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Pitt upsets Northern Iowa

PITTSBURGH -- The University of Pittsburgh wrestling team upset No. 14 Northern Iowa, 21-19, Saturday afternoon at the Fitzgerald Field House thanks to a win in the final bout by heavyweight Demetrius Thomas.

With the victory, Pitt improves to 2-0 on the year, while UNI drops to 0-1. The Panthers now lead the all-time series 2-1, defeating UNI for the first time since 2000.

The individual wins were split down the middle at five a piece, but wins by redshirt junior Kellan Stout at 197 pounds and Thomas at heavyweight down the stretch were the difference makers.

Northern Iowa got on the board first at 125 pounds after Jay Schwarm pinned freshman Brendon Fenton in 4:50, taking the first lead 6-0.

The large and quick lead didn't faze redshirt freshman Micky Phillipi at 133 pounds, as the 13th-ranked Panther went out and pinned Jay Schipper in 2:39 to tie the dual 6-6.

Senior LJ Bentley was next on the mat for Pitt at 141 pounds as he faced No. 9 Josh Alber from UNI. Bentley fell behind early on and entered the final period trailing, 3-0. Beginning the third in the bottom position, Bentley used a reversal to cut Alber's lead to 3-2. With one minute to go, Alber escaped, bringing the score to what would be the final, 4-2. UNI regained the lead 9-6 following the win.

Making his senior debut at 149 pounds was Robert Lee as he faced Derek Holschag. After a scoreless first period, Lee began the second on bottom and escaped for the first point of the match. Entering the third with a 1-0 lead, Holschlag escaped to tie it 1-1. Lee looked for the late takedown, but couldn't execute before time expired. Moving to sudden victory, Lee used a quick takedown to seal the deal and the 3-2 win, tying the dual at 9-9.

Moving to 157 pounds, redshirt junior Taleb Rahmani, who ranks No. 8 in his weight class, faced Patrick Schoenfelder. Rahmani scored a quick takedown for the early 2-0 lead, but Schoenfelder escaped soon after. Rahmani then reversed Schoenfelder and caught him on his back for a pin in 2:36, giving Pitt a 15-9 lead in the team race.

UNI regained the lead in the dual after collecting three consecutive wins at 165, 174 and 184 pounds, 19-15.

With two bouts remaining, Stout stepped up to the challenge at 197 pounds as he faced Izaak Shedenhelm. Stout came out firing, scoring a quick takedown for a 2-0 lead. Shedenhelm was then hit was two consecutive stall warnings, giving Stout a 3-0 lead entering the second. Beginning the second frame in the top position, Stout rode out Shedenhelm the entire period and collected another point off a Shedenhelm stall warning. Entering the third in the bottom position, he escaped and added another point with riding time en route to the 6-0 decision, cutting UNI's lead to 19-18.

The heavyweight match would decide the outcome of the dual. Thomas faced Carter Isley and wasted no time scoring a takedown for the 2-0 lead. Isley escaped bringing the score to 2-1 entering the second. Thomas began the second frame on top, but an Isley escape would tie things 2-2. Moving to the final period, Thomas escaped and scored a takedown regaining the lead, 5-2. Isley escaped but it wouldn't be enough as Thomas scored another takedown and added on one more point with riding time. Thomas' win lifted Pitt to victory, 21-19.

The Panthers' last win over a ranked opponent was Jan. 7, 2018 when they upset No. 18 Oklahoma, 19-18, in similar fashion. Former heavyweight and 2018 graduate Ryan Solomon lifted Pitt to victory with a final-bout pin.

The Panthers will have some time off before their next competition as they head to Nevada for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite Nov. 30-Dec. 1.

Results:
125: Jacob Schwarm (UNI) pins Brendon Fenton (UP), 4:50 - UNI leads 6-0
133: #13 Micky Phillippi (UP) pins Jay Schipper (UNI), 2:39 - Tied 6-6
141: #9 Josh Alber (UNI) dec. LJ Bentley (UP), 4-2 - UNI leads 9-6
149: Robert Lee (UP) def. Derek Holschlag (UNI), SV-1, 3-1 - Tied 9-9
157: #8 Taleb Rahmani (UP) pins Pat Schoenfelder (UNI), 2:36 - Pitt leads 15-9
165: #9 Bryce Steiert (UNI) dec. Jake Wentzel (UP), 6-0 - Pitt leads 15-12
174: #9 Taylor Lujan (UNI) maj. dec. Gregg Harvey (UP), 9-1 - UNI leads 16-15
184: #10 Drew Foster (UNI) dec. #16 Nino Bonaccorsi (UP), 9-6 - UNI leads 19-15
197: Kellan Stout (UP) dec. Izaak Shedenhelm (UNI), 6-0 - UNI leads 19-18
285: Demetrius Thomas (UP) dec. Carter Isley (UNI), 9-3 - Pitt wins 21-18

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