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Rutgers Wrestling - Here we go

A tenth place finish in the Big Ten in 2014-15 was a pretty good start, perhaps better than many expected. But the stakes and the goals are higher for year two.

scarletknights.com

Halloween is almost here, football season is virtually over.  That could mean only one thing.  No, Dave, I'm not talking about hoops.

It's wrestling season!

And the Knights open up on Sunday with the Rutgers Duals at the College Avenue Gym beginning at 10 AM.  The quad match features Rutgers facing off against Centenary, Franklin & Marshall, and Binghamton.  RU enters the season ranked No. 18, the first time since 2011 that the Knights have opened a season in the Top 25.

Rutgers is one of nine Big Ten schools to open in the rankings.

NWCAA/USA Today Rankings

Rank Team (First) 14-15 Points Conference 14-15 Final
Record Dual Rank
1 Oklahoma State (10) 12-3 294 Big 12 7
2 Penn State (1) 11-4 284 Big Ten 6
3 Michigan (1) 8-6 269 Big Ten 11
4 Iowa 17-1 257 Big Ten 2
5 Ohio State 13-4 248 Big Ten 5
6 Virginia Tech 14-2 238 ACC 10
7 Lehigh 14-6 235 EIWA 9
8 Cornell 17-2 217 EIWA 3
9 Missouri 24-0 206 MAC 1
10 Nebraska 14-1 203 Big Ten 11
11 Illinois 13-5 165 Big Ten 12
15 Wisconsin 9-4 123 Big Ten 15
17 Minnesota 11-3 71 Big Ten 4
18 Rutgers 14-7 58 Big Ten 21

The start of year two

At the team's media day on Wednesday, Head Coach Scott Goodale was quite clear how he feels about rankings.  There are those coaches who dismiss them; not Goodale. "I care about the rankings. I want our program to be where we're supposed to be. I want us to keep climbing that ladder."  For now, the No. 18 ranking is in line with his thinking about where the team is.

Rutgers Wrestling via Twitter

With a nine match Big Ten schedule - including five home matches at the RAC - Goodale understands the challenges his team faces. "In the Big Ten, you have to have your best every time you're out there to be successful."  Rutgers goes into the season with three pre-seasion ranked wrestlers by Intermat (Anthony Ashnault, Anthony Perrotti, Billy Smith) and four by Flowrestling (previous three plus Anthony Giraldo).  Rutgers also returns two All Americans: Anthony Ashnault (2015) and Anthony Perrotti (2014).

Tickets

Season tickets are being delivered this week (I got mine today) and tickets for the fourth "Grapple at the Garden" are on sale now.  Rutgers will be in the event for the fourth consecutive year.  The price per ticket is $55, with a limited supply available. To purchase, fans can call the Rutgers ticket office at 1-866-445-GORU (4678).

The Scarlet Knights will wrestle former EIWA foe Cornell in their first match of the day at 10 a.m. at Madison Square Garden, and compete against George Mason at noon. Cornell finished fifth at the 2015 NCAA Championships in St. Louis.  The 2016 NCAA Wrestling Tournament will be at MSG March 17, 18, 19.