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Pitt wrestling dominated by No. 25 North Dakota State, 28-11

Pitt Wrestling Mat

Pitt’s wrestling team has a tough weekend facing No. 25 North Dakota State tonight and No. 18 Oklahoma on Sunday.

Tonight they had a rough showing, losing 28-11, winning only three bouts.

Pitt’s night got off on the wrong foot as L.J. Bentley suffered an injury in the opening 125-pound match. The match was restarted once but Bentley couldn’t continue and that would cost the Panthers six points as not finishing a match is the same as being pinned.

That’s obviously not great news and the fact that he couldn’t continue makes you wonder if he could miss time. Bentley, of course, already missed the first four duals of the season with an injury and now he’s dealing with another one. Freshman Brendan Price was the guy who went in his place earlier this year and he’s 0-4 in duals. If Bentley can’t go on Sunday, we could see Price again.

The Panthers would bounce back, though. At 133 pounds, No. 11 Dom Forys had a good match, winning 10-3, and falling just short of a major decision. No. 17 Nick Zanetta continues to impress at 141 pounds and grabbed a 10-1 major victory, which gave Pitt a brief 7-6 lead. Forys remains undefeated in duals for Pitt this season (3-0) since missing the earlier ones with an injury.

The Panthers would drop a few more, though. Robert Lee lost his bout 9-2 and No. 18 Taleb Rahmani was beaten in what was easily the toughest individual result. Rahmani faced No. 14 Clay Ream and a few issues at the ends of periods cost him a potential victory. Rahmani led 5-3 late in the first period after scoring a late takedown but allowed Ream to escape with only about ten seconds left. That cut it to 5-4 and with the score 7-7 late in the third, he gave up a takedown at the buzzer to lose 9-7.

Pitt has had similar types of lapses quite a bit it seems. Maybe that’s just me having those sorts of things stick out but that just can’t happen. Gregg Harvey did the same thing at the end of the second period with only a few seconds left, giving up a late escape. You’ve got to know the situation and absolutely not give those escapes up so late in periods. There’s a little bit of ‘the other guy’s trying, too’ in that so I don’t want to be totally unfair to those guys. But I’ve seen so many Pitt wrestlers giving up what look to be pretty weak escapes (not including the obvious ones where they cut guys trying to rack up more points). And in the case of the takedown on Rahmani, you definitely can’t give up a takedown like that at the buzzer. Just frustrating all the way around.

That put Pitt behind 12-7 and the bleeding didn’t stop there. Pitt went with Nate Russell at 165 pounds in a bit of a surprise. He was routed, 17-2 in a technical fall, facing a ranked opponent. I’m not sure where Jake Wentzel was but he was listed as the probable starter in the pre-match notes so that wasn’t great to see. Austin Bell then dropped his match at 174, 11-3, and that put Pitt behind, 21-7.

Gregg Harvey had a surprisingly easy time with his match, winning 19-7. It was good to see him back in the win column as he hasn’t won a dual since the opener. That made it 21-11 but would end Pitt’s scoring. Kellen Stout lost at 197 pounds, 8-3, and heavyweight Ryan Solomon was MIA as freshman Cole Rickert was defeated, 16-2, accounting for the final score.

Same old story for Pitt, unfortunately. They just don’t have much firepower outside of the weights where they have ranked wrestlers. Right now, Pitt basically needs those four guys all in and running the table because other help has been scarce. On the dual season, Pitt has gotten only one win from each of the 125, 149, and 197-pound classes, none from 174, and only two from 165 and 184. That won’t cut it because the ranked guys aren’t going to win every bout and you need to be able to compete at more than four classes.

Just a pretty clear lack of talent right now and, without being able to replace some guys that have been struggling, not nearly enough depth.

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