Pitt’s swimmers, divers and wrestlers clinch Nationals berths over spring break
The winter sports championships are upon us and Pitt is well on his way to the title. Meanwhile, spring sports are gaining momentum with the Panthers knee deep into their non-conference schedules. Here’s how the teams fared during Pitt’s spring break.
Pitt (8-5, 0-1 ACC) played seven games at North Carolina last week and went 3-3. The Panthers started the week by winning two of three games at the All-American Classic in Fayetteville. After Pitt lost a 3-0 lead to Army on March 4, he rebounded the next day against Ohio State. Junior infielder Brock Franks capped a home-and-away game with a home run at beat the Buckeyes, 6-5. The Panthers achieved the best record of the Classic with a 11-5 Campbell’s thrashing March 6.
The Panthers then traveled to face High Point University and overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat their opponents 15-5 on the back of five home runs. Pitt ended his road trip with a visit to No. 15 UNC, which swept the Panthers in their conference opener. They lost the first match 7-4and the second 4-3 after blowing a 3-0 lead. They finished the series lose 9-2.
Next, the Panthers will play their home opener on Tuesday against Bucknell. ACC Network Extra will air the game at 3 p.m.
Pitt (11-19, 2-16 CPA) lost in the first round of the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, NC at Duke, 53-50, despite having a 16-point lead. The Blue Devils staged a second-half comeback and picked up the win when sophomore goaltender Destiny Strother missed a potential three-way draw at the buzzer.
Sophomore forward Liatu King led the team with 13 points, but Duke freshman guard Shayeann Day-Wilson eclipsed that number with a game-high 22 points.
The Panthers (10-10, 4-3 EAGL) hosted No. 24 Towson (13-6, 6-2 EAGL) for their final conference meeting of the season on March 6. Pitt couldn’t get the win because the Tigers won a total score of 196.100, just ahead of Pitt’s 195.875. Towson won the vault and bars, while Pitt won the balance beam and the floor routine. Freshmen Sidney Washington and Hallie Copperwheat were the only all-rounders in the competition, and Washinton bested her teammate with a total score of 39.475.
Pitt traveled to Coulmbus, Ohio on March 11 and confronted against host No. 16 Ohio State and No. 10 California. He came in third at 195.375, the Golden Bears came in second at 199.875, and the Buckeyes won the event at 197.100. Copperwheat placed second in the all-around with a 39.175, and junior Ciara Ward tied for the night’s best balance beam score with a 9.850.
The Panthers will compete in the EAGL Championships in Washington on Saturday.
The upstart Panthers started their week with double overtime loss at the hands of Virginia Tech on March 5. After scoring seven goals in the first period, Pitt was only able to score four more over the next five periods, while the Hokies scored 10 in that span. Graduate student forward Paige Petty scored five goals and student grad forward Madisyn Kittell scored two goals.
Pitt then traveled on March 10 to face Duke. The Panthers hung out with the No. 7 Blue Devils, who eventually won 15-14. Sophomore forward Kate Elam scored a record four goals for Pitt.
The Panthers then hosted Binghamton on Sunday and defeated the Bearcats 17-11. Petty scored five times and senior forward Kierin Ratliff-Kailbourne added two goals.
Pitt will travel to Charlottesville, Va. for his next game against UVA on Friday at 5 p.m.
Pitt Softball (11-7, 1-2 ACC) traveled to Tallahassee, Fla. to kick off its conference program with a series against No. 3 Florida State. The Panthers stole a Seminoles game on March 6, winning 7-5. Redshirt freshman Dani Drogemuller twirled a full game, and sophomore Cami Compson went two-for-three with a home run. But FSU won the first two games of the series 0-3 and 0-10.
The Panthers then traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for the Lady Bison Classic against Bowling Green and Houston Baptist. They won two of Music City’s three games, which started with a straight win over the Falcons and a shutout win over the Huskies. But Pitt couldn’t sweep the Classic, as a Saturday rematch with Bowling Green ended in an 8-5 loss.
Next, Pitt will face Penn State in its home opener on Wednesday. ACC Network will broadcast the match at 5 p.m.
Pitt divers participated in the Zone A Championships last week, and three clinched their tickets to the NCAA championships.
On the men’s side, freshman Cameron Cash qualified for all three diving events: 1 meter, 3 meter and platform. He’s the only freshman Pitt to do that. Junior Dylan Reed also qualified for all three NCAA diving events. Senior swimmer Cooper Van der Laan will also compete in the chest of 100 and 200 meters.
On the women’s side, senior Amy Read placed third in the women’s platform, which helped her qualify for all three diving events. She is the only diver in program history to have qualified for national championships four times.
Read will compete in the Women’s Nationals March 16-19, and the men will compete March 23-26.
The Panthers (8-6, 2-3 ACC) participated in the ACC Championships in Charlottesville, Virginia on March 6, and six wrestlers have qualified for the NCAA Championships. Redshirt seniors Jake Wentzel, Nino Bonaccorsi, Micky Phillippi, Elijah Cleary, Gregg Harvey and redshirt junior Cole Matthews will all travel to Detroit.
Of those six, Matthews (141 pounds), Wentzel (165), and Bonaccorsi (197) all won gold in their weight classes. Phillippi (133) made it to the final in his weight class but had to settle for silver as Virginia Tech grad student Korbin Myers beat him 4-2. As a team, the Panthers finished third with 51 points. No. 4 Status NC won the championship with 98.5 points.
To wrap up the season, Pitt’s six qualifiers will travel to Detroit for the NCAA Championships Thursday through Saturday.
Panthers (11-21, 6-14 ACC) lost at Notre Dame in their regular season finale on March 5 78-54. Then they went to Brooklyn and lost to Boston College in the first round of the ACC Tournament 66-46.