No. 19 Pitt earns signature win at No. 5 Ohio State, 21-13

by Gary Abbott, USA Wrestling

Cole Matthews (PItt) with arm raised in victory (Photo by Pitt Athletics)

COLUMBUS—The Pitt wrestling team picked up a stunning early season upset at No. 5 Ohio State on Sunday afternoon at the Covelli Center in Columbus, winning the ACC-Big Ten dual, 21-13.

The No. 19 Panthers (6-1) triumphed in six bouts against the Buckeyes (4-1) to earn a decisive dual win in what was a signature victory for seventh-year head coach Keith Gavin and his squad.

“We battled really hard,” Gavin said. “We have a tough group, even our young guys. They are really fun to coach and I’m so proud of the team. Ohio State is an elite team; any time you can get a dual win over a team like that, it means your program is in a good place and you are doing the right things. But we have to continue to work on improving and stay focused.”

Starting at 125 pounds, Colton Camacho earned the first of what would prove to be three crucial upsets by the Panthers, convincingly defeating No. 22 Brendan McCrone by 14-9 decision.

Then the moment of the match occurred at 141 pounds when No. 20 Cole Matthews got back to winning ways with an epic last-second takedown to beat No. 3 and previously unbeaten Jesse Mendez. The 4-2 win for the super senior team captain kept Pitt in the dual until the upper weights took over.

“So happy for Cole,” Gavin added. “Obviously he’s had a rough start to the year, but we felt like this was a good match and opportunity for him. You can never count him out. He’s a hell of a competitor.”

At 165 and 184 pounds, respectively, No. 8 Holden Heller and No. 20 Reece Heller showcased their impressive improvement this season by earning major decisions in high-scoring bouts against top-20 opponents. That fully swung the momentum of the match in Pitt’s favor and stunned the crowd.

Pitt smelled blood and finished off its first top-5 win of the Gavin era – and first since the Panthers beat No. 5 Oklahoma State in 2014 – when Mac Stout at 197 pounds and Dayton Pitzer at heavyweight each secured lopsided victories as the fans at Covelli Center streamed towards the exit in disbelief.

In the past decade, only Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska and Michigan have won by more in Columbus.

Full results from Sunday’s Pitt-Ohio State dual are available below.

Also competing for Pitt wrestling this weekend, some younger Panthers took the mat on Saturday at the Cleveland State Open. Briar Priest took third at 141 pounds and Dylan Evans placed fourth at 157 to lead Pitt’s efforts at the open tournament.

The Panthers head to Nashville for a trio of duals at the prestigious National Collegiate Duals on Monday against Cornell, Iowa State and Little Rock before taking a break until after the New Year.

No. 19 Pitt 21, No. 5 Ohio State 13

125: Colton Camacho (Pitt) dec. No. 22 Brendan McCrone (OSU), 14-9 (Pitt leads, 3-0)

133: No. 12 Nic Bouzakis (OSU) dec. No. 23 Vinnie Santaniello (Pitt), 5-2 (Tied, 3-3)

141: No. 20 Cole Matthews (Pitt) dec. No. 3 Jesse Mendez (OSU), 4-2 (Pitt leads, 6-3)

149: No. 5 Dylan D’Emilio (OSU) dec. No. 19 Finn Solomon (Pitt), 12-11 (Tied, 6-6)

157: No. 13 Paddy Gallagher (OSU) maj. dec. Jared Keslar (Pitt), 17-3 (OSU leads, 10-6)

165: No. 8 Holden Heller (Pitt) maj. dec. No. 20 Isaac Wilcox (OSU), 10-2 (Tied, 10-10)

174: No. 9 Carson Kharchla (OSU) dec. No. 19 Luca Augustine (Pitt), 11-7 (OSU leads, 13-10)

184: No. 20 Reece Heller (Pitt) maj. dec. No. 15 Gavin Hoffman (OSU), 12-2 (Pitt leads, 14-13)

197: No. 17 Mac Stout (Pitt) dec. No. 22 Luke Geog (OSU), 7-1 (Pitt leads, 17-13)

285: No. 14 Dayton Pitzer (Pitt) maj. dec. Hogan Swenski (OSU), 12-2 (Pitt wins, 21-13)