Gymnastics, men’s basketball return to win column over weekend

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Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

Kellan Stout put Pitt (7-3) up 3-0 over NC State (12-0) at the start, but Pitt eventually fell to NC State 21-12.

By Griffin Floyd, Staff Writer

The weekend in Pitt sports was highlighted by redemption for the gymnastics and men’s basketball squads, while wrestling and women’s basketball fell short of major upsets over ACC foes.

Gymnastics

The Panthers traveled to Washington, D.C., for a quad meet hosted by the George Washington University on Friday. Senior Michaela Burton, who was nearly perfect with a 9.925 on the beam, as well as junior Haley Brechwald (9.850, vault), put out brilliant performances — just two of many powering the team to victory. 

The Panthers (195.700) swept all three opponents, picking up their first conference win over George Washington (195.375) as well as two more over the rival No. 24 West Virginia Mountaineers (194.850) and the William and Mary Griffins (191.425). Entering the weekend 0-3, the sweep has turned the Panthers season around, now with a respectable .500 record and a win over a ranked opponent. Up next is a home meet against the NC State Wolfpack on Saturday, Feb. 8.

Swim and dive

The swim and dive team took part in their final home meet of the season, an exposition match against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Trees Pool on Friday. Although no formal medals were given out, the Panthers won 27 events in a competitive tuneup before the conference championships begin. 

Junior Shahar Menahem accounted for three of those victories on the women’s team, taking first in the 200-meter IM (2:21.93), 200-meter freestyle (2:06.78) and the 200-yard IM (2:04.30) as the teams took advantage of the unofficial status to try their hand at both the professional and collegiate distances. 

On the men’s squad, sophomore Cooper van der Laan won three events as well, the 200-meter breaststroke (2:20.31), the 100-meter breaststroke (1:03.80) and the 100-yard breaststroke (54.53). 

The Panthers will get a week off before competing in the Ohio State Winter Invitational, their final regular season meet. 

Track and field

Pitt’s track and field teams traveled to Happy Valley over the weekend to take part in the Penn State National Open hosted by the rival Nittany Lions. Senior Shyheim Wright won a gold medal in the 60-meter hurdles for the third straight weekend, recording the second best time in school history in doing so (7.67s). Sophomore Eddita Pessima won the same event for the women’s team, breaking the school record as she did so (8.23s).

But it wasn’t only the sprinters getting in on the fun, as the men’s distance medley relay team took first place (9:51.86) as well thanks to the efforts of juniors Josh Higgins and Cobe Wiggins and seniors Drew Glick and Nick Wolk

Next weekend, the Panthers will travel to South Bend, Indiana, for the Meyo Invitational hosted by Notre Dame.

Wrestling

The No. 10 Panthers traveled to Raleigh on Saturday to take on the No. 4 NC State Wolfpack in a clash of ACC titans. Pitt jumped out to an early lead thanks to No. 6 redshirt sophomore Micky Phillipi, but the victory would be one of only four for the team as they went on to lose 20-12. 

Senior heavyweight Demetrius Thomas picked up another victory, and redshirt junior Gregg Harvey provided a highlight as he upset the Wolfpack’s No. 14 Daniel Bullard

The Panthers are now 7-3 on the season and 1-1 in ACC play, and will look to get back on track at home against the Virginia Cavaliers on Friday, Feb. 7. 

Women’s basketball

In a lopsided matchup against No. 14 Florida State in the 13th annual Pink the Pete game, Pitt women’s basketball played close for most of the game before FSU pulled away and won, 66-41.

Men’s basketball 

Pitt men’s basketball captured their first win in the last seven attempts over Miami, 62-57 on Sunday afternoon.

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