PITTSBURGH – The No. 11 Pitt wrestling team continued its great start to the season on Saturday, knocking off No. 6 Michigan, 19-13 at Fitzgerald Field House.
It was the second win over a top-10 team in just a week for the Panthers as they topped then No. 6 Lehigh 18-16 on Saturday, Nov. 12.
With Pitt leading 16-13, heavyweight Zac Thomusseit clinched the match for the Panthers, registering a takedown in overtime to defeat No. 12 Ben Apland.
Thomusseit, a former national qualifier at 197, weighs in at about 210 pounds and was clearly undersized in the match, but was still able to pull off one of the biggest wins of his career.
“That one is definitely up there,” Thomusseit said of where he ranks the win in his solid college career. “It was one of the sweetest feelings ever, helping to knock off the sixth-ranked team in the country.”
Not wanting to get caught under the heavier Apland, Thomusseit played it smart during regulation to get the match to overtime. Once in extra time, he became the aggressor. He got in on a double-leg takedown attempt and following a scramble came out on top for the two points and the win.
“I thought he wrestled a hard match and made a lot of good decisions,” said Pitt head coach Rande Stottlemyer. “He was out there not trying not to lose, but trying to win.”
Following three straight losses at 157, 165 and 174, Pitt trailed 13-10 with three weight classes remaining, but rallied to win the final three bouts.
Sophomore national qualifier Max Thomusseit got the ball rolling at 184. Coming off an injury, Thomusseit made his season debut and came through with a 6-2 win over Collin Zeerip.
Another returning national qualifier, Matt Wilps followed with an exciting 6-2 win over No. 24 Max Huntley at 197.
Wilps, ranked sixth in the nation, started the third period on top with the match tied 2-2. Needing to ride almost the entire period to pick up a riding time point, he faced the decision between trying to hold the Wolverine wrestler down or letting him up and going for a takedown. The decision became easier when he picked up three nearfall points using a two-on-one tilt for a 5-2 lead. For good measure, he rode out the rest of the period to pick up the additional point for riding time.
Anthony Zanetta started the match on a high note for the Panther, as he so often does. He tallied the first bonus point of the night with a 16-5 major decision over Grant Pizzo.
Michigan tied the match with a major decision of its own at 133, but freshman Travis Shaffer came up big for Pitt, using a three-point nearfall in the second period to notch a 3-1 win over Donnie Watkins.
In one of the marquee matches of the night, No. 5 Tyler Nauman found himself down early against No. 10 Eric Grajales at 149. The Pitt All-American gave up the opening takedown, but didn’t wait long to erase the deficit. An escape and a takedown of his own put the redshirt senior up 3-2 after one period. He rode the entire second period and added an escape in the third for a 4-2 victory.
The win was the eighth straight for the Panthers dating back to last season. They will be off until Dec. 2, when they will compete in the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas.
No. 11 Pitt 19, No. 6 Michigan 13
125 - No. 15 Anthony Zanetta (P) maj. dec. Grant Pizzo (M), 16-5
133 - No. 12 Zac Stevens (M) maj. dec. Shelton Mack (P), 10-2
141 - Travis Shaffer (P) dec. Donnie Watkins (M), 3-1
149 - No. 5 Tyler Nauman (P) dec. No. 10 Eric Grajales (M), 4-2
157 - No. 28 Brandon Zeerip (M) dec. No. 32 Donnie Tasser (P), 3-2
165 - No. 16 Dan Yates (M) dec. Tyler Wilps (P), 2-0
174 - No. 7 Justin Zeerip (P) dec. No. 16 Ethan Headlee (P), 4-2
184 - Max Thomusseit (P) dec. Collin Zeerip (M), 6-2
197 - No. 6 Matt Wilps (P) dec. No. 24 Max Huntley (M), 6-2
285 - Zac Thomusseit (P) dec. No. 12 Ben Apland (M), 3-1 SV1