An exciting and wildly successful season for Rutgers wrestling continued this week, as Rutgers placed third in the Midlands Championships.
With 110 team points, the Scarlet Knights finished behind just by No. 2 Iowa (152) and No. 9 Nebraska (135) in the two-day event. They even finished ahead of No. 3 NC State, who had 95.5 points.
As far individual performances go, Rutgers had seven guys place in their respective weight classes. Three of them were fourth-place finishers: Anthony Giraldo at 133, Anthony Ashnault at 141, and Richie Lewis at 157. Philip Bakuckas finished fifth at 174, Billy Smith placed fifth at heavyweight, Hayden Hrymack finished sixth at 197 and Nicholas Gravina finished eighth at 184.
Seven placewinners is by far a new record for Rutgers at the Midlands, as their previous high was four at the 2010 event.
Ashnault, Lewis and Smith led the way with six wins each.
The conclusion of the Midlands Championships signals the end of regular season tournament play for Rutgers. Until the Big Ten Tournament in March, the Scarlet Knights will focus on dual meets from here on out.
Rutgers has been extremely successful in duals so far. They are 10-2, with their only losses coming against No. 2 Iowa and a narrow defeat at the hands of No. 22 Oklahoma.
Despite the two losses, Scott Goodale and the Scarlet Knights have a number of impressive wins on their resume. Five of their wins have come against ranked opponents, including No. 13 North Carolina, No. 25 Northern Iowa, No. 18 Oregon State, No. 7 Cornell, and in perhaps the biggest win in program history, No. 4 Nebraska.
Rutgers now has over a week to prepare for their next Big Ten test, when Michigan State visits the RAC on January 8th.
With all of the disappointment and controversy surrounding Rutgers football over the past few months, wrestling has been a beacon of hope, and should continue to be Rutgers' most exciting program heading into the new year.