Weekend sports: Gymnastics win at home, track dominates on the road

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Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

First-year Ciara Ward competes in the floor exercise.

By Camryn Simons, for the Pitt News

The weekend in Pitt sports was highlighted by resumé-building wins and tight losses. At home, the gymnastics team hosted a victorious tri-meet against Yale and Towson. On the road, the track and field team placed first in several events, wrestling came up short and softball split its weekend in South Carolina.

Maria Doku | Staff Graphic Artist

Wrestling

The wrestling team traveled to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on Friday and lost 22-14 to the No. 8 North Carolina Tar Heels in a top-10 matchup. Although the team captured wins in four weight classes — with three of the wins coming in the final three matches — it was not enough to overcome the Tar Heels’ 22-point lead.

Standout performance from redshirt sophomore Micky Phillippi earned him his 22nd win of the season against redshirt sophomore Jaime Hernandez in a 3-0 shutout.

This loss moves Pitt to 9-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. The Panthers will conclude their regular season next Saturday, Feb. 22, at home against the No. 7 Virginia Tech Hokies. 

Softball

Pitt softball faced Michigan State and Maryland twice this weekend at the ACC/Big Ten Challenge in Clemson, South Carolina. Going 2-2 this weekend, the team’s overall record now sits at 4-5.

The Panthers won 3-2 against Michigan State on Friday. Trailing 1-2 going into the seventh inning, they managed to take the lead, thanks to junior Morgan Batesole, who hit a two-out single that drove in first-year Hope Alley. Junior pitcher Brittany Knight had a career-high of nine strikeouts.

Pitt won its first game the following morning against Maryland 8-5. Tied 5-5 going into the fifth inning, singles from sophomore Hannah Bach and juniors Morgan Batesole and Hunter Levesque gave the Panthers a 7-5 lead. In the sixth inning, a single from Alley drove in senior Kaitlyn Kruger to advance their lead to 8-5.

In their second meeting with Michigan State, Pitt’s pitching couldn’t cover for sluggish offense. Although they started out the game with a double from Kruger to score sophomore outfielder Katlyn Pavlik, Pitt could not stop scoring efforts from Michigan State, who quickly took the lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Panthers were outscored 9-2 over the remainder of the frame.

In the following game, Pitt closed the ACC/Big Ten Challenge with a narrow loss against Maryland. Junior LoLo Sanchez stole third and advanced to home plate after a throwing error in the first inning to give the Panthers their first run, but the Terrapins grew their lead to 4-1 in the second inning. Pitt responded with a leadoff home run from senior Connor McGaffic and two more scores to tie up the game 4-4 in the bottom half of the frame.

The Panthers took a 9-6 lead in the fifth inning, but couldn’t close out Maryland, who tied up the game in the sixth inning and scored an additional run in the seventh inning to win 10-9.

The Panthers will continue their season next weekend with a Friday bout against UMass in Greenville, North Carolina.

Gymnastics

Panthers gymnastics notched an impressive victory at a tri-meet at home on Saturday, winning against both Towson and Yale. Pitt recorded its third-highest overall score of 194.700, followed by Towson with a score of 193.200 and Yale with a score of 193.050.

The Panthers won four out of five possible individual titles with senior Alecia Petrikis winning vault (9.850) and floor (9.900) and senior Michaela Burton winning uneven bars (9.775) and beam (9.875).

As a team and as individuals, Pitt achieved many season-best and career-best scores. The team recorded its season-best scores on vault at 48.975 and on floor at 49.275.

This win puts the Panthers back above .500 at 5-4 overall and 2-3 in conference play. The Panthers will host the final home meet of the season against West Virginia on Friday, Feb. 21.

Track and field

Pitt track and field traveled to Kent, Ohio, for the Doug Raymond National Qualifier on Friday and Saturday.

On Friday, junior Daveon Finley earned first in the men’s 60m hurdles event (8.18s). In the women’s events, sophomore Eddita Pessima also earned first for the 60m hurdles (8.32s).

In the 200m dash, junior Nikki Scherer took first place (24.41s). In the distance medley relay, juniors Monica McNeil and Ally Brunton and sophomores Brenda Ayuk and Devon Hoernlein took home first place (11:31.18). For the second time this season, senior Taylor Middleton took first in the long jump (19’10.25”).

On Saturday, even more Panthers placed first. Junior Lonzell Feagin earned first in the 400m dash (48.13). Junior Greg Lauray placed first in the high jump (7’0.25”). Sophomore Brenda Ayuk came in first in the 800m dash (2:13.56).

With a resounding win decided by more than three seconds, sophomores Sydni Townsend and Flora Ahiarakwe and juniors Alexis Leech and Nikki Scherer took first place in the 4x400m relay.

The track and field team will travel to Wake Forest University next weekend to compete in the JDL DMR Invitational.

Maria Doku | Staff Graphic Artist

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