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Dec. 29, 2011

LOCK HAVEN, Pa. - Juniors Anthony Zanetta and Matt Wilps won individual titles in the Mat Town Invitational at Lock Haven University on Friday, leading the Pitt wrestling team to a second-place finish in the 11-team event.

Zanetta won Pitt's first title of the night with a 6-3 decision over Lock Haven's Robert Rehm at 125 pounds. The two-time national qualifier never trailed, scoring two takedowns, two escapes and a point for riding time. Zanetta improves to 16-2 with his second tournament title of the season.

Wilps nabbed his first tournament championship of the season with a perfect 3-0 record. He clinched the title with a 3-1 win over No. 15 Max Huntley (Michigan) in the finals. Wilps beat Huntley for the third time this season.

In all, the Panthers had five wrestlers vie for tournament titles. No. 18 Shelton Mack (133), No. 14 Tyler Nauman (149) and No. 19 Ethan Headlee were all perfect on the day before falling in the championship round. All three lost to quality opponents with Mack dropping a decision to No. 17 Zac Stevens (Michigan), Nauman losing to No. 9 Ian Miller (Kent State) and Headlee falling to No. 11 Justin Zeerip (Michigan).

Earlier in the tournament Headlee tied current Pitt assistant coach Matt Kocher on the school's all-time pins list, recording the 29th fall of his career in the quarterfinals.

Freshman Travis Shaffer turned in one of the best performances of his short college career, defeating two ranked opponents on his way to a third-place showing. Wrestling No. 25 Frank Cimato (Drexel) in the consolation finals, Shaffer broke a scoreless tie with a third-period takedown and rode out the remainder of the match. Earlier in the day, Shaffer rolled to an 8-3 decision over No. 21 Matt Bonson (Lock Haven) in the quarterfinals.

Tyler Wilps also finished third for the Panthers and had a solid win of his own in the consolation finals. He wrapped up the day with a 4-1 record, the final victory coming via decision over two-time national qualifier Eren Civan (Columbia).

Andy Vaughan battled back from an opening round loss to advance to the consolation finals, where he was to wrestle teammate Karl DeCiantis. That match did not take place. Deciantis opened the tournament with two wins over seeded wrestlers.

Rounding out the Pitt placewinners were freshman Chace Small (fifth at 125) and sophomore Erik Galloway (sixth at 133).


125 - 1st place: No. 15 Anthony Zanetta (3-0)

First Round: Bye

Quarterfinals: Zanetta FALL David Hershberger (Franklin & Marshall), 2:06

-          Hershberger was a three-time state placewinner in Delaware

Semifinals: Zanetta dec. Sean Boylan (Bloomsburg), 4-1

-          Boylan was last year's PSAC Freshman of the Year

Championship Match: Zanetta dec. Robert Rehm (Lock Haven), 7-3


125 - 5th place: Chace Small (2-2)

First Round: Bye

Quarterfinals: Small dec. Grant Pizzo (Michigan), 8-2

-          Pizzo was a state runner-up in Michigan and is the current starter for the Wolverines

Semifinals: Robert Rehm (Lock Haven) dec. Chace Small, 13-8

Cons. Semifinals: Michael Gomez (Drexel) dec. Small, 3-2

5th/6th Match: Small FALL Robert Dyar (Columbia)


133 - 6th place: Erik Galloway (3-3)

First Round: Galloway FALL Andrew Polidore (Sacred Heart), 4:36

Quarterfinals: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) FALL Galloway, 2:02

-          Wilcox was a three-time New York state champion

Cons. Second Round: Galloway tech. fall Ryan Goodsell, 15-0 (5:00)

-          Goodsell was a three-time state placewinner in Virginia

Cons. Quarterfinals: Galloway dec. Brandon Choate (Old Dominion), 5-3

-          Choate was a three-time state medalist in Pennsylvania

Cons. Semifinals: Steve Mitcheff (Kent State) dec. Galloway, 6-2

5th/6th Match: Nick Wilcox (Bloomsburg) med. forfeit Galloway


133 - 2nd place: No. 18 Shelton Mack (2-1)

First Round: Bye

Quarterfinals: Mack dec. Jeremiah Biddle (Bloomsburg), 8-3

Semifinals: Mack dec. Steve Mitcheff (Kent State), 4-3

Championship Match: No. 17 Zac Stevens (Michigan) dec. Mack, 2-0

-          Stevens is a two-time national qualifier


141 - 3rd place: Travis Shaffer (4-1)

First Round: Shaffer tech. fall Robert O'Neill (Sacred Heart), 17-0 (1:56)

