March 3, 2012
CLARION, Pa. – The brackets for the Eastern Wrestling League Tournament have been completed for Sunday’s event at Clarion University. Pitt leads the way with four No. 1 seeds, while West Virginia is next with three, Clarion has two and Edinboro one. Edinboro has four No. 2 seeds, while Pitt and Bloomsburg have three each.
Anthony Zanetta (125), Shelton Mack (133), Tyler Nauman (149) and Ethan Headlee (174) all received top seeds for the Panthers. Tyler Wilps (165), Andy Vaughan (174) and Matt Wilps (197) were all seeded second. Donnie Tasser was seeded third at 157 and Travis Shaffer is fourth at 141.
Follow Pitt wrestling on Twitter @pitt_wrestling for individual results throughout the tournament. Check back at www.pittsburghpanthers.com for a live blog of the championship round.
The following is a closer look at Pitt’s entries in the tournament:
125 - No. 14 Anthony Zanetta, Jr. (25-4) – Number of NCAA Allocations (2)
Zanetta looks for his third straight EWL title after beating West Virginia’s Shane Young in each of the past two finals. Young enters as the three seed, so the two could meet up again if the Mountaineer wrestler is able to get past second-seeded Sean Boylan (Bloomsburg). If the seeds hold up, Zanetta’s semifinal opponent would be Edinboro’s Kory Mines, who he majored in the dual meet.
133 – No. 17 Shelton Mack, So. (18-7) – Number of NCAA Allocations (3)
Mack’s win over A.J. Schopp in the dual meet with Edinboro proved be big here as it gave the Pitt sophomore the top seed in what should be a three-wrestler race for the title. Mack could face fourth-seeded Nick Wilcox, who he beat handily earlier this season, to the get to the finals, while Schopp and West Virginia’s Nathan Pennesi will have to battle for a finals spot on the other side of the bracket.
141 – Travis Shaffer (16-14) – Number of NCAA Allocations (2)
Shaffer has struggled a little toward the latter part of his first season with the Panthers, but still has a winning record and can’t be counted out in this wide open bracket. As the fourth seed, he would need to get past top-seeded Mike Morales of West Virginia to earn an automatic bid. Shaffer was pinned by Morales in the dual meet, but had the Mountaineer wrestler on his heels early in the match. Shaffer’s match with second-seeded Mitchell Port (Edinboro) was close, and he actually has a convincing win over third-seeded Matt Bonson (Lock Haven) earlier this season. It wouldn’t be all that surprising if Shaffer found himself in the finals with a chance to win this weight.
149 – No. 9 Tyler Nauman, R-Sr. (24-5) – Number of NCAA Allocations (2)
Nauman is looking to become the first ever four-time EWL champion from Pitt, but will have to get past Edinboro’s David Habat in a potential finals matchup. It would be the fifth match of the season between the two top-10 wrestlers. Nauman won the first one in the season-opening Buffalo Open and won the most recent to help Pitt beat Edinboro in the dual meet. Both of Habat’s wins over Nauman came at the Cliff Keen Invitational in Las Vegas, including the consolation finals.
157 – Donnie Tasser, R-Jr. (12-10) – Number of NCAA Allocations (2)
Not that there is much difference between the two, but somehow Tasser received the third seed in this bracket instead of the two seed. He went 5-1 in EWL matches this season, including a win over Bloomsburg’s Frank Hickman, but Hickman, who was 4-2 in the EWL, was voted as the second seed by the conference coaches. Either way, the potential semifinals match between the two could be the deciding factor in Tasser’s NCAA Tournament chances. If he wins, he’s in. If he loses, he must come back to get third and hope the committee decides to give him an at-large bid.
165 – Tyler Wilps, R-Fr. (15-11) – Number of NCAA Allocations (1)
Wilps will have his work cut out for him in his first EWL Tournament. He enters as the second seed, but this is the only weight in the tournament with only one automatic spot in the national tournament. On the other side of the bracket from Wilps, is a top-10 wrestler in Clarion’s Bekzod Abdurakhmonov. At the least, Pitt’s redshirt freshman has to advance to the finals, but even then, he may have to upset Bekzod to keep his season alive.
174 – No. 23 Ethan Headlee, R-Sr. (12-7) – Number of NCAA Allocations (3)
Headlee bumps up a weight after winning the EWL Tournament at 165 last season. On the other side of the bracket from him is Bloomsburg’s Mike Dessino, who won the tournament at this weight last year. Headlee was 3-0 in conference dual meets this season, including a major decision over third-seeded Lance Bryson (West Virginia) and a fall over fourth-seeded Chris Hrunka (Edinboro). He also has a decision over Dessino at the Lock Haven Invitational. Headlee is set to qualify for the national tournament for the fourth time.
184 – No. 27 Andy Vaughan, R-Sr. (18-7) – Number of NCAA Allocations (3)
In one of the harder weight classes to seed in the tournament, Vaughan enters as the second seed and has a potential matchup with third-seeded Vic Avery (Edinboro) in the semifinals. Vaughan beat Avery in the dual, Avery beat top-seeded Matt Ryan in the dual, and Ryan beat Vaughan in the dual.
197 – No. 4 Matt Wilps, R-Jr. (27-3) – Number of NCAA Allocations (3)
Wilps is the second highest ranked wrestler in the tournament, but is also the second seed in his bracket, behind top-seeded and unbeaten Chris Honeycutt (Edinboro). Two of Wilps’s three losses this season are to Honeycutt, but he tallied bonus points against everyone else in the bracket. Pitt’s redshirt junior was the conference champion at this weight two seasons ago, while teammate Zac Thomusseit won it last season.
285 – P.J. Tasser, R-So. (10-7) – Number of NCAA Allocations (3)
Tasser, a 174-pounder, bumped up one weight class and beat No. 9 Ben Clymer (Hofstra) earlier this season. This of course could be an even bigger challenge going up against some guys that weigh as much as 60 pounds more than him, but the Pitt coaches are confident that Tasser can win at least one match and pick up some points for the team race.