No. 21 Pitt wrestling team foiled by No. 1 Oklahoma State, 39-0


Junior Dom Forys sacrificed his undefeated record against the Cowboys’ Kaid Brock. Wenhao Wu | Senior Staff Photographer

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

For the second season in a row, the Pitt wrestling team failed to win a match against the most accomplished program in the history of the sport — the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

After a 36-0 win for the 34-time national champions at the Fitzgerald Field House last season, No. 1 Oklahoma State (4-0) rolled to victory in all 10 matches Sunday for a 39-0 win over the No. 21 Panthers (3-2) at Gallagher-Iba Arena in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cowboys won three bouts by decision, five by major decision and two more by technical fall.

“I knew it was going to be a big challenge for us, but I hope our guys grow from this experience,” Pitt head coach Jason Peters said in a press release. “We have a good team, but Oklahoma State has a great team, and they exposed our weaknesses today. We will head home and continue to work hard and improve.”

In the opening match, Pitt sophomore LJ Bentley fell via a 12-0 major decision to No. 10 Nick Piccininni at 125 pounds, dropping Bentley’s record to 5-6 on the year and 0-5 in dual meets.

The Panthers’ highest ranked wrestler, junior Dom Forys — ranked No. 8 at 133 pounds entering the match — then put his undefeated record on the line against the Cowboys’ No. 6-ranked Kaid Brock.

Brock took control of the match early with a takedown and a four-point nearfall, and Forys trailed 6-2 after the first period. Forys recorded one more escape but couldn’t narrow the gap and lost a 10-3 decision to fall to 7-1 on the season.

Pitt sophomore Robert Lee had the most challenging matchup against junior Dean Heil, the No. 1 141-pounder in the country and a defending national champion. Lee put up more of a fight than most have against Heil, who is 80-13 for his career. But in the end, Heil emerged with an 11-3 major decision.

Panthers senior Mikey Racciato then dropped a 12-3 major decision to No. 3 Anthony Collica at 149 pounds to push Oklahoma State’s advantage to 15-0. Racciato’s record moves to 5-5 on the year.

At 157 pounds, redshirt freshman Taleb Rahmani nearly scored Pitt’s first win but ended up losing a back-and-forth 12-10 decision to Jonce Blaylock, the Cowboys’ only unranked wrestler in the lineup.

Pitt’s No. 13-ranked 165-pounder TeShan Campbell then used a reversal and a near fall to take an early 6-4 lead against No. 4 Chandler Rogers of Oklahoma State, but Rogers came back with an escape and a takedown in the third period to capture a 10-6 decision. Campbell is now 7-2 on the year.

The Panthers then sent out a pair of true freshmen to try to get on the board, but the Cowboys only added to their lead with a pair of major decisions. Pitt’s 174-pounder Austin Bell lost to No. 4 Kyle Crutchmer, 18-5, while Christian Dietrich dropped a 15-3 major decision to No. 5 Nolan Boyd at 184 pounds.

Bell now sits at 5-5 on the year, while Dietrich falls to 5-7.

Panthers redshirt sophomore Zach Bruce then suffered a 15-0 defeat via technical fall against No. 5 Preston Weigel to drop to 5-5 on the season. In the final match of the day, senior 197-pounder John Rizzo — forced to wrestle up at 285 pounds due to Ryan Solomon’s injury — fell in a 21-6 technical fall to No. 12 Austin Schafer, dropping his record to 2-4.

Pitt will return home to host the West Virginia Mountaineers at the Fitzgerald Field House at 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 11.

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