Winter sports hit home stretch during busy weekend


Photo by Alex Mowrey / Pitt Athletics

Pitt graduate student forward Mouhamadou Gueye (15) defends the ball against Virginia Tech at Saturday’s game at the Petersen Events Center.

By Alexander Ganias, Staff Writer

It was another busy weekend for Pitt athletics. With several winter sports coming into the home stretch of their seasons, the Panthers are looking to make a final push towards their respective postseasons. Here’s how it all went down.

Men’s basketball

Pitt (8-15, 3-9 ACC) started a home-and-home series with Virginia Tech (13-10, 5-7 ACC) on Saturday. The first game took place at the Petersen Events Center, and the Panthers lost to the Hokies 76-71.

The Panthers got off to an abysmal start, specifically on the defensive end. The Hokies torched Pitt to the tune of 49 first-half points, on an eye-popping 18-24 shooting line, including 10-13 from beyond the arc. Pitt couldn’t muster that same firepower, and it left the court at half down 49-22. The downtrodden Panthers almost completely flipped the script in the second half, scoring 49 points of their own, and shaving what was once a 28-point deficit down to three with eight seconds left. But the initial deficit proved too much for them and the Hokies prevailed on the road.

Virginia Tech graduate student guard Storm Murphy finished with 20 points in 28 minutes on 7-10 shooting. For Pitt, sophomore guard Femi Odukale scored a game-high 25 points, and senior guard Jamarius Burton finished with 21 points along with six rebounds.

The Panthers will complete the home-and-home series on Monday, when they face the Hokies on the road. The ACC Network will broadcast the game at 7 p.m.


Pitt (4-4, 2-2 EAGL) hosted a quad-meet on Sunday at the Fitzgerald Field House. It competed against West Virginia (5-3, 0-2 Big 12), Alaska Anchorage (0-8, 0-3 MPSF) and NC State (7-3, 1-2 EAGL). The Mountaineers placed first in the event with a 195.925 total score, followed by the Panthers (195.800), the Wolfpack (194.550) and the Seawolves (191.250).

Pitt first year Hallie Copperwheat placed first out of the six all-arounders with a 39.500 total score, thanks to her finishing first individually in all but one of the four events. Fellow first year Sidney Washington placed fifth in the all-around competition, which included tying Copperwheat for first in the vault with a 9.825 score.

The Panthers won the vault and the uneven bars, while NC State won the beam and West Virginia won the floor.

For its next meet, Pitt will travel to Morgantown, West Virginia, for a tri-meet against the Mountaineers and Texas Woman’s University on Feb. 11 at 7 p.m.

Swimming and diving

A group of Pitt swimmers competed in the Cavalier Invitational over the weekend, its last meet of the regular season. Seven women and four men traveled to the University of Virginia to take part in this event. The other schools that competed were Johns Hopkins, Richmond, James Madison, George Washington, William & Mary and host Virginia.

For the women, junior Maddie London won the 100-yard breaststroke by almost four seconds with a personal-best time of 1:02.91. She also collected a personal best in the 200-yard breaststroke, placing first with a 2:17.77 time. First year Sophie Knepper earned the fastest time in the 200 backstroke with a 1:59.94, the only sub-two-minute time in the event. 

On the men’s side, sophomore Ethan Neff won his first collegiate race with a time of 49.71 in the 100-yard backstroke, while two first years — Paul Lerro and Wesley Kephart — also picked up their first collegiate wins. Lerro won the 100-yard backstroke preliminaries, and Kephart took first the 500-yard freestyle preliminaries.

Up next, the Panthers will compete in the ACC Championships in Atlanta from Feb. 15 to 19.

Track and field

The Panthers traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia, to participate in the Virginia Tech Elite Meet over the weekend. They competed with Virginia, Duke, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Tennessee, Charlotte, East Carolina, Kentucky, VCU and host Virginia Tech.

For the men, junior Clement Campbell placed second in the long-jump with a personal-best 7.41 meters, and graduate student Felix Wolter placed third in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a personal-best 8.14 seconds. First year Finn Walsh finished fourth in the 800 meter race with a personal-best 1:52.05, and fellow first year Luke Henseler collected a personal best of his own with a 8:11.7 in the 3000m, good enough for fourth.

On the women’s side, junior Lydia Bottelier placed second in the high-jump with a final jump of 1.71 meters, and graduate student Abena Atuobi surpassed her personal best from last week with a final toss of 15.8 meters in the shot put, good enough for fifth in the event. The final day of the meet finished with Pitt placing third in the women’s 4 x 400 meter relay, with a school-best 3:43.72 time.

The Panthers will travel to Clemson, South Carolina, for their next meet at the Tiger Paw Invitational. The events will take place from Feb. 11 to 12.


No. 19 Pitt (7-5, 1-2 ACC) took part in two matches over the weekend. The first was a road tilt against No. 24 UNC (8-4, 3-0 ACC) on Friday, which the Panthers lost 19-12. Four Pitt wrestlers won bouts, headlined by redshirt junior Cole Matthews’ win over sixth-ranked UNC graduate student Kizhan Clarke in the 141-pound bout. Redshirt seniors Gage Curry, Jake Wentzel and Nino Bonaccorsi also picked up wins.

The second match came at home against Columbia (2-8, 0-3 Ivy). Due to the gymnastics meet taking place at the Field House, this match took place at the Pete. The Panthers easily defeated the Lions 30-5, winning eight out of the 10 bouts. The highlight came when Matthews pinned Columbia junior Matt Kazimir in just 33 seconds. Pitt junior Jake Slinger finished the match with a 6-0 win over Columbia junior Daniel Conley in the heavyweight bout. 

Pitt will return to the Field House on Feb. 11 when it hosts No. 4 NC State for Pitt’s final home match of the season. ACC Network will broadcast the contest at 7 p.m.