Weekend sports: records set on the track, in the pool


Thomas J. Yang

Sophomore swimmer Shan Hochkeppel placed second in the 100-meter backstroke. (Photo by Thomas Yang | Visual Editor)

By The Pitt News Staff

Though Pitt athletics experienced a few bright spots this weekend — which included record-setting performances and wins — there were usual losses for Pitt’s struggling teams.

While both Pitt men’s and women’s basketball suffered double-digit defeats at home and wrestling lost a grapple to a ranked team, track and field took home the gold and swimming and diving closed out the season with wins.

Wrestling — Michael Nitti, for The Pitt News

The Pitt wrestling team hit the mats, losing 26-10 to No. 25 North Carolina Friday in Chapel Hill, dropping to 2-8 overall and 1-3 in the ACC.

The Panthers started off strong, winning the first two matches, but they proceeded to win just one more match by the end.

The only wins Pitt managed to get were from junior LJ Bentley, senior Dom Forys and redshirt first-year Jake Wentzel. Forys had the sole major decision, winning his match 9-1, while Bentley and Wentzel won their matches 8-2 and 7-3, respectively.

Though the team won a few close matches, head coach Keith Gavin sees room to improve.

“We lost three overtime matches tonight and that’s frustrating,” Gavin said in a press release. “We did some good work but were inconsistent and didn’t close out matches.”

The Panthers set their sights on next Friday, Feb. 2, as they host No. 6 NC State at 7 p.m.

Track and Field — Cale Berger, for The Pitt News

Pitt track and field traveled to South Carolina this weekend for the Bob Pollock Invitational at Clemson University. It was a successful trip, with both individuals and teams claiming wins.

The Panthers were dominant on Friday, taking first in three separate distance events. Junior Miranda Salvo ran her personal best, winning the women’s mile with a time of 4:47.21, while senior Melanie Vlasic won the 5000m with a personal record of her own at 17:22.07.

The men’s distance medley relay team also took first place with a winning time of 9:53.61. The Panthers also earned second place finishes in the women’s distance medley relay and 5000m.

Saturday was a relatively quiet day for the Panthers, but they still found a way to make history. Sophomore Dante Watson set a school record in the 600m by running a 1:18.17, besting the previous record of 1:18.26 set by Desmond Palmer just over a year ago.

Adding to Watson’s career day, junior Gillian Schriever took second place in the women’s 3000m with a time of 9:39.58.

Pitt’s next stop is at Notre Dame next weekend, where they are set to compete in the Meyo Invitational. Watson and the Panthers will look to build on their strong performances this weekend, as they work towards the ACC Indoor Track and Field Championships at the end of February.

Gymnastics — Cale Berger, for The Pitt News

Pitt gymnastics visited East Lansing, Michigan, for their first quad meet of the season at Michigan State University this past Saturday. As the Panthers attempted to crack the top 25 rankings, they received key performances from senior Catie Conrad and sophomore Deven Herbine.

Conrad and Herbine shined for the Panthers, winning individual titles on beam and vault. Conrad recorded an individual score of 9.850 on beam, with Herbine’s 9.825 on vault including her in a five-way tie for the top mark.

The individual successes of Conrad and Herbine, however, were not enough for the Panthers, as they finished fourth with an overall score of 193.125. Michigan State finished first, followed by Eastern Michigan and Rutgers, respectively.

Pitt will be back at the Fitzgerald Field House on Saturday, Feb. 3, for a quad meet that will feature Towson, Temple and NC State.

Swimming and Diving — Michael Nitti, for The Pitt News

It was an eventful weekend for the Panthers as they hosted the 2018 Western Pennsylvania Invitational — their last meet of the season. Swimming and diving both asserted their dominance with successful performances all around.

Senior Meme Sharp set a school record on Friday, scoring a 337.45 on six dives. The previous record, also held by Sharp, was set in 2016 when she scored a 327.08.

Along with Sharp, the rest of the women’s diving team impressed, as several divers had top five finishes in their events, including first-year Lydia Rosenthall, sophomore Krista Jones and sophomore Cortnee Williams.

On the men’s side, first-year Noah Mable won both the 3-meter and the 1-meter.

Pitt came out victorious in the swimming portion on Saturday as well, winning 26 out of 28 events. The most notable individual feat of the day came from sophomore Madelyn Shaffer, as she her time of 1:59:20 in the 200-yard fly broke Pitt’s record, previously held for more than a decade. Shaffer became the first woman in school history to finish the event in under two minutes.

The Panthers closed out the season strong, as the men finished with an 8-3 dual meet record, while the women finished with a 15-2 dual meet record.

With the ACC Championships just two weeks away for the women and three weeks away for the men, the Panthers will have some time to prepare before they head down to Greensboro for the competitive meets.

Senior Guard Jared Wilson-Frame (0) attempts a layup during Pitt’s 60-55 loss to Syracuse. (Photo by Chiara Rigaud | Staff Photographer)

Men’s Basketball — Trent Leonard, Staff Writer

The Pitt men’s basketball team seemed closer than ever to winning its first ACC game of the season after Wednesday’s close loss to NC State. The Panthers came into Saturday’s home game looking to amend the late-game mistakes that cost them their previous match.

Instead, Pitt (8-14 overall, 0-9 ACC) once again failed to make shots in the late minutes and fell to Syracuse (15-6 overall, 4-4 ACC), 60-55, for its ninth straight loss in the ACC.

“We got a lot of good opportunities,” junior guard/forward Jared Wilson-Frame said. “We just got in a shooting slump in the second half. Guys who usually make shots, myself included, just couldn’t hit tonight.”

The Panthers battled with the Orange for the majority of the contest, but made just two of their last fifteen shots from the field in what was one of their worst shooting performances of the season. Pitt shot 28 percent from the field and 26 percent from the three as the team struggled against Syracuse’s notorious 2-3 zone.

Read the full recap here.

Women’s Basketball — Dominic Campbell, Staff Writer

With more than 2,000 fans in a sea of pink in support of a cure for breast cancer, the Pitt women’s basketball team fell 58-46 to No. 18 Duke in the 11th annual Pink the Peterson game.

“It’s fun when you have all those people there. And today it was bigger because it wasn’t just for us, it wasn’t just about us,” sophomore guard Jasmine Whitney said. “It was fun to play. First half was a little slow, but second half we kept them in it. It just gave us energy.”

The Panthers’ (9-13 overall, 1-8 ACC) strong comeback in the second half was not enough to upset the Blue Devils (17-5 overall, 6-3 ACC). This marks the fourth loss in a row for Pitt in the ACC and the team now sits dead last in the conference with only one win.

Read the full recap here.

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