points to the other team.
Overall, this isn’t a good year so far for the team. I’ll be writing a little more later, but you can’t lose this dual.
Pitt now travels on the road for another dual Sunday (yes, tomorrow) against Bucknell.