March 16, 2012
SAINT LOUIS - Pitt wrestlers Tyler Nauman and Matt Wilps advanced to the semifinals of the NCAA Division I Championships on Friday at the Scottrade Center. Both Panthers clinched All-American honors with their wins in the quarterfinals.
Nauman (149) and Wilps (197) are both aiming for national titles, and will get the chance to move one step closer when action resumes on Friday night. The semifinals will be aired live on ESPN-U beginning at 7 p.m. EDT.
Nauman secured his spot on the podium with a 9-5 win over No. 3 Cole VonOholen (Air Force), leading from start to finish after scoring five points with a takedown and three nearfall in the first minute of the match. Through three matches this tournament, Nauman has yet to trail his opponents.
Wilps locked up his first All-American honor with a pin in overtime over No. 6 Brent Haynes (Missouri). In the first sudden victory, Wilps had the match won with a takedown, but finished it off with the fall, adding key bonus points that helped the Panthers move into 10th place in the team standings.
Anthony Zanetta (125) advanced to the quarterfinals with an upset over No. 3 Alan Waters (Missouri), but dropped to the wrestlebacks with a 6-3 loss to No. 6 Frank Perrelli (Cornell). He and Shelton Mack (133) need to win one more match tonight to become All-Americans.
Mack began the day in the consolation rounds and stayed alive with a pair of victories. The second win included a wild third period that resulted in Mack winning 12-11 thanks to 1:01 of riding time.
Pitt is one of only nine teams with two or more wrestlers in the semifinals. The Panthers, who haven't finished the NCAA Tournament in the top-10 since 1970, sit ½ point behind American for ninth place and are 1.5 points ahead of 11th-place Oklahoma. Defending national champion Penn State leads the event with 78.5 points, while Cornell is second with 61.5.