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ACC wrestling notebook: Pitt's Reaghard makes most of his return

| Sunday, March 8, 2015, 8:09 p.m.

It's been a long two years for Pitt senior Troy Reaghard. He was suspended all of last season following an incident at a concert.

Reaghard nearly walked away from the sport but decided to compete in his final year of eligibility. Now, he's headed to the NCAA championships in St. Louis for the first time after impressive 6-2 victory in the 165-pound consolation finals of the ACC championships Sunday at Petersen Event Center.

Reaghard lost to Chad Strube of Virginia Tech in the semifinals but rebound with wins over Max Rohskopft of N.C. State and Jake Faust of Duke. Faust and Reaghard were in a close match before Reaghard scored three points on a back spin in the first period to take a commanding 5-0 lead.

“I like to keep it close. I like the tough matches,” said Reaghard, a West Allegheny graduate. “I'm a grinder. He shot on me, and I down blocked him. I got the nice takedown in the first period. I think that sealed the deal for me.”

Reaghard's victory assured Pitt of at least seven NCAA qualifiers. But Reaghard's improbable third-place showing was a bonus for a Panthers team that entered the championship matches trailing Virginia by 20 points.

“Everyone thought I was crazy coming back for a fifth year. I knew what I wanted to do,” Reaghard said. “I could have taken a class or two and go into the real world, but I would have missed wrestling.

“It feels awesome because I've been doing everything the team asked. I was bumped up to 174 and 184 a couple of times. I did whatever it took for the team to win, so getting to nationals is a dream come true for me.”

• Pitt's Dom Forys, a true freshman, had to hustle over the weekend to make weight in the 125-pound division. The hard work paid off as Forys scored a 11-7 overtime win over Joe Deangelo of N.C. State in the consolation finals to earn a spot in the NCAA championships. “It wasn't even my move,” Forys said. “I kept telling myself I was going to win the match. It comes down to that in these matches.” It was a big win for Pitt, too, considering Deangelo had beaten Forys, 5-1, in their regular-season match. “I wanted it more this time,” said Forys, who was pinned by No.1 seed Joey Dance in the semifinals. “Every point counts, especially in these consolation rounds. At least I did my part for the team. It's hard to come back in a third-place match, but I had an NCAA qualification on the line.”

• Pitt junior Nick Bonaccorsi (Bethel Park) avenged an earlier loss to Virginia Tech's Jared Haught in the consolation finals. Bonaccorsi defeated Haught in the 197-pound third-place match 3-2 in overtime to qualify for the NCAA championships for the third time. “I had a rough couple of weeks, so it was good to get some good wins,” said Bonaccorsi. “Anytime you win in overtime and get revenge, it's a good win.”

• All 10 of the No.1 seeds advanced to the championship matches. The No. 2 seeds didn't fare as well as only five advanced to the finals. Mitch Finesilver of Duke was the lowest-seeded wrestler to fight his way into a title match. The sixth seed took on No.1 George Dicamillo of Virginia in the 133 final.

• Devin Carter, the No. 1 seed at 141, became only the fourth ACC wrestler to win titles at multiple weight classes. Carter earned an 11-4 victory over second-seeded Joseph Ward of North Carolina in the championship.

Ralph N. Paulk is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at rpaulk@tribweb.com or via Twitter @RalphPaulk_Trib.

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