February 2014 Archives
By RJ Sepich
In his first season as head coach of the Pitt wrestling team, Jason Peters led the Panthers to an undefeated dual meet record in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the outright regular season conference championship.
With the Pitt wrestling team ranked No. 10 in the nation heading into the ACC Tournament at Virginia Tech on Saturday, March 8, we sat down with Coach Peters to discuss winning the ACC Dual Meet Championship and his hopes for the Panthers in the postseason at the ACC and NCAA Championships.
Q: After setting the goal at the beginning of the season to win an ACC Championship, how good did it feel to achieve that after beating North Carolina last Saturday?
JP: Anytime you can win a championship it's exciting. It was great to see our guys embrace the goal throughout the season and put in the work necessary to achieve that goal. We have great assistant coaches that helped us do it as well. We're still getting ready for the conference tournament now, so we can't celebrate too soon. We've got to stay focused on what we're trying to do every day at practice: get better at wrestling. Hopefully we can carry that success into the postseason.
Q: How exciting was it to win a championship in your first season as head coach?
JP: Yeah, it's pretty cool. I don't know if it matters if it's in my first year or not - any time you win a championship, it's exciting. Championships are championships. I enjoyed the championships we won during my 10 years as an assistant coach here. It's exciting and fun to win championships. It's been good to continue the winning tradition of Pitt wrestling.
Q: And being the first team on campus to bring back an ACC Championship to Pittsburgh, is that something you take pride in as a program?
JP: That's definitely pretty neat. We talked about it as a staff and team that no one will ever have the opportunity to do this again. We won't have another first year in the ACC, so we wanted to make the most of it. And we were fortunate enough to bring the first ACC trophy back to Pittsburgh, which is pretty cool.
Q: Did it feel good to show the other ACC programs that your team more than belonged in this traditionally tough wrestling conference?
JP: Yeah, it felt great. I think they knew we were coming to wrestle when we joined the conference. And we did a good job of following through and winning a championship. Now we want another one at the ACC Tournament.
Q: Now heading to that ACC Tournament next weekend, does the points system that rewards pins, technical falls and major decisions affect the way your guys wrestle?
JP: In the postseason, you can get points for winning big, but you also get points for how well you place in your weight class at the tournament. We have a few guys vying for top seeds and competing for individual championships. The format may be different, but not much changes with what we're trying to do. We're going to work really, really hard to prepare to win as many bouts as we can. If we can do that and win the close contests like we did in the dual meets, we can win another trophy at the ACC Tournament and send seven or eight guys to the NCAA Championships.
Q: With five guys on the team who won Eastern Wrestling League individual championships, how important is it to have that kind of experience heading into the postseason?
JP: It's great to have guys who won early in their careers and still have an opportunity to win more championships towards the end of their careers. Anytime you have several guys who've had success in Division I wrestling that can help mold and lead the underclassmen, that can only help your program. We have guys who've won individual championships that want to win more, but we also have guys like Edgar Bright who want to win their first individual championship as a freshman. It's nice to have that balance of experience and youth.
Q: Finally, in wrestling, these guys work so hard for their entire careers for a chance to get on the podium as an All-American at Nationals and to compete for a national championship. What will you tell your guys that qualify for NCAAs before they go out onto the mat for that opportunity of a lifetime?
JP: We want to finish strong and add to the great history Pitt has built in wrestling. I believe the sky's the limit for our team. The goal is to win. That's what I've told them from the first day of practice, and that's what I'll tell them at NCAAs. That committed mindset of winning that everyone has here - the coaches and wrestlers - gives us a good chance at having success.
Pitt's Aaron Donald, Tom Savage and Devin Street have been in Indianapolis the last few days representing the Panthers at the 2014 NFL Combine. The trio have been impressive, to say the least. Pitt Live Wire has compiled below a few of the highlights from the coverage. Donald, Savage and Street will now look forward to Pitt's Pro Day on March 3 and the NFL Draft, held May 8-10 in New York City.
