Grading Pitt Athletics teams for the 2022-23 year


Ethan Shulman | Senior Staff Photographer

Pitt volleyball players huddle up during a game against NC State on Sept. 25.

By Jermaine Sykes, Senior Staff Writer

While the 2022-23 school year had its ups and downs for Pitt students, Pitt Athletics saw its fair share of ebbs and flows as well. Some teams prospered and achieved success to the highest degree, while others failed to live up to their expectations.

Students sometimes feel that their final grades aren’t fair. Some professors have different strategies for grading. But for Pitt Athletics, the grading criteria is simple. Teams are graded on how they performed this year compared to their expectations coming into their respective seasons. 

Volleyball: A+

Every student needs a course that will boost their GPA. But volleyball is far from an “easy A.” Volleyball is not only the best-performing sport in Pitt Athletics, but they have cemented themselves as one of the best volleyball programs in the country. 

The Panthers returned to the final four for the second consecutive year before falling to Louisville 3-2

No matter the result, Pitt volleyball continues to meet its lofty expectations and deserves its grade. But the only way they’ll be happy is by achieving the one thing that continues to elude them — a national championship in 2024.

Football: B

After a successful 11-3 season in 2021, including winning their first-ever ACC championship, the Panthers did not repeat the same success in 2022. The Panthers finished 9-4 and did not return to Charlotte, North Carolina, for the ACC championship game. 

Their grade is less about their win-loss record, and more about their lofty expectations coming into the season. Senior quarterback Kedon Slovis transferred from USC and looked to fill the shoes of Kenny Pickett, and he failed mightily. 

Embarrassing losses such as Georgia Tech and Louisville put this season in jeopardy of getting an F grade, but five wins in a row to end the season salvaged an almost disastrous 2022 for the Panthers.

Men’s Soccer: A

Pitt men’s soccer continued their streak of three straight years of deep runs in the College Cup tournament by reaching the final four. The Panthers fell to Indiana 2-0, though, ending their season just a game short of the National Championship.

Men’s soccer is one of Pitt’s best programs, but they fall short of an A+ grade because of their subpar regular season performance, which left them unseeded in the College Cup tournament. A better regular season performance may have gifted the Panthers a better matchup in the final four. Still, the Panthers should be proud of their success. 

Women’s Soccer: B+

A Sweet 16 appearance in 2022 landed Pitt women’s soccer a B+ on the Pitt Athletics report card. The Panthers started the season 11-1, including upset road wins over Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

The Panthers won just 11 games in 2021. Their massive improvement in 2022 is the reason for their grade. However, a tough 3-0 loss to Florida State in the Sweet 16 holds the Panthers back from an A- or higher.

Wrestling: A

Group projects are a vital part of Pitt’s curriculum. Most students have joined a group where they had to carry the weight of the group, or another group member bore the burden of the group. 

Senior Nino Bonaccorsi didn’t carry the weight of Pitt wrestling, but his contribution to the team in 2022-23 placed him in elite company. Bonaccorsi became Pitt’s 17th national champion with his unbeaten season at 197 pounds. 

A third-place team finish, along with senior Cole Matthews’ victory at 141 pounds at the ACC championship, helped the Panthers solidify their A grade.

Swim and Dive: C-

In the pool, the 2022-23 swim and dive team disappointed. The Panthers finished 11th at the ACC championships, and 33rd at the national championships. 

All isn’t bad for the Panthers — 15 women and 14 men made their respective All-ACC academic honors. 

Gymnastics: D+

A 10-15 record in 2023 leaves the Panthers with a passing grade. Sophomore Hallie Copperwheat continued the elite start to her career, breaking the program record with four EAGL Gymnast of the week honors.

But the team finished last in the EAGL Championship. Copperwheat’s individual accomplishments don’t outweigh the lackluster team performance, and their grade reflects that.

Men’s Basketball: A-

The story wrote itself. After a season full of roster turnover, the Panthers ranked No. 14 in the ACC preseason polls and head coach Jeff Capel’s future as head coach looked bleak. 

But the Panthers won 24 games in 2022-23, their most since the 2012-13 season. Two NCAA tournament wins put the cherry on top of an already sweet season. 

Women’s Basketball: F

An 11 win season in 2021-22 disappointed Pitt women’s basketball. To follow that season up with a 10 win season — with only three wins in the ACC — gives Pitt women’s basketball an F grade for the 2022-23 season. 

The Panthers have a new leader heading into 2023-24 after the firing of head coach Lance White. Luckily for them, an F grade is the lowest grade a team can receive, and they hope to rebound next season.

Lacrosse: C- (In Progress)

Pitt’s youngest varsity program is still in its growth period, and their grade reflects that. Lacrosse is only in its second season as a varsity sport, so a 4-11 record isn’t surprising. Still, you’d like to see the Panthers improve, which isn’t the case.

For their youth, I’m giving the Panthers a generous grade. But next year is an important year for the program and its development.

Baseball: C (In Progress)

At 16-18, the Panthers’ grade should be lower. But over the past weekend, the Panthers took a road series from No. 7 Virginia. Inconsistency is the Panthers’ issue, especially on the pitching staff.

Still, road victories over a top 10 team show the Panthers’ potential, which gives them a C grade, but this grade is incomplete until the end of the season. 

Softball: B (In Progress)

Pitt softball won just 14 games in 2022, losing 11 of their last 12 contests. At 19-19, the 2023 season is a vast improvement.

Maintaining their B grade depends on how they finish the season.

Overall Pitt Athletics GPA: 2.65 GPA for the 2022-23 school year

A 2.65 GPA for Pitt Athletics isn’t bad by any means. If the Panthers can improve their women’s basketball and gymnastics programs, and continue their dominance in volleyball and wrestling, Pitt’s Athletic GPA will be even higher in 2023-24.