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new-panther-headBUFFALO, N.Y. – Pitt wrestling got off to a strong start to the 2009-10 season as 14 wrestlers placed in the Buffalo Open, led by three top finishers.

Freshman Dane Johnson (New Kensington, Pa./Shady Side Academy) had a successful first tournament on the collegiate level as the rookie earned a first round bye, then went on to a 4-0 sweep on his way to the 141 title. Johnson earned wins over Evan Henderson of Kiski Prep (7-5), Brian Seawalt of Buffalo (3-2), Matt Bogusz of Maryland (6-5) and Mike Nevinger of Cornell (4-3) for the title win.

In the 197 weight class, sophomore Matt Wilps (Pittsburgh, Pa./Chartiers Valley) picked up the first tournament win of his career as he defeated Thomas Sitar of Maryland (15-2), Chris Nocchi of Mercyhurst (8-4), Christian Boley of Maryland (6-1) and Jimmy Hamel of Buffalo (2-1) for the title.

Pitt’s most impressive title win of the day came in the heavyweight division as redshirt junior Ryan Tomei (Irwin, Pa./Penn-Trafford) earned his fifth career tournament win, setting the pace with three straight bonus-point wins to open the day. Tomei pinned Julius Angilckas of Brockport just over a minute into the first period then downed Nathan Sharp of Mercyhurst (12-3), Jim Martz of Gannon (19-5). In the semifinal round he knocked off hometown favorite Jason Weber of Buffalo (8-2) and then dropped Patrick Gilmore of Maryland (9-2) for the title.

In the 125 weight class, sophomore Chris Kochinsky (Middletown, Pa./Middletown) took third place, wrestling back after losing his first round match, 6-3, to Matt Fusco of Rutgers. Kochinsky rebounded in the consolation round, reeling off five straight victories including a 12-1 major decision over John Worthington of Mercyhurst, advanced due to an injury to Scott Baron of Gannon, was a 4-1 winner over teammate Zach Grove and defeated Dan Riggi of Binghamton (4-3). Following a 3-1 win over Dylan Dabolt of Buffalo, Kochinsky captured third with a 13-1 rout over Justin Farmer of West Liberty.

Also at 125, was Grove (York, Pa./Central York), who finished the day 1-2, and freshman Anthony Zanetta (Pittsburgh, Pa./Keystone Oaks), who finished 3-2.

Senior Jimmy Conroy was Pitt’s lone representative in the 133 weight class, finishing sixth with a 3-1 record. Conroy (South Plainfield, N.J./South Plainfield) won his first match by a 10-0 count over Chris Conti of Buffalo, then defeated Kolten Stemen of West Liberty (fall, 4:53) and Mookie Golden of Maryland (8-0). Conroy fell to Kevin Smith of Buffalo 5-3 to place him in the consolation round. Conroy again faced Golden, who claimed fifth due to a medical forfeit by Conroy.

In addition to Johnson’s win at 141, sophomore Chris Albright (York, Pa./Red Lion Area) took 5th with a 4-2 record including a second-period fall in his opening match.

At 149, the Panthers placed two as Eric Albright (York, Pa./Virginia) finished fourth and Kyle Patton (Johnstown, Pa./Westmont Hilltop) took fifth. Albright won his first three matches and while Patton fell in his opener, but strung together six consecutive wins to place.

Redshirt senior Mark Powell (Washington, Pa./Purdue) took fifth at 157 with a 3-2 record on the day.

Both of Pitt’s wrestlers at 165 placed on Sunday as Adam Counterman (Nazareth, Pa./Nazareth) finished fifth and Phil Sorrentino (Glassport, Pa./South Allegheny) took sixth. The duo were matched up together in their final pairing of the day, as Counterman took the 3-2 victory to earn fifth.

At 174, senior David Sullivan (Dingman’s Ferry, Pa./Delaware Valley) suffered just one loss in six matches on the day to claim third place. Sullivan fell in the semifinals, 4-2, to Nate Graham of Bloomsburg, before winning out in the consolation bracket for third.

Sophomore Zac Thomusseit (St. Paris, Ohio/St. Paris Graham) came close to the title as he finished second, falling in the finals, 1-0 to Eastern Wrestling League rival Chris Honeycutt of Edinboro. Thomusseit earned a first round bye prior to defeating Alex Steinke of Tiffin (fall, 2:30), Alex Pagnotta of Rutgers (fall, 3:58) and Josh Peters of Buffalo (5-2) on his way to the championship match.

In addition to Wilps’ win at 197, Pitt senior A.J. Hunte (Brookline, Mass./Brookline) grabbed a fifth place finish on the day with a 5-2 record. Hunte lost his opening round match, but won three consecutive to put him in the fifth place match with Richard Perry of Bloomsburg, which he won 5-0.

The Panthers with hold their annual Blue Gold Match on Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. at Fitzgerald Field House. Pitt’s dual season begins Nov. 13 with matches against Sacred Heart and Drexel on Drexel’s campus.

Courtesy of Pitt Sports Information

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