NCAA wrestling notebook: Pitt's Wilps claims 3rd place
TribLIVE Sports Videos
DES MOINES, Iowa — A disappointing double-overtime loss in the 197-pound semifinals Friday night didn't stop Matt Wilps from finishing strong at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.
The Pitt senior dominated two opponents Saturday en route to a third-place finish.
Wilps, a Chartiers Valley graduate, improved on his fourth-place finish from 2012 while becoming the 18th two-time All-American at Pitt.
Not bad for someone who didn't win a state title in high school and wasn't sure he could become an elite college wrestler when he arrived at Pitt.
“I thought it was maybe unrealistic to be an All-American,” Wilps said. “I really just hammered through the training and I focused more on wrestling than I expected I would, and it paid off.”
A couple of seconds of riding time cost Wilps a chance to wrestle for a national title, but he bounced back from a 4-3 double-overtime loss to Penn State's Quentin Wright. He capped his career with a second-period technical fall (18-2) over Oregon State's Taylor Meeks.
Wilps, who will graduate this spring with degrees in economics and psychology, said he is not sure whether he will pursue wrestling beyond college. He is leaving his options open, and that includes coaching.
The future, though, could wait as Wilps stood in a tunnel at Wells Fargo Arena and reflected on a career that included 129 wins, fifth most in Pitt history.
“I exceeded my expectations,” said Wilps, whose younger brother, Tyler, also wrestled in the NCAA tournament. “It feels good to end my career with a win.”
Other local All-Americans
Pitt 285-pounder Zac Thomusseit joined Wilps, his training partner, in winning the final match of his career and garnering All-American honors. The fifth-year senior beat Central Michigan's Jarod Trice, 3-1, following an earlier loss in the placement round to finish fifth.
Other local wrestlers who left Des Moines as All-Americans included Edinboro's A.J. Schopp (fourth place at 133 pounds), North Carolina's Evan Henderson (sixth at 141) and Clarion's James Fleming (eighth at 157).
Fleming, a two-time All-American, is a West Mifflin graduate. Henderson is a Kiski Prep graduate.
Graham High School in St. Paris, Ohio, could be included among the winners at the NCAA tournament.
Four of its five graduates who wrestled here claimed All-American honors, led by Penn State's David Taylor, who recorded four pins while rolling to the 165-pound finals. Thomusseit and Virginia Tech's Zach Neibert (eighth at 133) and Nick Brascetta (eighth at 141) also finished in the top eight of their respective weight classes.
The fifth Graham product in the field, Pitt redshirt sophomore Max Thomusseit, came up just short in his bid to become an All-American.
The younger Thomusseit went 2-2, with a 4-2 loss to Missouri's Mike Larson on Friday night ending his tournament. A victory over Larson would have guaranteed no worse than an eighth-place finish.
Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @ ScottBrown_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man in critical condition after Manchester shooting
- Mon City man killed in WWII honored in Holland
- Washington’s Shelton grows into big role, looks forward to draft
- Allegheny Valley board candidates hold Colfax Elementary fate
- Coach Johnston trying to figure out why Penguins ‘fell off a cliff’
- NASA head tells Pitt grads their generation will ‘walk the face of Mars’
- Protest planned Monday at Plum Borough High School
- Drainage problems believed root of Ridge Road collapse in Harmar
- Champion Christian School students to present biblical-based musical
- Key games on docket as regular season winds down
- Crosby, Malkin want to remain in Pittsburgh