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wrestling-d1 flag | February 22, 2014

Pitt wins outright ACC dual meet title

Pittsburgh Wrestling

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- Tenth-ranked Pittsburgh (13-3, 6-0 ACC) clinched the outright ACC Dual Meet Championship with a 22-12 victory at North Carolina (6-11, 1-5 ACC) on Saturday afternoon.

After winning three of the last four Eastern Wrestling League Dual Meet Championships, the Panthers earned their first Atlantic Coast Conference title by winning all six of their duals against ACC foes this season.

The back-and-forth contest began with North Carolina grabbing an early lead after Nathan Kraisser beat Anthony Zanetta at 125 pounds, but Shelton Mack tied the dual for Pitt with a 12-6 victory over Troy Heilmann.

In the afternoon's only matchup of ranked wrestlers, No. 15 Edgar Bright upset No. 6 Evan Henderson, 3-1. Henderson and Bright traded escapes before freshman Panther Bright secured a third-period takedown to win the match, which gave the Panthers a 6-3 team lead.

However, the Tar Heels responded with three consecutive victories that put North Carolina up 12-6 before junior Tyler Wilps helped Pitt regain the momentum with a 16-5 major decision over Scott Marmoll at 174 pounds.

After Max Thomusseit put Pitt ahead 13-12 with a 4-0 victory over Alex Utley, Nick Bonaccorsi clinched the dual victory for the Panthers by pinning Frank Abbodanza at 4:27, earning the Panthers six valuable team points and giving the Panthers an insurmountable 19-12 lead. It was the fifth pin of the season for the sophomore 197-pounder.

At heavyweight, senior P.J. Tasser notched an 8-1 win over Bob Coe to bring the final score to 22-12.

With Pitt having now clinched the outright ACC Dual Meet Championship -- the fourth dual meet conference championship in school history -- the Panthers will now hope to add an ACC Tournament Championship on March 8 when Pitt travels to Blacksburg, Va.

No. 4 Cornell 28, Hofstra 19

ITHACA, N.Y. -- With a majority of backups in the lineup as the Big Red gets healthy for EIWA's, Cornell was able to celebrate Senior Day with a 28-19 win against Hofstra on Saturday afternoon at the Friedman Wrestling Center. The Big Red closed its dual meet season with a 13-1 record, including a perfect 6-0 at home.

Knowing they would receive a pair of forfeits, Cornell chose to put out five backups into the lineup to rest some of the starters prior to the EIWA championships in two weekends at the Palestra in Philadelphia. Of the three Big Red starters who did wrestle, two earned bonus point wins and top-ranked Nahshon Garrett won an easy decision over a two-time NCAA qualifier at 125 pounds.

No. 3 Gabe Dean at 184 pounds and No. 14 Mark Grey at 133 each had their hands raised by forfeit to give the Big Red a 9-8 lead after four matches and a 28-8 advantage after eight matches. The dual started at 157 pounds, the first time all season Cornell started wrestling at a weight class other than 125.

Junior Jace Bennett won with a dominant first period, all but bull-rushing Hofstra's Zeal McGrew for a pair of takedowns before exploding him onto his back for a fall just 1:16 in at 197 pounds. Coming after Dean's forfeit, the pin gave the Big Red a 15-8 lead at halftime.

The second half began with Jacob Aiken-Phillips earning a first period takedown and three near-fall points while riding out Mike Hughes for the final 1:42, essentially sending him into the second with a 6-0 lead. He reversed out of his bottom position in the second to take a 7-0 and his 2:07 in riding time gave the heavyweight the major decision shutout of Hughes.

At 125, national championship contended Nahshon Garrett dominated two-time NCAA qualifier at 133 Jamie Franco, but a late throw backfired on Garrett, allowing Franco to earn a last-second takedown on a scramble to erase a major decision, but he still took home the comfortable 8-2 win to make it 22-8. Grey's forfeit win clinched the match, making it 28-8 with two weights to wrestle.

Hofstra claimed wins at 141, 149, 165 and 174, including a pair of tech falls and a pin.