Nino Bonaccorsi becomes first Panther to win a national title since 2008


Ian Maule/Tulsa World via AP

Pittsburgh’s Nino Bonaccorsi attempts to take down Rider’s Ethan Laird during a semifinal at the NCAA Division I wrestling championships Friday, March 17, 2023, in Tulsa, Okla.

By Brian Sherry, Assistant Sports Editor

Redshirt senior Nino Bonaccorsi defeated senior Tanner Sloan of South Dakota State 5-3 in the NCAA final on Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma, becoming the first Panther wrestler to win a national title since 2008.

Bonaccorsi had a rough start to the championship match, giving up a takedown in the first period. But he found a burst of energy in the third period, earning a clutch match-winning takedown in the final period.

The 197-pound wrestler began his quest for a national title with three straight wins. Bonaccorsi then defeated No. 4 seed graduate student Ethan Laird of Rider in the semifinal, which earned him a spot in the title match.

Bonaccorsi is the first Panther wrestler to win a national championship since current Pitt head coach — Keith Gavin — captured the crown in 2008.

Bonaccorsi was the only Panther to reach the podium at the national championship. He finished his career at Pitt with two All-American honors and three ACC championships.