I have to preface this email by saying that I'm a "Yinzer" from Pittsburgh, PA.
Yet, I greatly dislike the University of Pittsburgh. Sorry if that offends you, but I'm a Penn Stater haha.
Anyways, I'll still give you an unbiased preview of the 2023 Pitt Panthers. . .
Who's Returning & Leaving?
Pitt is taking some heavy losses. For instance, 2021 NCAA finalist Jake Wentzel (165) is gone. Also, say goodbye to Elijah Clearly (157) and Gregg Harvey (184). The only other Panther leaving is lightweight Gage Curry (125).
On the bright side, NCAA semifinalist Cole Matthews (5th - 141) and 2021 finalist Nino Bonaccorsi (197) are back. National qualifier Micky Philippi (133) also returns for his final shot at making the podium.
Two returners seeking a chance to qualify for Nationals are Dan Mancini (149) and Jacob Slinger (285).
Transfers, New Starters, & Recruits
Transfers - Remember "that Citadel kid who upset Austin O'Connor"? Well, that's Dazjon Casto (157), and he transferred to Pitt (per FloWrestling).
Additionally, 2021 NCAA qualifier Holden Heller (165) and his brother Reece (174) transferred from Hofstra. Don't be shocked if Reece is challenged by PA State Champ and top 50 recruit Luca Augustine at the weight.
New Starters - While Colton Camacho (125) started in 2021, he lost out to Gage Curry last season. Well, he's back with a vengeance. Finally, NY State Champ Nick Meglino will likely earn the starting spot at 184 lbs.
Top Recruits - While I'm super stoked to see how top 50 recruits and Pennsylvania natives Dayton Pitzer and Mac Stout turn out, I don't expect them to start this season due to Nino Bonaccorsi being at the weight. But I do wonder if one of them may drop?
2023 Lineup Preview
Here's how I expect the team to look in 2023:
- 125. Colton Camacho
- 133. Micky Phillippi
- 141. Cole Matthews (5th)
- 149. Dan Mancini
- 157. Dazjon Casto
- 165. Holden Heller
- 174. L. Augustine / R. Heller
- 184. Nick Meglino
- 197. Nino Bonaccorsi
- 285. Jacob Slinger
What to Expect
Pitt has risen to the occasion at Nationals in the past few years. Heck, two NCAA finalists in 2021 and a semifinalist in 2022. That's impressive (credit where it's due). This may honestly be their best year yet, as I expect Matthews and Bonaccorsi to make runs.
Overall, they could score around 40 points and finish top 15.
They'll struggle in the ACC against Virginia Tech and NC State, but that doesn't matter if they're putting guys in the NCAA finals.
Are you a Pitt fan?
Josiah Hritsko Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling
Wrestling Fan & Founder of Fanco Wrestling