March 4, 2012
CLARION, Pa. – The No. 9 Pitt wrestling team successfully defended its EWL Tournament title Sunday at Clarion University, posting numerous highlights and storyline along the way. The Panthers topped second-place Edinboro, 135.5-116.5.
Tyler Nauman made history by becoming Pitt’s first ever four-time EWL champion, Matt Wilps knocked off top-ranked and unbeaten Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro), and P.J. Tasser, a 174-pounder, bumped up three weight classes to qualify for nationals with a third-place finish at heavyweight.
Anthony Zanetta added his third EWL title for the Panthers, while Headlee won for the second time and clinched his fourth trip to the national tournament.
Pitt will send six automatic qualifiers to the national tournament – Zanetta (125), Shelton Mack (133), Nauman (149), Headlee (174), Wilps (197) and Tasser (HWT). They will wait word on at-large berths for a few other wrestlers, including Travis Shaffer (141), Donnie Tasser (157), Tyler Wilps (165), and Andy Vaughan (197).
Matt Wilps was named the EWL Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler following his 6-2 decision over Honeycutt. The Edinboro senior had beaten Wilps twice this season, both times fairly convincingly, but Pitt’s redshirt junior controlled the pace in this one on his way to his second conference title.
Nauman is just the sixth from any school to win four EWL titles. He wrapped up the latest championships with a 3-2 win over Edinboro’s David Habat, a top-ten ranked wrestler. It was the fifth time the two squared off this season, with Nauman winning three times.
With his three wins Sunday, Nauman completed an impressive feat of going undefeated in EWL events in his career, never losing a conference dual meet or a match in the conference tournament.
Headlee won for the second straight year after bumping up one weight from 165 to 174. He recorded falls in his first two matches and blanked Bloomsburg defending champion Mike Dessino 2-0 in the finals.
Zanetta’s championship came over West Virginia’s Shane Young for the third straight year. With two wins, he completed a perfect 8-0 season in EWL competitions.
Tasser was the story going around the tournament crowd most of the day. After weighing in at 188, he was significantly smaller than the rest of the competition. He came up just short in a 1-0 loss to top-seeded Ernest James (Edinboro) to open the tournament, but came back with three straight wins in the consolation bracket. His run included two wins in sudden victory, including a 3-1 decision over Clarion’s Quintas McCorkle in his final match.
Check back soon for even more details of today’s EWL Tournament Championships.
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