The No. 12 Pitt wrestling team suffered its first loss of the season, falling to No. 4 NC State, 27-6.
The Panthers (3-1) won only two bouts on the day and, well, basically anything that could go wrong did for Pitt. Pitt honestly did not get off to a terrible start. Pitt’s Colton Camacho lost to heavily favored Jakob Camacho at 125 pounds, 13-5, but only gave up a single bonus point, which wasn’t too bad. At 133 pounds, No. 4 Micky Philippi won his bout, but only with a close 4-2 victory over Jarrett Trombley. That made the team score 4-3 in favor of NC State (4-0).
The Match of the Day was at 141 points where we had a ranked matchup of Cole Matthews for Pitt and Tariq Wilson. Matthews nearly pulled off a mini-upset of Wilson, scoring a late takedown but then falling in overtime, 7-5. I honestly thought Matthews did a really nice job in that match. Wilson is just so long and tough to fight off but if they meet again at ACCs, Matthews proved he can hang with him.
At 149, Pitt won somewhat of a tossup bout with Luke Kemerer scoring an important win over Ed Scott to close the gap to 7-6 in favor of the Wolfpack. Kemerer provided one of the top moments of the dual, scoring a late takedown in the final seconds of the third period for a thrilling 3-2 win.
Unfortunately, things went downhill from there.
As expected, freshman Pitt Tyler Badgett was tech falled by Hayden Hidlay, one of the best at 157 pounds. The Panthers suffered another setback at 165 with top ten wrestler Jake Wentzel being upset by Thomas Bullard, who was ranked 17th, 4-3.
Jared McGill lost to Daniel Bullard at 174 points, 6-0, and a ranked Gregg Harvey was overmatched by the younger Hidlay, Trent, at 184 pounds, falling 11-4.
The biggest surprise of the day was Isaac Trumble of NC State handily beating No. 5 Nino Bonaccorsi for Pitt, 6-1. Bonaccori was just manhandled in that one and had no answers. You don’t see him overmatched as much as he was and, that was basically a summary of the dual for Pitt. But just in case they needed further confirmation that it wasn’t their day, they got it when Jake Slinger lost 6-1 to Deonte Wilson at the heavyweight level, ending the dual, 27-6.
Pitt losing to NC State was hardly a surprise, but I figured on seeing a much closer dual, obviously. You expected Nino to win as well as Wentzel. Assuming no bonus points there, that makes it 21-12. Getting any closer than that would have been a challenge. Even things like Badgett and Camacho having closer defeats wouldn’t have helped too much.
What this bout proved is what we already knew, really. This Pitt team is pretty solid but is quite a ways from being elite. They simply don’t have the firepower up and down the weights to be able to beat a team like NC State without serious help. The time will come when Pitt needs to take that next step and put themselves in the conversation with the top teams in the country. But they’re not there yet and, while the program is headed upward, there’s still a good amount of work to be done on the recruiting trail.
Next up for Pitt is a dual on Friday against Virginia.