Sept. 27, 2012
PITTSBURGH — The 2012-13 Pitt wrestling schedule includes eight opponents that finished in the top-25 at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Panthers, who will compete in the Eastern Wrestling League for the final season, released their schedule on Wednesday. The schedule also includes a home match with two-time defending national champion Penn State.
Nine of the team’s 15 duals will take place at the Fitzgerald Field House. The home schedule will begin on Friday, November 30, with a highly-anticipated match against future Atlantic Coast Conference-foe Virginia Tech. The Hokies tied for 11th at the 2012 NCAA Championship.
A week later, the Panthers will get another taste of ACC competition when they host Maryland on Friday, December 7. The Terrapins have won the past two conference titles. Other home matches include Cleveland State (Dec. 20), Bloomsburg, Eastern Michigan and Davidson at the Pitt Duals on Jan. 13, West Virginia (Feb. 2), Penn State (Feb. 8) and Lehigh (Feb. 15).
Cleveland State and Bloomsburg will be EWL matches, while Pitt will renew its rivalry with West Virginia in a non-conference battle. The Mountaineers, who had been members of the EWL since 1978, made the move to the Big 12 this season.
Pitt has been a member of the EWL since its inception in 1976, and will look to make its exit from the conference on top. The Panthers have won the past three EWL regular season titles and past two tournament crowns. The Panthers enter the season unbeaten in their last 18 conference duals.
Pitt head coach Rande Stottlemyer has been a part of the EWL from the very start, first as an All-American wrestler and then the past 34 years as a head coach.
“It has been a privilege to compete and then coach in a great conference like the EWL,” Stottlemyer said. “I’ll always have a lot of great memories of the conference and have developed some long-lasting relationships with some great people. I am sad to see us leave the EWL, but also looking forward to the future of Pitt wrestling in the ACC.”
Matches at Clarion (Dec. 21), at Lock Haven (Jan. 26) and at Edinboro (March 22) round out the non-conference schedule. The Panthers have clinched their past three EWL titles with wins over the rival Fighting Scots, including a 26-10 victory last season.
The Panthers face a brutally tough road schedule, including back-to-back matches at Michigan (Nov. 11) and at Ohio State (Nov. 18). Pitt defeated Michigan when it was ranked No. 6 in the nation last season, while Ohio State finished fifth at the 2012 NCAA Championships. The Panthers travel to Oklahoma State on Jan. 20, as four top-10 teams from last season dot the schedule.
In addition to its dual meet schedule, Pitt will compete in the Midlands Championships - arguably the most competitive college wrestling tournament in the country.
“We have always tried to give our guys the toughest competition possible during the season,” said associate head coach Jason Peters. “Our goal is to produce national champions and All-Americans, and the best way to do that is to get better by competing against some of the best teams in the country.”
Pitt will open its season with its annual Blue vs. Gold match on Thursday Nov. 1. The intrasquad match, which will include competition between wrestlers battling for starting spots, will begin at 7 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Field House.