No. 23 Pitt wrestling team easily sweeps trio of weekend meets

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No. 23 Pitt wrestling team easily sweeps trio of weekend meets

Pitt's LJ Bentley wrestles Davidson's Camden Bertucci on Saturday. Bentley won an 18-6 major decision. John Hamilton | Visual Editor

Pitt's LJ Bentley wrestles Davidson's Camden Bertucci on Saturday. Bentley won an 18-6 major decision. John Hamilton | Visual Editor

Pitt's LJ Bentley wrestles Davidson's Camden Bertucci on Saturday. Bentley won an 18-6 major decision. John Hamilton | Visual Editor

Pitt's LJ Bentley wrestles Davidson's Camden Bertucci on Saturday. Bentley won an 18-6 major decision. John Hamilton | Visual Editor

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

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After going more than two weeks without competition and more than a month without a dual meet, the No. 23 Pitt wrestling team returned to action last weekend and showed no signs of rust at the Pitt Duals.

The Panthers (7-2) rolled to three lopsided nonconference victories at the Fitzgerald Field House Saturday over Franklin and Marshall, Davidson and Bloomsburg. They only dropped two individual matches on the day — both coming in the final dual meet against Bloomsburg — dominating the competition by a combined score of 123-6.

Pitt won all nine matches in the opening dual meet against Franklin and Marshall Saturday morning, adding a 10th victory via forfeit to secure a 46-0 blowout win.

Pitt sophomore LJ Bentley got things started for the Panthers with a 12-2 major decision victory over F&M’s Edgar Garcia at 125 pounds. No. 7-ranked 133-pounder Dom Forys then pinned F&M’s Dan Martoccio in 3:43, and true freshman Taleb Rahmani pinned F&M’s Michael Berkowitz less than halfway through the first period at 157 pounds.

No. 13-ranked 165-pounder TeShan Campbell cruised to a 21-6 victory via technical fall in just 3:20, and Christian Dietrich followed with a 16-0 technical fall in the first period for Pitt at 174 pounds.

After a 12-6 decision win by Donovan McAfee at 184 and a forfeit victory at 197, No. 20 heavyweight Ryan Solomon returned from injury with a 16-1 technical fall over F&M’s Corey Kerkesner in 4:09 to close out the Panthers’ 46-0 win.

Bentley picked up where he left off in the second meet of the day against Davidson, opening things up with an 18-6 major decision against Camden Bertucci. Forys then followed with a 22-7 technical fall in 5:22, and Campbell added a 24-6 technical fall in 4:39.

Dietrich picked up another first-period technical fall at 174, destroying Davidson’s Joe Perino 18-0 in just 2:33. 197-pounder Zach Bruce picked up a technical fall of his own, taking out Davidson’s Ryan Devlin 15-0 in 3:50. Solomon finished Pitt’s 45-0 shutout with a 16-0 technical fall over Davidson’s Will Cooley in 5:36.

The Panthers won their first three matches against Bloomsburg, along with a forfeit win for Forys at 133 pounds, to mount a 15-0 lead. Rahmani then dropped Pitt’s first match of the day, losing a 5-2 decision to Bloomsburg’s Kevin Laubach at 157.

Campbell responded with his third technical fall of the day, routing Bloomsburg’s Reid Stanley 21-6 in five minutes flat. Dietrich had a chance to match Campbell with his third technical fall at 174, but had to fight his way to a 5-4 decision over Bloomsburg’s Trevor Allard instead.

Kyle Murphy gave Bloomsburg its second win of the meet, defeating McAfee by a 3-1 decision in overtime to cut the Panthers’ lead to 23-6. But with only two matches left, the outcome was already decided.

Solomon followed a forfeit at 197 with a 2-0 decision win over Bruce Graeber at 285 to make it official, as the Panthers won by a final score of 32-6.

Pitt will travel to Blacksburg, Virginia, to open up ACC competition against the Virginia Tech Hokies at 7 p.m. Friday, Jan. 20.

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