Donald's Dominance Should Pay Off (Steelers.com) * VIDEO
Aaron Donald measures up to Jadeveon Clowney
Donald's 40-yard Dash (NFL.com video)
Aaron Donald vs. Ndamukong Suh in the 40-yard dash (NFL.com video)
2014 NFL combine: Pitt's Aaron Donald -- not Clowney -- big winner (CBSSports.com)
Aaron Donald's also opening eyes with his 40 (profootballtalk.com)
Aaron Donald and Devin Street on Trib Live Radio
NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock calls former Rutgers QB Tom Savage a draft 'wild card' (The Star-Ledger)
Inside the NFL Combine: Street, Robinson try to catch on (Timesonline.com)
Just Like Geno (SI.com)
Aaron Donald Meets with the Media (StLouisRams.com)
Aaron Donald: Scouting Combine Results and Instant Reaction (Bleacher Report)
Pitt DT Donald owning pre-draft process. What's not to like besides lenght? Productive, dominated Sr. Bowl and elite workout #'s to match!-- Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 24, 2014
"@RapSheet: As impressive as Clowney's 40 was, Pitt DT Aaron Donald's 4.65 at 285 may be just as impressive." THIS. And was productive.-- Pete Thamel (@SIPeteThamel) February 24, 2014
35 bench press reps later and I'm officially on the Aaron Donald bandwagon.-- Chicago Bears Draft (@ChiBearsDraft14) February 23, 2014
Best QB in 2nd group was Tom Savage. Has a gun for arm. #NFLCombine-- Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) February 23, 2014
A few Pitt student-athletes stopped to take a photo with newly-appointed Chancellor Elect Dr. Patrick Gallagher. Left to Right: Audrey Ann Blakely (tennis), Stephane Pierre (men's soccer), Kimmy Borza (tennis), Chancellor Elect Dr. Patrick Gallagher, Jocelyn Lu (tennis), Kevin Fielder (men's soccer), Matt Galambos (football), Ryan Winslow (football).
The 25th-ranked Pitt
men's basketball team welcomes
in No. 1-ranked Syracuse to the Petersen Events Center on Wednesday night at
7 p.m., for an ESPN broadcast.
The Panthers have had quite an impressive record against highly-ranked teams at the Petersen Events Center including a perfect 9-0 record against the top 5 and 13-1 vs. top-10 teams.
The game is sold out, including standing room only tickets and fans are reminded that you are able to pass along your tickets to friends and family, sell them online or donate to a charity if you are unable to attend through the Panthers' digital ticketing system. The Panthers Ticket Office opens 2.5 hours prior to tipoff for each game and will call and game day ticket sales (if available) are located at the outside windows at the front of the building.
Digital Ticketing | Print-At-Home | Ticket Transfers | Ticket Reprints | StubHub | Electronic Donations
Travel/Parking/Gate Information: Gates at the Petersen Events Center will open 1.5 hours prior to tip-off for Pitt Men's Basketball games. For Atlantic Coast Conference games with a tip-off of 6:00 p.m. or later, Club Season Ticket Holders may enter 2 hours prior to tip-off at Concourse C. Men's basketball parking lots open 2 hours prior to tip-off. Additionally, a free shuttle service begins operation to Soldiers & Sailors, Kaufmann Garage and O'Hara Garage 2 hours prior to tip-off and will remain operating 30 minutes after tip-off for Men's Basketball games.
For all ACC men's basketball contests with a tip-off of 6 p.m. or later, the Campus View Club will open two hours prior to tip-off. For ACC games with a tip-off earlier than 6 p.m., the club will open 90 minutes prior.
Additionally, the ACC Champion Pitt Wrestling team will be recognized during the first half for their achievements this year and for becoming Pitt's first winner of an ACC title.
Download the official Pitt Athletics app on your iPhone, iPad or Android for free, and follow along with the game on gametracker, check out rosters and the upcoming schedule, or browse the numerous other features. Fans can also access live audio and video with a paid, in-application upgrade.
For additional information on all men's basketball game day reminders, visit Game Day Central.