Panthers tap out early at NCAA championships

Senior Dom Forys finished his career as a Pitt wrestler at this weekend’s NCAA Wrestling Championships. (Photo by Chiara Rigaud | Staff Photographer)

The NCAA Wrestling Championships took place this past weekend at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Pitt was represented by senior Dom Forys, redshirt sophomore Taleb Rahmani and redshirt seniors Nick Zanetta and Ryan Solomon.

Forys and Rahmani provided the only highlights of the Panthers’ tournament, winning each of their first round matchups before falling on the second day of competition. Zanetta and Solomon each fared worse, meeting a quick end with losses in their first round matches.

Day 1

Both Forys and Rahmani advanced out of the first round via pins on the first day of the tournament. Solomon and Zanetta both dropped their first round matches against top-seeded opponents. Solomon fell to reigning champion, olympic gold medalist and top seed Kyle Snyder from Ohio State. Zanetta lost to No. 3 Yianni Diakomihalis of Cornell.

Zanetta was unable to mount a comeback after falling behind early. The match ended in Zanetta losing a major decision 10-1. Like Zanetta, Solomon fell behind early and was not able to catch the top-seeded Snyder.

Forys was matched against Corey Keener from Penn State for the second year in a row, meeting in the opening round of the NCAA tournament. Forys pinned Keener in 4:57 this time out.

Rahmani entered the final frame on top, but was still losing by a score of 3-2. He pinned No. 16 Mike D’Angelo of Princeton at the 5:53 mark, moving him on to the second round.

Day 2

The results were switched on the second day with Solomon and Zanetta winning while Forys and Rahmani both fell to top-ranked opponents.

Forys was matched against No. 6 Scott Parker from Lehigh. Forys already faced Parker in the regular season in a match that he won 7-6, but the result was flipped on Friday. Forys never led in the match and eventually lost in a major decision 7-5.

Zanetta turned in a dominant performance, beating Lock Haven’s Kyle Shoop by 10-1, a major decision. Zanetta proved too much for Shoop, leading throughout the entire match.

Rahmani lost a very close match to No. 1 Hayden Hidlay of NC State, 4-2, in a rematch from the ACC championship. The score was 2-2 heading into the final period, but Hidlay took over the rest of the match, not allowing Rahmani to score another pin.

Solomon finished the day for the Panthers, pinning Central Michigan’s Matt Stencel in 3:51 for the 16th and final pin of his career.  

Day 3

Zanetta was the only Panther to claim victory on the third day of competition. Forys and Rahmani both fell to opponents ranked in the top five while Solomon lost to an unranked opponent.

Forys struck first in his consolation match against No. 5 John Erneste from Missouri with a takedown, but he was eventually pinned at the 3:58 mark. Forys lost his lead and was never able to come back.

Zanetta earned a victory over No. 11 Luke Karam from Lehighhis second victory over Karam this year — by a score of 3-2 in Saturday’s competition.

Zanetta was trailing 2-1 until he used a third-round reverse to score two points and retake the lead in the final frame. Zanetta then had another match after his victory and he lost in a decision to No. 5 Kevin Jack of NC State in a rematch of the ACC championship.

In his consolation match, Solomon lost to Thomas Haines from Lock Haven in a 10-6 decision. He jumped out to an early 4-0 lead, but quickly saw it eviscerated and was never able to retake control of the match.

Rahmani faced returning NCAA finalist No. 2 Joey Lavallee of Missouri in his consolation match and fell behind early. He was never able to decrease the deficit and eventually lost 6-4 by decision.

Zanetta, Forys and Solomon all completed their careers for the Panthers this weekend. In their time at Pitt, Forys posted 89 wins, Solomon had 73 and Zanetta had 71.

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