Nov. 5, 2012
PITTSBURGH - The Pitt wrestling team began its 2012-13 season in impressive fashion with returning All-American senior Matt Wilps pinning Penn State's Quentin Wright at the 47th NWCA All-Star Classic on Saturday evening. In addition, six grapplers took home individual crowns at the Knight Point Open on Sunday.
Wilps started the weekend for the Panthers with a late pin fall victory over Wright. The two returning All-Americans were locked in a back-and-forth contest as they entered the final period tied at 6-6. Wilps chose down to begin the third and quickly scored a reversal and two near fall points. Wright did not give up and scored a takedown to cut the lead to 10-8. With time expiring Wright took a shot at an inside trip to try to tie the score but Wilps was able to push him over and pin him at the 6:50 mark, sending the sellout crowd at American's Bender Arena into a frenzy.
"That match was a great way to start the year for Matt," said assistant coach Matt Kocher. "It's exciting, but at the same time we realize it's November and not March and that we've got a ways to go."
The action continued on Sunday as 21 members of the Pitt squad took to the mats at the Knight Point Open held on the Clarion University campus. The Panthers had an impressive showing as six individuals - Anthony Zanetta (125), Donnie Tasser (149), Tyler Wilps (165), Nick Bonaccorsi (174), Max Thomusseit (184) and Zac Thomusseit (285) - captured individual titles, while three additional Panthers placed.
"We got to see a lot of our guys compete at Clarion which is always good," Kocher said. "We had a lot of guys step up winning as many weight classes as we did and having multiple guys place at some weights and that's something you always like to see, especially early in the year."
At 125 pounds, Zanetta cruised to the title outscoring his five opponents by a combined score of 48-6, including a 12-1 major decision victory over Trey Hicks of Clarion in the finals.
After opening his tournament with a fall at 1:51, Tasser earned 6-0, 7-4 and 7-4 decisions to reach the finals at 149 pounds. In the finals, Tasser majored Lehigh's Albert Woody, 13-3.
Tyler Wilps used four decisions and a major to claim his title at 165 pounds, while Bonaccorsi claimed the 174-pound bracket with three decisions, a major and a fall.
Max Thomusseit took the 184-pound bracket with a 6-3 decision over Lorenzo Thomas after a dominant run the finals which consisted of a pin, a 12-0 major and a 7-1 decision.
At heavyweight, Zac Thomusseit put on a clinic starting his tournament with a pair of tech fall victories and ending it with a pair of first period pins to claim the title.
No. 18 Pitt will return to action when it opens its dual season at No. 13 Michigan on Sunday, Nov. 11, at 2 p.m. The dual will be streamed live on the Big Ten Network's Digital Network and will air tape delayed on BTN at a later date.