No. 2-ranked Wilps powers strong Pitt grapplers
If there were any doubts about Matt Wilps' ability to compete at the highest collegiate level, they've been erased.
Wilps, a senior on the No. 12 Pitt wrestling team, is ranked No. 2 nationally with some impressive results on his resume. Wilps has already pinned Penn State's Quentin Wright, the No. 3-ranked wrestler and the 2011 national champ at 184 pounds. At the Midlands tournament, Wilps lost a 4-2 decision to Kent State's Dustin Kilgore, the 2011 NCAA champion at 197 pounds, who also finished fourth in last year's Olympic trials.
With those results in mind, Pitt coach Rande Stottlemyer thinks big things are ahead for the Chartiers Valley graduate.
“He's dangerous. I don't want to say he's a dark horse, because he showed his wares wrestling the guy from Kent State — that guy kind of wallops everybody — but that was a two-point match at Midlands and, trust me, it could have gone either way,” Stottlemyer said. “We're looking forward to sharpening the knife for next time and get that for him.”
Wilps is no stranger to the big stage, having made it to the NCAA championships twice, including a fourth-place finish last year.
“I'm still learning, always learning, always trying to get in better shape, trying to get stronger,” Wilps said. “So I'm still improving but execution, at the top level, it's a lot of execution, making it happen, showing what you have. I can do it. I just need to show that I can.”
Stottlemyer doesn't think Wilps needs to change much for national success.
“The biggest thing is he's taken ownership of it himself. He wants to be good,” Stottlemyer said. “He's looking at video all the time; he's asking questions. You'd think a fifth-year senior knows everything, but you know what? He knows better.”
Wilps could be joined at nationals by his younger brother, Tyler, who is ranked 14th at 165 pounds. Despite a difference of about 30 pounds, the brothers occasionally square off in practice.
Said Matt: “He's tough, man. He gets me frustrated, but I'll still toss him around.”
A loss to teammate Geno Morelli in wrestle-offs helped turn around the season for Tyler Wilps.
“I almost needed that loss to be like, ‘OK, it's time to get serious and really focused,' “ he said. “That was the biggest highlight, seeing that change and me become a much better wrestler than I was last year.”
It could be even more of a family affair at NCAAs this March in Des Moines, Iowa. Pitt has two other sets of brothers: Zac and Max Thomusseit and P.J. and Donnie Tasser (Belle Vernon).
In Stottlemyer's dream scenario, there would be a large contingent of Panthers at NCAAs.
“We want to take all 10. Are all 10 going to go? I don't know, but that's our goal,” he said. “It won't be easy. Maybe we get six. Maybe we get seven or eight. But our goal is to try and get everybody there.”
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.
- Pitt players support Rudolph for job
- Pitt football fights to overcome steppingstone status
- Pitt survives Oakland’s upset bid with overtime victory
- Star Hayward enjoys go-to role for St. Francis (Pa.)
- Pitt’s acting athletic director is deft facilitator
- Pitt: Football coach hire comes 1st, athletic director 2nd
- Assistant at Duke eyes Pitt football job
- Pederson’s 2nd tenure as Pitt AD comes to abrupt end
- Michigan State defensive coordinator a Pitt coaching candidate
- Starkey: Pederson had to go at Pitt
- Position move fits Pitt sophomore Artis