Quarterfinals: Shaffer dec. No. 21 Matt Bonson (Lock Haven),

-          Bonson was a national qualifier in 2009

Semifinals: No. 9 Tyler Small (Kent State) dec. Shaffer, 6-0

-          Small is a returning national qualifier

Cons. Semifinals: Shaffer tech. fall Matt Bystol (Columbia), 15-0

-          Bystol was a two-time state medalist in Illinois

3rd/4th Match: Shaffer dec. No. 25 Frank Cimato (Drexel), 2-0

-          Shaffer avenged an early-season loss to Cimato


149 - Josh Pascazi (1-2)

First Round: No. 25 Owen Wilkinson dec. Pascazi, 9-3

Cons. First Round: Pascazi maj. dec. Jake Kazimir (Columbia), 14-1

-          Kazimir was a two-time state placewinner in Ohio

Cons. Second Round: No. 27 Bryce Busler (Bloomsburg) dec. Pascazi, 10-4


149 - 2nd place: No. 14 Tyler Nauman  (3-1)

First Round: Nauman maj. dec. William Randt (Lock Haven), 13-2

Quarterfinals: Nauman maj. dec. Kurtis Becker (Bloomsburg), 11-0

Semifinals: Nauman inj def. Marcel Clopton (Kent State)

-          Nauman was winning 5-0 at time of default

Championship Match: No. 9 Ian Miller (Kent State) FALL Tyler Nauman, 6:40

-          Miller was an Ohio State champion last year


157 - Jordan Moss (0-2)

First Round: Austin Sommer (Drexel) dec. Moss, 4-3 tb

-          Sommer was a three-time state placewinner in Pennsylvania

Cons. First Round: Andy Candiello (Kent State) dec. Moss, 7-4


157 - Troy Reaghard (1-2)

First Round: Jacob Salazar (Michigan) dec. Troy Reaghard, 3-2

-          Salazar was a three-time Utah state champion

Cons. First Round: Reaghard dec. Mike Testen (Bloomsburg), 5-2

Cons. Second Round: Austin Sommer (Drexel) dec. Reaghard, 7-4

-          Sommer was a three-time state placewinner in Pennsylvania


165 - 3rd place: Tyler Wilps (4-1)

First Round: Wilps dec. Dylan Caprio (Lock Haven), 8-1

Quarterfinals: Wilps maj. dec. Carry Joseph (VMI), 12-2

Semifinals: No. 16 Joe Booth dec. Wilps, 3-2

-          Booth is a two-time national qualifier

Cons. Semifinals: Wilps dec. Brett Miller (Old Dominion), 5-3

3rd/4th Match: Wilps dec. Eren Civan (Columbia)

-          Civan is a two-time national qualifier


174 - P.J. Tasser (1-2)

First Round: Matt Fullowan (Franklin & Marshall) dec.  Tasser, 5-3

Cons. First Round: Tasser maj. dec. Ethan Keiser (Drexel), 16-2

Cons. Second Round: No. 33 Stephen West (Columbia) dec. Tasser, 5-3



174 -  2nd place: No. 19 Ethan Headlee (2-1)

First Round: Bye

Quarterfinals: Headlee FALL Collin Zeerip (Michigan), 2:10

-          Zeerip was a three-time Michigan state champion

Semifinals: Headlee dec. Mike Dessino (Bloomsburg), 3-0

-          Dessino won the 2011 EWL title

Championship Match: No. 11 Justin Zeerip (Michigan) dec. Headlee, 4-0


184 - 3rd/4th place: Karl DeCiantis

First Round: Karl DeCiantis dec. Conor Black (VMI), 5-3

-          Black tallied 172 wins and 100 pins in high school in Virginia

Quarterfinals: Deciantis dec. Nicholas Mills (Columbia), 3-1

-          Mills was second team all-Ivy League last season

Semifinals: No. 24 Casey Newburg (Kent State) FALL Deciantis, 1:59

-          Newburg placed second at MAC Championships last season

Cons. Semifinals: Deciantis dec. Conor Black (VMI), 3-2


184 - 3rd/4th place: Andy Vaughan

First Round: Brandon Johnsonn (Kent State) dec. Vaughan, 2-1

-          Johnson finished third at the MAC Championships last season

Cons. First Round: Vaughan FALL Shane Hughes (Columbia), 4:32

Cons. Second Round: Vaughan dec. Billy Curling (Old Dominion), 7-5

Cons. Quarterfinals: Vaughan FALL Nick Mills (Columbia), 1:57

Cons. Semifinals: Vaughan maj. dec. Hunter Collins (Michigan), 11-3



197 - 1st place: No. 5 Matt Wilps (3-0)

