After losing last weekend to North Carolina State, PItt's wrestling team (9-5) got things going again with a win against Iowa State (1-10), 22-15.
I didn't get around to a recap for that matchup but the Panthers had a pretty strong showing against the No. 8 Wolfpack, losing 23-15. In fact, Pitt even moved up a spot in this week's rankings despite that loss.
Things against the Cyclones started with the 133-pounders, so we actually finished with the 125-pound match after the heavyweights. 133 pounds was some way to start because it was the best matchup of the night with two top 15 guys. Ranked wrestler Dom Forys got Pitt off to a good start and got some revenge by defeating No. 11 Earl Hall, 6-2. Hall knocked Forys out in last year's NCAA Tournament and, I believe, kept him from All-American status in that bout. To say Dom wanted that match was probably an understatement. Nick Zanetta kept things going with a 9-4 win to put Pitt up 6-0.
Mikey Racciato, though, continued to struggle at 149 pounds. Last week against North Carolina State, he picked up a pin. This week, it was him on the receiving end of a pin to an unranked wrestler. Racciato's up and down season continues, unfortunately. He's still a guy you can count on to be in matches, but is losing enough this season that you can no longer expect to get three points out of him. He's really becoming the definition of a toss-up guy, which is sort of a shame. I love the way that kid wrestles.
The good news is that Pitt got those six points back as Taleb Rahmani scored a pin of his own. I'm really high on Rahmani and he just seems to be getting better and better. I don't know when it will happen but Rahmani has every bit the look of a guy that will be ranked at some point. That kid is more impressive by the week and I don't think it's a stretch at all to consider him the fourth best grappler in the lineup right now.
That put Pitt up 12-6 and the Panthers would just pull away a little from there. Teshan Campbell had yet another dominant match, winning 15-5. And while the inexperienced Donovan McAfee lost his match at 174 pounds, he was going up against an All-American and lost only 2-1. A Zach Bruce win followed as Pitt extended the lead to 19-9. Ryan Solomon won his bout 3-2 and L.J. Bentley lost by that same score to close things up, so they split. Add it all up, and Pitt wins 22-15.
Overall, it was a solid showing from Pitt. Iowa State isn't a good team and Pitt did what they should have. The Racciato pin was disappointing as was Rizzo's loss, since he held a late lead. And ultimately, you want to see Bentley doing better than the slightly better than .500 wrestler he's become. But Pitt came out and had a relatively comfortable win and their top three guys, Forys, Campbell, and Solomon, all carry some momentum in their pursuit of All-American status. Not a bad night as they have a day off before wrestling Virginia on Sunday.