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Panther 141-pounder Defeats Five Foes, Including Eighth-Ranked Randy Cruz of Lehigh
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) — Pitt junior Mikey Racciato was named the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Wrestler of the Week, after winning five straight matches, including a 3-2 decision over Lehigh’s Randy Cruz, the nation’s eighth-ranked wrestler at 141 pounds.
Racciato’s honor is the first this year for the Panthers, who lost to Lehigh (27-7) last week but finished first in the Keystone Classic at Penn.
Racciato, from Pen Argyl, Pa., began the week with the 3-2 decision over Cruz, then defeated Jimmy Moris of Rider in a Technical Fall (20-5), Al Vindici of Penn in a major decision (15-5), and added decisions over Rick Durso of F&M (7-5) and Todd Preston of Harvard (3-2) at the Keystone Classic.
The quintet of wins boosted Racciato to 10th in the weekly national collegiate rankings at 141 pounds produced by InterMat after not being ranked the week previously. Racciato is one of four ACC wrestlers ranked in the nation’s Top 25 at 141, including NC State’s Kevin Jack (2nd), North Carolina’s Evan Henderson (7th) and Virginia Tech’s Solomon Chishko (8th).
Racciato was chosen over a pool of nominees that included NC State senior 285-pounder Nick Gwiazdowski and North Carolina sophomore 165-pounder Ethan Ramos.
Gwiazdowski, the two-time national champion at 285 pounds from Delanson, N.Y., and the nation’s No. 1-ranked wrestler, also won five matches, four of them by fall and one by a major decision. Wrestling at the Wolfpack Open, he pinned Mitchel Thomas of North Carolina (4:08), Christian Varner of Cumberland (2:27), Boyce Cornwell of Gardner-Webb (3.52) and Brendan Walsh (1:44) of Duke. He then recorded a major decision over 18th-ranked Jared Johnson of Chattanooga. Gwiazdowski has now won 63 consecutive matches, the longest current streak of any wrestler in the nation.
Ramos, who earned All-America honors last year as a freshman, helped lead North Carolina to a 25-12 dual match win over Gardner-Webb with a fall over GW’s Cole Graves at the 1:00 mark in their match at 165 pounds. Ramos, from Hawthorne, N.J., is ranked fifth nationally at 165 this week by InterMat.
The 2016 Atlantic Coast Conference Wrestling Championship will be hosted by the University of Virginia on Sunday, March 6. The one-day tournament, which will take place at the John Paul Jones Arena Center in Charlottesville, Va., will begin at 11 a.m.
2015-16 ACC Wrestlers of the Week
Nov. 10—Ty Walz, Virginia Tech (285)
Nov. 17—Solomon Chishko, Virginia Tech (141)
Nov. 24—Mikey Racciato, Pitt (141)