First Round: Bye

Quarterfinals: Wilps FALL Isaiah Cromwell (Franklin & Marshall), 2:23

Semifinals: Wilps dec. No. 32 Keith Witt (Kent State), 7-5

-          Witt is a national qualifier

Championship Match: Wilps dec. Max Huntley (Michigan), 3-1


197 - Jordan Shulman (0-2)

First Round: No. 26 Richard Perry FALL Shulman, 4:15

-          Perry was a two-time Connecticut state champion

Cons. First Round: Ryan Buckner (Kent State) dec. Shulman, 8-2


285 - Joel Yahner (0-2)

First Round: No. 13 Brendan Barlow (Kent State) maj. dec. Joel Yahner, 11-3

-          Barlow is a two-time national qualifier

Cons. Second Round: Matt Tourdot (Old Dominion) dec. Yahner, 5-2

-          Tourdot was a Wisconsin state champion


Five Pitt wrestlers will compete for the championship in the Mat Town Invitational at Lock Haven University on Saturday. No. 15 Anthony Zanetta, No. 18 Shelton Mack, No. 14 Tyler Nauman, No. 19 Ethan Headlee and No. 5 Matt Wilps all posted victories in the semifinals to secure a spot in the finals.

Chace Small (125), Travis Shaffer (141), Tyler Wilps (165) and Karl DeCiantis (184) all advanced to the semifinals before losing their first match of the tournament.

Also still alive for the Panthers and guaranteed to place at least sixth are Erik Galloway (133), Andy Vaughan (184) and Karl DeCiantis (184).

Pitt is currently in second place with 98 points. Michigan leads the event with 119.5 points.

Wrestling on adjacent mats with the possibility of a championship matchup between teammates looming, Zanetta and Small were engaged in completely opposite styles of matches. Zanetta won a defensive battle, using a takedown and two escapes in a 3-1 win. At the same time, Small was was involved in a bout featuring numerous scoring scrambles. Pitt's true freshman held an 8-7 lead in the first period, but eventually fell short in a 13-8 loss.

Mack, a sophomore, edged Kent State's Steve Mitcheff 4-3 at 133 pounds. With a 3-1 lead entering the third period, Mack gave up an escape and a stalling point to tie the match 3-3, but picked up the win thanks to 1:06 of riding time.

Nauman could boost his resume and possibly get back in to the top-10 in the national rankings if he can beat No. 9 Ian Miller (Kent State) in the finals. The redshirt senior for the Panthers won by injury default over Marcel Clopton (Kent State) in the semifinals. He led 5-0 at the time of the injury.

Headlee is always capable of scoring points on top, but in his semifinals match with returning EWL champion Mike Dessino (Bloomsburg), he used his riding ability to hold his opponent scoreless in a 3-0 win. The match was scoreless entering the third period before Headlee scored an escape, a penalty point and an additional point for riding time.

Matt Wilps is the Panthers' highest ranked wrestler at fifth in the nation and seemed Pitt's surest bet to make the finals at the start of the tournament. But, the redshirt junior found himself behind 4-0 early in the match and still trailed 5-4 in the third period. He scored the go-ahead takedown to go up 6-5 and added a point for riding time for a 7-5 victory.


Quarterfinals Update

Nine Pitt wrestlers have advanced to the semifinals of the Mat Town Invitational at Lock Haven University. Following a so-so opening round, the Panthers rebounded with an outstanding performance in the quarterfinals, winning nine of 10 matches.

Pitt is in second place in the 11-team event with 60.5 points. Michigan leads the field with 72 points. The semifinals will be held at 3 p.m.

A pair of freshmen had two of the biggest wins for the Panthers. Travis Shaffer recorded his first win over a ranked opponent with an 8-3 decision over No. 21 Matt Bonson at 141 pounds. Unseeded Chace Small advanced to the semifinals with an 8-2 decision over third-seeded and current Michigan starter Grant Pizzo at 125.

Shaffer, who opened the tournament with a first-period technical fall over Robert O'Neill (Sacred Heart), will face another nationally ranked opponent in the semifinals when he squares off with No. 12 Tyler Small of Kent State.

Other semifinalists for the Panthers are  No. 15 Anthony Zanetta (125), No. 18 Shelton Mack (133), No. 14 Tyler Nauman (149), Tyler Wilps (165), No. 19 Ethan Headlee (174), Karl DeCiantis (184) and No. 5 Matt Wilps (197).

Headlee advanced to the semis with a first-period pin over Michigan's Collin Zeerip. The redshirt senior moves into a tie with current Pitt assistant coach Matt Kocher on the all-time pins list with his 29th career fall.

Deciantis wasn't seeded in his bracket, but knocked off fifth-seeded Conor Black (VMI) and fourth-seeded Nick Mills (Columbia).


Anthony Zanetta, Matt Wilps Win Titles at Lock Haven Invitational

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