The eighth-ranked Pitt-Johnstown wrestling squad got pins from Gary Lantz and Josh Duplin along with a decision victory by Travis McKillop over fellow all-American Adam Walters in a lopsided 42-6 victory over 16th-ranked Findlay in Wednesday’s dual meet opener in the Sports Center.
“It was our home opener and we had a great crowd so we wanted to put on a nice show for the crowd,” UPJ coach Pat Pecora said. “Findlay is a great team and we caught them at a bad time.”
The Mountain Cats extended their winning streak from last season to 15 straight dual meets. In the process, Pecora earned his 516th career win and moved into sole possession of fourth place on the all-time coaches win list in all divisions.
The Mountain Cats opened-up a 12-0 lead with forfeit victories by All-American seventh-ranked Dave Fogle at 125 pounds, and national qualifier Evan Link at 133, before Findlay’s Jared VanVleet used back points as time expired to defeat Luke Palamides, 6-5, at 141.
A forfeit win by All-American and sixth-ranked Dave Cawley extended the Pitt-Johnstown lead to 18-3.
The Mountain Cats then got a takedown by Sam Molina early into overtime to defeat Dalton Nicely, 13-11, at 157, and two-time National Qualifier Lantz pinned Bradley Metz at 2:51 in the 165-pound bout to push the Pitt-Johnstown lead out to 27-3.
“One of the key matches was Sam Molina at 157, a redshirt freshman,” Pecora said. “He was down. He came out of it and kept fighting back and won a 13-11 overtime decision. Gary Lantz had a big fall to get the fans going.”
At 174, Nikos Garafola picked-up the Mountain Cats’ fourth forfeit win of the night, setting up the feature match between two-time All-America McKillop and All-American Walters at 184.
Last season, the two split a pair of matches, but McKillop defeated Walters at the NCAA National Tournament in the third-place match. McKillop used an early takedown and an escape and held off Walters, 3-2, to build the Mountain Cat lead to 36-3.
“It was a nail-biter,” Pecora said.
At 197, Findlay answered with Tyler Beck’s 5-3 decision over Zak Newton, but the Mountain Cats closed it out in style when national qualifier and eighth-ranked Duplin pinned Cody Hogston in 32 seconds to set the final.
“Josh Duplin made the big move and got a first-period pin to send the crowd away with some excitement,” Pecora said.
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Pitt slips past Clemson in OT
Lamar Patterson had a career-high 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, as Pittsburgh overcome a five-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and beat Clemson 83-78 in overtime Saturday.
Patterson’s 3 with 3 seconds left cut the Tigers’ lead to 67-65.
Robert Morris holds off St. Francis in NEC
Karvel Anderson and Lucky Jones came up big again for top-seeded Robert Morris, with 21 and 18 points, respectively, but clutch free throws by David Appolon preserved a 60-57 victory over sixth-seeded St. Francis in a Northeast Conference semifinal on Saturday.
The Colonials (21-12) advance to Tuesday’s championship for the fifth time in six years, facing fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary’s (15-16).
Danel helping Falcons to Division III tournament
When Chelsea Danel was a senior at North Star, the Cougars were able to win a District 5-AA basketball title.
Now Danel, a senior at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, is a key contributor on a Falcons’ hoops squad which upset top-seeded Lebanon Valley 53-47 in the Commonwealth Conference championship on Saturday. It was the ninth title for the Falcons in 13 appearances.
Ferndale grad aiding Duquesne women’s hoops
Matt Schmidt was hired as an assistant coach for the Duquesne women’s basketball team in June.
Now the former Ferndale High School standout will have his first opportunity to experience March madness with the Dukes, who are the sixth-seed in the Atlantic 10 Tournament which opened Thursday in Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va.
Icecats on way to national tournament
The Pitt-Johnstown hockey team needed to overcome some long odds to advance to the ACHA Men’s Division III national championship tournament in Coral Springs, Fla. next week.
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St. Francis wins NEC quarterfinal
Ronnie Drinnon hit a go-ahead basket and a pair of free throws in the final 48 seconds, scoring a career high 20 points as sixth-seeded St. Francis battled past third-seeded Bryant 55-54 in the Northeast Conference tournament Wednesday night.
St. Francis hasn’t been in the playoffs since the 2010-11 season and scrapped past Bryant (18-14) in a closely fought contest that saw five ties and five lead changes – three in the final 3:37.
Wake Forest beats Pitt in ACC opener
Dearica Hamby finished with 25 points, 16 rebounds, eight assists and two steals as No. 11 seed Wake Forest women beat 14th-seeded Pittsburgh 72-58 in the first round of the ACC tournament on Wednesday night.
Hamby had a tremendous night in notching her school-record 22nd double-double of the season.
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