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Forys, Racciato headline strong Keystone Classic performances

By Jeff Carpenter / Staff Writer

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Dom Forys and the Pitt wrestling team were looking for a rebound, and that’s exactly what they earned.

After falling to No. 10 Lehigh on Friday, 27-7, Pitt Wrestling took the Keystone Classic by storm, finishing first after accumulating 132 points at the Palestra in Philadelphia on Sunday.

 Forys and junior Mikey Racciato both finished on top in their respective weight classes at 133 and 141 pounds, respectively. The Panthers (3-1) worked key performances throughout, as nine wrestlers placed fifth or higher in their fields. Pitt head coach Jason Peters said it was important to move on from the loss to Lehigh.

“I’m proud of the way the guys pulled together as a team after a tough loss Friday night,” Peters said.

Pittsburgh battled the University of Pennsylvania program, as well as Northwestern, Indiana, Drexel, Rider, Bloomsburg, Harvard, Franklin and Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Appalachian State, VMI and Sacred Heart in the tournament.

The tournament, which lasted 13 hours, showcased Pittsburgh’s strength and endurance as a program, and prepared the team for future tournaments on the schedule. After finishing 21st last year in the NCAA Championships, the Panthers pushed past other strong programs like Northwestern, Indiana and Rider.

Forys emerged victorious in all five contests. He dispatched Dom Gallo of VMI, 23-8, and Timothy Johnson of Sacred Heart, 12-3. After a 10-3 decision over Harvard’s Jeffrey Ott, Forys topped Robert Deutsch of Rider, 11-6, to make the finals of the 133-pound weight class.

A year removed from a title in last year’s tournament, Forys faced off against David Pearce of Drexel in the finals. Forys came out on top over Pearce, by a 9-6 decision.

With the victory, the returning NCAA qualifier Forys became a champion in the Keystone Classic for the second straight year. In 2014, as a freshman, Forys came out on top in the 125 lbs weight class.

Racciato continued the momentum shortly after, becoming Pittsburgh’s second top finisher on the day. After earning a bye to start, Racciato topped Jimmy Morris of Rider, A.J. Vindici of Penn and Franklin and Marshall’s Rick Durso by scores of 20-5, 15-5 and 7-5, respectively.

Racciato then topped Harvard’s Todd Preston in a tight matchup, garnering a 3-2 decision in order to win the 141-pound weight class.

The Panthers’ quality showing came from strong performances by more than just Forys and Racciato, though. Redshirt freshman Jake Gromacki and redshirt sophomore Ryan Solomon both finished second in their respective weight classes of 125 and 285 lbs. Redshirt senior Ronnie Garbinsky (157), redshirt sophomore Cody Wiercioch (165) and redshirt senior Nick Bonaccorsi (197) all finished third in their field, while a duo of freshmen, LJ Bentley (125) and TeShan Campbell (174), finished fifth.

Peters said he was pleased with the depth of strong performances, and added that it was a nice tune up before the rest of the season gets underway.

“It was a long weekend, and I feel we got better. We have a long way to go and a lot of improvements to make, but we are eager to get back to work,” Peters said. “I’m looking forward to our home opener with Edinboro and Wisconsin.”

The Panthers next dual match is the Midland Championships, which will take place in Evanston, Illinois, on Dec. 29 and 30, hosted by Northwestern University.

Pitt’s next match comes Dec. 10 at the Fitzgerald Field House, when it hosts Edinboro University.

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Forys, Racciato headline strong Keystone Classic performances