NCAA wrestling Day 1: Pitt’s Micky Phillippi, Nino Bonaccorsi advance to quarterfinals
Pitt redshirt freshmen Nino Bonaccori and Micky Phillippi moved into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Wrestling Championships on Thursday night, both sweating out tight, hard-fought victories in front of crowd of 17,957 at PPG Paints Arena.
Phillippi, the No. 3 seed from Derry, defeated Austin Gomez of Iowa State, 1-0, at 133 pounds. Bonaccorsi, No. 13 of Bethel Park, recorded one of the most stunning upsets of the day and improved his record to 21-6 when he knocked off No. 4 Emery Parker (18-4) of Illinois, 9-7, at 184.
Phillippi and Luke Pletcher of Latrobe and Ohio State wrestled on side-by-side mats in the second round, but they’ll be on the same mat Friday in the quarterfinals — wrestling each other.
No. 5 Pletcher defeated No. 12 Montorie Bridges of Wyoming, 5-3. After a scoreless first period, Phillippi prevailed over Gomez. The only point of the match was Phillippi’s second-period escape.
No. 10 seed Roman Bravo-Young of Penn State dropped into the 133 wrestlebacks when he lost to No. 7 Austin DeSanto of Iowa, 7-2.
Overall, defending champion Penn State maintained its lead in the team standings, 32 1/2-25 1/2, over Ohio State while sending six wrestlers into the quarterfinals.
Other second-round results
Franklin Regional’s Spencer Lee of Iowa moved into the quarterfinals with a dominant 10-1 victory against No. 14 Sean Fausz of N.C. State. Lee, the defending champion at 125 pounds, came into the tournament as the No. 3 seed.
In a wrestleback match, North Hills graduate Gage Curry of American was eliminated when he was pinned by Jay Schwarm of Northern Illinois.
Penn State’s Nick Lee, No. 3 seed, pinned No. 19 Sa’Denian Perry of Old Dominion in the second period to reach the quarterfinals. It was Lee’s second pin of the day.
Lock Haven’s Kyle Shoop (33-6) recorded a stunning upset when the No. 13 seed scored a 19-10 major decision against Northern Illinois’ Josh Alber (32-6), the No. 4 seed.
Austin Headlee of Waynesburg and North Carolina stayed alive in the wrestlebacks by pinning Chris Debien of Chattanooga.
Penn State’s Brady Berge, the No. 12, seed lost to No. 5 seed Matthew Kolodzik, 8-4.
In the wrestlebacks, West Virginia’s Christian Monserrat defeated Michigan’s Malik Amine, 7-3.
Penn State’s Josh Nolf of Kittanning, the top seed, had no trouble moving into the quarterfinals, defeating No. 16 John Van Brill of Rutgers with a 19-4 technical fall.
Pitt’s Taleb Rahmani moved on with an 11-3 victory against Hunter Willis of Oregon State in the wrestlebacks. Belle Vernon’s Zach Hartman of Bucknell also won his wrestleback match, 12-9, over Brown’s Christian Labrie.
Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph, the No. 2 seed and a Central Catholic graduate, kept No. 15 Connor Flynn of Missouri under control throughout the match. The two-time defending champion turned his dominance into an 8-4 victory.
No. 3 Josh Shields of Arizona State and Franklin Regional defeated No. 14 Jesse Dellavecchia of Rider, 10-2.
In the wrestlebacks, Clarion’s Evan Delong was eliminated by Gordon Wolf of Lehigh, 12-10, but West Virginia’s Nick Klussis advanced with a 3-1 overtime decision against Tyle Marinelli of George Washington.
Mark Hall remained undefeated (28-0) and the No. 1 seed from Penn State advanced to the quarterfinals with an 8-3 victory against No. 16 Brandon Womack of Cornell.
In the wrestlebacks, Edinboro’s Jacob Oliver lost to Iowa State’s Marcus Coleman, 9-4, but Latrobe’s Ethan Smith of Ohio State advanced with an 8-6 victory against Rider’s Dean Sherry.
Penn State suffered its first loss of the day when No. 2 seed Shakur Rasheed, who had been undefeated through his first 19 matches this season, lost to No. 15 Chip Ness of North Carolina, 8-6.
Top seed Bo Nickal (27-0) of Penn State recorded his second pin of the day when he defeated Josh Hokit of Fresno State, the No. 16 seed.
In the wrestlebacks, Clarion’s Greg Bulsak of South Park lost to Cornell’s Benjamin Honis, 8-6, but West Virginia’s Noah Adams advanced, 8-3, over Brandon Whitman of North Carolina. Pitt’s Kellan Stout was eliminated, 4-2, by Anthony McLaughlin of Air Force.
