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No. 24 Pitt wrestling crushes Clarion, 39-3

I didn’t give Clarion much of a chance to win tonight as it was and when the announcers mentioned they had five starters out, that pretty much sealed a win tonight. It got pretty ugly pretty quickly and the Panthers cruised to a 39-3 win. Pitt remains unbeaten in duals on the year with a perfect 5-0 record.

Brendon Fenton started things at the 125-pound class and pulled out a sudden victory in overtime to give Pitt a quick 3-0 lead. Sixth-ranked Micky Phillippi continued his excellent season with a dominant 20-5 technical fall to push the lead to 8-0. L.J. Bentley and Robert Lee continued the momentum with quick back-to-back pins, putting Pitt up, 20-0.

Those pins would pretty much tell you what you needed to know about the dual. Bentley and Lee have done some good things but pins by either are pretty rare. The pair had combined for only one all year. The fact that both of them scored them sheds some light on just how undermanned Clarion was.

No. 10 Taleb Rahmani actually got down 2-0 and found himself in a real dogfight. But a reversal and some back points at the end gave him a 9-4 victory, giving the Panthers a 23-0 win.

At 165 pounds Jake Wentzel was defeated, 7-4, to give Clarion its first win. But Gregg Harvey recovered those points with a 7-3 win to make it 26-3. No. 13 Nino Bonaccorsi, as he has all season, looked very good in a 14-5 win to extend the lead to 30-3.

At 197, Kellen Stout, continues to look better than he did last year. At least to me. Stout was eye-popping impressive or anything but he did the job in a workmanlike 5-0 win. Closing things out was No. 13 heavyweight Demetrius Thomas. Thomas got out to a quick lead but then gave up a takedown making things a bit dicey — particularly because he was in danger of giving up some back points on two occasions. But that threat didn’t last long as Thomas took control and pinning his opponent to close out the dual with a 39-3 win.

This is the third straight beatdown applied by Pitt and while the competition hasn’t been terribly impressive, it’s great to see the team winning by these large margins. Don’t discount these wins, folks. In three duals, the team has lost only three individual bouts for a total of ten points. That simply didn’t happen last year, even against the weaker competition and, as I’ve written this year, the program is in much better shape under head coach Keith Gavin this season.

The Panthers now get a break before taking on Oklahoma on Sunday, January 6.

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