Wrestling: Pitt enters bout with Virginia riding hot streak

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Posted: Thursday, January 23, 2014 9:30 pm | Updated: 10:04 pm, Thu Jan 23, 2014.

Just five days removed from its upset of then-No. 5 Oklahoma State, the No. 8 Pitt wrestling team is back in action.

The Panthers host No. 13 Virginia tonight at 7 p.m. at the Fitzgerald Field House in a meeting between the ACC’s top two wrestling teams. Virginia is 2-0 in the conference with a big victory over in-state rival Virginia Tech, a team that is now ranked 17th.

“We have to turn the page and get ready for Virginia on Friday,” senior heavyweight P.J. Tasser said. “That match is just as important [as the Oklahoma State match].”

Pitt also has a 2-0 ACC record after defeating Duke and North Carolina State by more than 20 points. Virginia is the Panthers’ first ranked ACC opponent.

Virginia boasts six top-20 wrestlers, according to InterMat Wrestling, highlighted by No. 2 165-pounder Nick Sulzer.

Of the six ranked Cavaliers, three will meet ranked Panthers. At 141 pounds, Pitt’s No. 19 Edgar Bright is projected to go against No. 16 Joe Spisak.

The next two ranked matchups come at the 174- and 184-pound weight classes.

Pitt’s No. 7 Tyler Wilps will look to bounce back after his loss last week with a victory over No. 12 Stephen Doty.

The highest-ranked Panther, No. 6 Max Thomusseit, is projected to wrestle against No. 20 Jon Fausey at 184 pounds.

Another match of interest is at 149 pounds, where unranked freshman Mikey Racciato will try to notch his second straight victory over a top-10 opponent. After taking down No. 9 Josh Kindig of Oklahoma State, Racciato will face Virginia’s No. 10 Gus Sako, who enters Friday night with a 14-1 record.

Tonight’s winner will control its own destiny for the regular season conference title.

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