He sat there patiently. Dark-rimmed glasses making him look like a studious young man waiting for his turn to address the class.
In fact, he was waiting his turn, as media members turned first to Ohio State transfer Anthony Campolattano and four-time state champion Anthony Ashnault. It was the first ever Rutgers Wrestling Media Day. The reporters had questions for Ashnault about his high school successes and his early success at the collegiate level. They talked with Campolattano about his decision to forgo football, even after getting a scholarship offer from Greg Schiano, and to go out of state to continue his wrestling career.
And Anthony Perrotti waited patiently.
The "other" Anthony. The "other" Anthony who had already done what the other two had not: he was a NCAA wrestling All American.
It had been 12 years since Rutgers had put a wrestler on the podium at the national tournament. In 2014, Anthony Perrotti did it. And it wasn't an easy run.
He lost his first bout. But he was to become one of just three wrestlers at the NCAA's to lose their first match and bounce back to become an All-American. Perrotti defeated three ranked opponents in a row after his first loss in the championships, including a pin against No. 9/9/9 Roger Pena of Oregon State. He also defeated ranked foes No. 14/NR/17 Zach Brunson (Illinois) and No. 8/8/7 Nestor Taffur (Boston University) at the championships. To put a cherry on top, Anthony's 10 second pin of Pena was the second fastest time in NCAA Wrestling Championships history by collegiate rules.
So what does that mean for his team as they head into Big Ten competition? "Everything has changed because of our All American", said Head Coach Scott Goodale. "The whole room, dating back to March, has changed. Guys believe that if Anthony Perrotti can do it then I can do it, too. So that has helped in our training and our preparation. And our guys are excited to take that next step from an individual standpoint. Now you throw in the whole team aspect of who we have to wrestle, it makes it easier. To be an All American you have to beat the best guys. Now they're going to have a great opportunity to put themselves in position to get the opportunity to wrestle those guys during the dual meet season. I believe our guys believe they can win just based on what Anthony did."
And, of course, All Americans are destined to be that, right? Again, Goodale on Perrotti: "He wasn't our best wrestler, but he had a great national tournament. He wasn't our best wrestler and now he's up there as one of our best wrestlers. And that comes from confidence."
Goodale and the entire team are excited about the upcoming season, and a lot of it revolves around the success last year by Perrotti, by having an All American in your room. "He's gotten a lot better. That comes with confidence. At this level, when you're winning there's nothing like having confidence. He's more confident now than he's ever been. His whole training has changed. All that rubs off on other guys. He had a tremendous spring and summer and he's gotten stronger, he's gotten bigger, he's gotten better."
The 2011 New Jersey state titlist filled in at three weights his freshman year, then red-shirted as a sophomore. He was patient. And now, the "other" Anthony doesn't need to be patient anymore. Anthony Perrotti, All American, is ready for the Big Ten.