No. 24 Pitt Blows Past No. 7 Virginia Tech Wrestling, 26-12

Pitt’s Colton Camacho took down Virginia Tech wrestler Cooper Flynn not even 45 seconds into the match. (Ivan Morozov)

It only took 44 seconds for No. 24 Pitt to start its beatdown of No. 7 Virginia Tech on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum.

Less than a minute into the opening bout of the night, Colton Camacho pinned Cooper Flynn (125) to give the Panthers an early 6-0 advantage. It came out of nowhere, but it was a sign of what was to come as Pitt took down Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, 26-12.

The loss moves the Hokies out of first place in the ACC and now opens the door for another team to take the conference dual title. Before the defeat to the Panthers, Tech controlled its own destiny after beating No. 8 NC State last week, 16-14. 

VT lost seven of 10 bouts on Friday, the biggest of which involved No. 7 Hunter Bolen (184). Despite leading 2-1 at the end of the first three minutes, he was forced on to his back by No. 19 Reece Heller, losing by fall for only the second time in his collegiate career.

In a flash, Reece Heller pinned Hunter Bolen, the second of the night for Pitt. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 5 Sam Latona (133) was Tech’s other wrestler ranked in the top-ten to lose against Pitt. He went to tiebreakers against No. 7 Micky Phillippi in the pair’s first career meeting after staying tied at two through overtime. Latona lost in the tiebreaker period after failing to escape in under 12 seconds against the former ACC champion.

Tech lost all three matches against Pitt’s grapplers ranked in the top five.

No. 23 Hunter Catka (285) nearly ended the dual on a high note for VT, forcing overtime against No. 5 Dayton Pitzer. Tech’s heavyweight collected an escape at the buzzer to end the second period, which tied the match at three. Following a scoreless third period, Pitzer took down Catka in OT to close out the win for Pitt, 5-3.

The bout immediately preceding the heavyweight battle came close to another top-ten upset for No. 22 Andy Smith (197). He managed to keep the score within three points through the first two periods but failed to register a match-tying takedown. He escaped to begin the period but fell to No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi, 3-1.

Andy Smith wrestled hard but couldn’t pull off an upset for the second straight week. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 12 Tom Crook (141) kept it close with No. 3 Cole Matthews until the third period when the former All-American iced the match with a takedown to win 6-2.

The battle at 165 was won by No. 23 Holden Heller over No. 25 Connor Brady. Tech’s redshirt sophomore wasn’t able to get out from underneath Heller in the third period, leading to a 2-0 defeat.

All three of Virginia Tech’s victories against Pitt were of the bonus point variety. No. 9 Caleb Henson (149), No. 5 Bryce Andonian (157) and No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (174) all collected major decision victories for the Hokies.

Henson made easy work of No. 29 Tyler Badgett, racking up three takedowns and 3:20 in riding time in the first two periods. He exploded for seven more points in the third and added a point for riding time in the 14-2 win.

Caleb Henson was one of three Virginia Tech wrestlers on Friday to earn a major decision. (Ivan Morozov)

No. 33 Dajzon Casto was another victim of Andonian’s explosive ability. The former All-American jumped out to a 6-0 lead after the first three minutes. He added eight more points and the riding time point to secure the major decision victory, 14-4.

Lewis extended his win streak to nine with his win over Luca Augustine. He nearly pinned Pitt’s 174-pounder in the first period before manhandling him for the next three periods to win 14-4.

The Hokies’ quest for the ACC dual title now requires a Pitt loss. All VT can do now is win out in the rest of conference play and hope another program takes down the Panthers, putting the ball back in their court.

Tech travels to Durham next week to face Duke on Friday, Feb. 3 at 7 p.m.

Tony Robie and Virginia Tech no longer control their own destiny in the ACC regular season. (Ivan Morozov)

Results: No. 23 Pitt 26, No. 7 Virginia Tech 12

125: Colton Camacho (PITT) win by fall Cooper Flynn (VT), 0:44

133: No. 7 Micky Phillippi (PITT) dec. No. 5 Sam Latona (VT), 3-2 (TB1)

141: No. 3 Cole Matthews (PITT) dec. No. 12 Tom Crook (VT), 6-2

149: No. 9 Caleb Henson (VT) maj dec. No. 29 Tyler Badgett (PITT), 14-2

157: No. 5 Bryce Andonian (VT) maj dec. No. 33 Dazjon Casto (PITT), 14-4

165: No. 23 Holden Heller (PITT) dec. No. 25 Connor Brady (VT), 2-0

174: No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (VT) maj dec. Luca Augustine (PITT), 14-4

184: No. 19 Reece Heller (PITT) win by fall No. 7 Hunter Bolen (VT), 4:32

197: No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi (PITT) dec. No. 22 Andy Smith (VT), 3-1

285: No. 5 Dayton Pitzer (PITT) dec. No. 23 Hunter Catka (VT), 5-3 SV

5 Responses You are logged in as Test

  1. I don’t think our team was focused and let the win over NCSU under prepare for Pitt. We were not ready to go. This was a disaster. We cannot handle overtime matches. We should have been much more ready than we were.

  2. Team scores are so deceptive sometimes.

    Andonian should’ve been credited for a fall; Latona was the superior wrestler vs Phillipi and I really don’t get going neutral; if BA gets the fall and Latona wins as he deserved (Phillipi could’ve been called for at least 2 more stalls), Bolen just rides his guy for 3 pts. That’s a 16 pt turnaround just in those 3 matches even with the fall at 125

    1. This is very true. I haven’t seen anyone talking about the ref missing Bryce’s pin… but it definitely was a pin from my POV mat side. The ref was caught out of position and couldn’t get around in time.
      Add those two points and Bolen wins by a MD… then it’s 18-18 going into the last match.
      Bad break… but it was that kind of night. We need ALL of wrestlers to bring the intensity match, but alas we only have about 4 that do.

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