Penn State’s Anthony Cassar, the No. 2 seed, defeated No. 15 Tate Orndoff of Utah Valley, 10-2. Cassar has won 27 of 28 matches this season.
Pitt’s Demetrius Thomas, the No. 8 seed, dropped into the wrestlebacks with a 27-5 record after losing to No. 9 Matt Stencel of Central Michigan, 17-9.
In the wrestlebacks, WVU’s Brandon Ngati lost a 10-0 major decision to Nebraska’s David Jensen.
Earlier Thursday, Penn State continued to display its dominance when all nine Nittany Lions won their first-round matches in front of a crowd of 17.949.
Franklin Regional graduate Spencer Lee of Iowa, the No. 3 seed, defeated No. 30 Bryce West of Northern Illinois, 18-0, in a first-round match.
Earlier, North Hills grad and No. 28 seed Gage Curry of American was pinned by Virginia’s Jack Mueller, No. 5.
ACC champion Micky Phillippi of Derry and Pitt scored a 4-2 decision against Fresno State’s Gary Joint, the No. 29 seed. Phillippi, the most valuable wrestler at the ACC championships, is the No. 4 seed.
That made Phillippi a 20-match winner against only two defeats this season, but he wasn’t totally pleased with his match.
“I don’t want it to be close, but a win’s a win and I’m just going to keep moving forward,” he said.
Also at 133, Latrobe’s Luke Pletcher of Ohio State, the No. 5 seed trying to improve on his fourth-place finish a year ago, defeated No. 28 Tim Rooney of Kent State, 12-3.
Pletcher had a better start than he did last year when he defeated Stanford’s Mason Pengilly, 2-1.
“I just wanted to go out and start well,” he said. “I wanted to make sure he didn’t want to be here.”
Pletcher (24-5) will face All-American Montorie Bridges of Wyoming in the second round. Bridges finished eighth in 2018.
“It starts getting harder right away,” Pletcher said.
The first winner from defending NCAA champion Penn State was No. 10 Roman Bravo-Young, who defeated Mario Guillen of Ohio, 8-2. Bravo-
Young improved to 21-5.
Penn State’s Nick Lee, the No. 3 seed, pinned No. 30 Nate Limmex of Purdue.
Penn State’s Brad Berge, the No. 12 seed, advanced with a 6-3 victory against No. 21 Khristian Olivas of Fresno State. No. 23 seed Josh Maruca of Franklin Regional and Arizona State lost, 5-2, to No. 10 seed Pat Lugo of Iowa.
Top seed and two-time defending champion Jason Nolf of Penn State and Kittanning needed only 43 seconds to pin Duke’s Ben Anderson, the No. 33 seed. Pitt’s Taleb Rahmani, the No. 12 seed, was upset by No. 21 Justin Thomas of Ohio, 7-1.
No. 2 seed Vincenzo Joseph of Penn State and Central Catholic took his first step toward what he hopes will beb his third national championship when he pinned Clarion’s Evan DeLong, the No. 31 seed.
Top seed Mark Hall of Penn State remained undefeated (27-0) when he defeated No. 33 Devin Kane of North Carolina, 10-2.
Bethel Park’s Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt, the No. 13 seed, advanced with an 10-4 victory against No. 20 Will Sumner of Utah Valley. “I felt great,” said Bonaccorsi, who made his first NCAA championship appearance. “It was an awesome experience.”
Virginia Tech’s Zach Zavatsky of Latrobe, the No. 3 seed defeated No. 30 Dom Ducharme of Cal State-Bakersfield, 8-2. Penn State’s Shakur Rasheed, the No. 2 seed, remained undefeated (19-0) with an 11-2 victory against No. 31 Kevin Parker of Princeton.
No. 1 seed and two-time defending champion Bo Nickal of Penn State pinned No. 32 Ethan Laird of Rider in the first period. Pitt’s Kellan Stout, the No. 23 seed, lost to No. 10 Tom Sleigh of Virginia Tech.
Pitt’s Demetrius Thomas, the No. 8 seed and this year’s ACC heavyweight champion, improved to 27-4 with an 11-7 victory against Iowa State’s Gannon Gremmel.
West Virginia’s Brandon Ngati, the No. 32 seed, beat No. 33 and former alternate Jacob Aven of Purdue, 6-1. Later, Ngati lost to No. 1 seed Derek White of Oklahoma State, 10-2. The No. 2 seed, Anthony Cassar of Penn State, recorded a second-period pin of No. 31 Antonio Pelusi of Frankli & Marshall.
Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .