Wrestling: Pitt wins 2 of 3 against tough competition

By Mike Furlong

In college, bonus points are usually a good thing. In college wrestling, they are only good if… In college, bonus points are usually a good thing. In college wrestling, they are only good if they’re in your favor.

The Pitt wrestling team took home two wins this weekend thanks to bonus points, but fell in its third contest because the other team was the beneficiary of bonuses.

The No. 14 Panthers headed to the Journeyman Northeast Duals at Hudson Valley Community College on Saturday, where they improved their record to 4-3 on the season by recording victories over Penn and No. 21 Virginia and a loss to No. 10 American.

“It was a good team effort,” head coach Rande Stottlemyer said. “We wrestled some very good competition and the guys responded pretty well. We were disappointed we couldn’t pull in the win against American, but we were right there and we believe we were the better team.”

“All around, we didn’t do our absolute best,” redshirt senior heavyweight Ryan Tomei said. “We just didn’t wrestle as good as we should have. It was good we got the two wins but I expect more of this team.”

The Panthers started the day with a 16-15 victory over Penn. The Panthers were able to come out on top in a back-and-forth match with both teams claiming five victories. Bonus points coming from redshirt sophomore Donnie Tasser’s 13-0 major-decision victory over Tom Timothy made the difference in the match.

Saturday marked the return of All-American Tyler Nauman from an injury. He won his first dual-meet match of the season with a 4-2 decision over Zack Kemmerer.

“It was big to get Nauman back from his injury,” Stottlemyer said. “He wrestled hard after being out for a few weeks and was able to win us a couple of bouts out there.”

Sophomore Dane Johnson picked up a 4-0 victory at 149 pounds over Andrew Lenzi.

After Tasser’s major decision win at 157 pounds, the Panthers won again at 184 pounds with freshman Max Thomusseit taking his match 10-7.

In the heavyweight class, Tomei walked on the mat with the Panthers down by a score of 15-13. Tomei pulled in a dominating 8-2 decision over Kyle Cowan to give the Panthers a 16-15 come-from-behind victory.

In the next matchup of the day, the Panthers pulled in a 21-15 victory over Virginia. Pitt and Virginia split the match with five victories each, but the two falls recorded by Nauman and Tomei for the Panthers made the difference.

Nauman’s fall at 141 pounds evened the score at 6-6 after Virginia recorded victories at 125 pounds and 133 pounds.

After Johnson fell in overtime at 149 pounds, the Tasser brothers — Donnie and P.J. — recorded back-to-back victories at 157 pounds and 165 pounds. P.J.’s 8-5 decision at 165 pounds over Charles Miller was his first dual-meet victory of his redshirt freshman season.

At 174 pounds, redshirt junior Ethan Headlee dropped his second match of the day to a ranked opponent with a 5-2 loss at the hands of Chris Henrich, who is ranked No. 2 in the nation.

After a loss at 184 pounds, junior Zac Thomusseit evened the score at 15-15 with a 5-1 decision over Mike Salopek.

With the score all tied up, Tomei closed out the second comeback victory of the day with a fall at the 2:04 mark of the first period over John Danilkowicz.

“I went out there a lot more relaxed this time around,” Tomei said. “I try to go out every match and win. When these matches come down to me, I like it because I know I shouldn’t be losing many matches.”

In the final match of the day the Panthers dropped a 21-19 meet to American. The match was also an even five-contest split, but this time bonus points went against the Panthers with the Eagles pulling in a fall and a five-point technical fall.

“We gave up some bonus points we shouldn’t have,” Tomei said. “We got ourselves into a hole and we were able to get it to within two, but it just wasn’t enough. If we wrestle our best we beat that team.”

At 125 pounds Anthony Zanetta picked up his first win of the day with a 12-6 decision over Thomas Williams.

The Panthers dropped the next five matches, which included Johnson’s fall to American’s Ganbayar Sanjaa, who is ranked 14th in the country, and a five-point technical fall by Donnie Tasser to the nation’s top-ranked Steve Fittery.

The Panthers attempt to mount a comeback fell just short after four straight victories between 174 pounds and the heavyweight class.

Headlee started the comeback attempt with a fall at 1:34 in the first period over Phillip Barreiro.

Thomusseit followed up with a 15-5 major-decision victory over Thomas Barreiro.

Zac Thomusseit pulled in an 8-6 decision win over Daniel Mitchell, bringing the Panthers within five points leading into the heavyweight bout.

“Both Thomusseit brothers did a pretty good job for us on Saturday,” Stottlemyer said. “They both won two matches and they wrestled hard and looked pretty good.”

At heavyweight, Tomei took down another ranked opponent, defeating No. 3 Ryan Flores by a score of 6-4. Despite Tomei’s win, the Panthers came up just short against the Eagles.

“If I had to pick an outstanding guy from the weekend it’s got to be Tomei,” Stottlemyer said. “Tomei won all three of his matches and beat another top-ranked guy and looked impressive during the bouts.”

The Eastern Wrestling League agreed with Stottlemyer. Tomei was named the EWL Wrestler of the Week for his performance.

The Panthers will take to the mats again this weekend at the Penn State Open in State College.

“The opens are good to get into,” said Stottlemyer. “The guys might get a chance to wrestle five or six matches in a day. We’ll see how it goes because it will be the fifth weekend in a row that we’ve been wrestling.”

Editor’s Note: Donnie Tasser writes for The Pitt News.

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