Weekend Sports Recap: Swimming earns victories at NCAA Championships

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Kaycee Orwig | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior Blaise Vera earned First-team All-American honors with his performance in the 50-yard freestyle. He finished in seventh place, earning his team 12 points.

By Jason Glancy, Staff Writer

A double overtime win for men’s soccer and multiple top-10 placements for track and field highlighted this weekend of Pitt sports. Panthers swimming and diving also concluded its season with a 26th-place finish at the NCAA Championships.

Swim and dive

Pitt ended up finishing with 28 points, good for 26th place out of 32 teams, at the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships this weekend.

Senior Blaise Vera highlighted the meet. Vera earned First-team All-American honors with his performance in the 50-yard freestyle. He finished in seventh place, earning his team 12 points. He continued his stellar meet in the 100-yard freestyle, where he finished in 12th. This earned him an honorable mention All-American title and the team another five points.

Junior Cooper Van der Laan, Pitt record holder in the 100-yard breaststroke, capped off the team’s meet with his performance in the same event. He finished in eighth place, winning the Panthers 11 more points. This also earned him First-Team All-American honors.

The University of Texas ended up taking home the NCAA title for the 2020-21 season.

Track and field

The Panthers competed in the Raleigh Relays over the weekend. At the meet, Pitt took home multiple top-10 performances and a first-place finish in the men’s 4×400 meter relay.

In the track events, Pitt finished fifth in the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay. Junior Eddita Pessima placed third in the women’s 100-meter hurdles and fifth in the 400 hurdles. For the men, senior Kollin Smith placed seventh in the 100 hurdles. Also, sophomore Raymond Oriakhi placed seventh in the 400 hurdles while sophomore Matt Thompson placed eighth. In the 200, senior Ade Jones-Roundtree placed sixth. The men’s team finished first in the 4×400 relay with a time of 3:10.56. 

In the field events, senior Noah Walker took home 10th place in the men’s hammer. For the women, senior Abena Atuobi placed second in the shot put. Sophomore Lydia Bottelier also tied for second place in the high jump.

Pitt’s next meet will be the Virginia Invitational starting on Friday in Charlottesville.

Softball

The Panthers’ offensive woes continued this weekend in their four-game series against Syracuse.

In game one, Syracuse held Pitt held to just three hits in a 7-1 loss. Senior shortstop Morgan Batesole had the lone RBI of the game with a single to right field. She drove in redshirt junior Jada Crittendon, who was pinch running.

Game two was the one bright spot of the series as the Panthers finally got some offense going. Pitt outhit Syracuse 10 to nine and committed no errors but ultimately lost 7-4.

The offensive struggles came back in game three as Pitt was shutout 8-0. Syracuse held Pitt to just three hits in comparison to Syracuse’s 10. First-year outfielder and designated hitter Cami Compson had two of those three hits.

In game four, Syracuse’s five-run fourth inning and seventh-inning rally proved too much for Pitt to overcome. Pitt dropped the final game of the series 9-3.

Syracuse’s sweep drops Pitt’s record to 9-18 on the season and 4-13 in conference. The Panthers will look to bounce back in their next game against Louisville on Thursday.

Men’s soccer

Pitt men’s soccer improved its already impressive record this weekend against Virginia Tech.

Pitt took the first lead of the match when sophomore midfielder Valentine Noel scored in period one at 42:03. First-year forward Luke Peperak assisted the goal. Virginia Tech tied it up late at 85:18, sending the game to overtime. Pitt eventually came out on top in double overtime with a goal at 101:25. The game-winning goal went to senior forward Alexander Dexter, and first-year midfielder Filip Mirkovic assisted.

Pitt, already ranked No. 5 in the country, improved its record to 11-2 overall and 7-1 in conference. The Panthers’ next game will be against Notre Dame at home next Saturday.

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