Two matches in two days is never easy. More so when the second match is against the No. 4 team in the country. And the casual observer says, "they still lost' that second match. But wait....there's more.
Wrestling its second match over the weekend, while everyone else was preparing for theirparties, Rutgers wrestling split the weekend matches, topping Navy on Saturday, 20-15, before losing a conference match to No. 4 Ohio State, 23-17. The Knights are now 11-6, 1-6 Big Ten.
Against the Buckeyes, the Stieber brothers were not in the lineup. But that doesn't take away from a good showing in which the Knights split the bouts 5-5 and had a 14-5 lead at the intermission.
The Scarlet Knights led with two upset wins, prompting thunderous roars from the over 1500 fans at the College Ave. Gym before intermission. But Ohio State rattled off four consecutive wins in response to capture the dual.
Two huge wins came from 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio and 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti as each earned their best wins of the season Sunday against top-10 ranked Buckeyes. No. NR/19/NR DelVecchio, wrestling a frenetic final minute, saw a stall point and illegal hold point go his way to take a 2-1 lead. He then reversed No. 7/8/9 Johnni DiJulius with 0:16 seconds left, getting three back points as the final horn sounded to win, 7-1.
No. 17/20/17 Perrotti was wrestling only his third match since January 9, and put together a reversal and near fall as time expired in the second period, building his lead to 7-2. He then rode No. 9/8/9 Josh Demas to start the third period and outlasted the redshirt senior for an 8-5 win.
"I'm excited for those guys that pulled a couple upsets there and beat some nationally ranked guys," said eighth-year head coach Scott Goodale. "That goes a long way in the national rankings and Big Ten seeding, so for guys like DelVecchio and Perrotti that's huge.
"I loved the way we came out in the beginning, it's just where they had their horses we couldn't match their horses. They're really, really good and they're really, really good for a reason."
Ashnault recorded eight near fall points in his win, making his dual record a team-best 15-2 on the year. Theobold became the first Scarlet Knight to reach 20 wins and is now 20-4 on the season. Theobold has won his last seven matches and is 6-1 in Big Ten duals.
With the match decided entering the heavyweight bout, No. 14/18/20 Billy Smith scored a 5-2 win against Ray Gordon. Smith had riding time with the match tied and 10 seconds remaining, but sealed the decision with a takedown. With the exception of the win against Maryland, this was the best Big Ten showing for the Knights, scoring more points and winning more bouts than in any other contest against a high level opponent.
On Saturday, the Knights jumped out to a 14-3 lead, saw Navy charge back to take a one-point lead, but then finished with a flourish. 197-pounder Hayden Hrymack and heavyweight Billy Smith earned key decisions to halt the Navy surge and end the dual on top, 20-15, at the College Ave. Gym. With that win, the No. 22 Scarlet Knights match their overall dual record from the 2013-14 season.
Trailing, 3-2, with a minute left in the 197-pound matchup, Hrymack needed a takedown to end a string of three-straight Navy wins. The Christian Brothers Academy (N.J.) product converted at the 33-second mark and rode tough to close, hanging on before Steban Cervantes could escape along the edge in a 4-3 win.
At 133-pounds Scott DelVecchio clocked 2:19 minutes of riding time in a 7-4 win against former NCAA qualifier Colton Rasche, improving his record to 15-6 overall. 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault returned to the win column with an 11-2 major decision versus Patrick Prada, his second major of the season.
Ken Theobold won his sixth-straight match at 149-pounds, 6-1, against Cody Wilding. At 157-pounds, 2014 All-American Anthony Perrotti got back on track with a dominant, 11-1 major decision against Navy's Drew Daniels. The No. 17/20/17-ranked Perrotti posted four takedowns and 2:51 of riding time in the win, his 13th of the year.
Following Hrymack's late heroics, a 4-3 decision, it set up Billy Smith's 8-1 decision to seal the Scarlet Knights' seventh victory against the Naval Academy in series history.
Follow Rutgers Wrestling here at On the Banks. Our weekly report on rankings will appear on Wednesday.
No. 22 Rutgers 20, Navy 15
125: Cameron Timok (NAVY) dec. over Sean McCabe (RU), 6-4
133: No. NR/19/NR Scott DelVecchio (RU) dec. over Colton Rasche (NAVY), 7-4
141: No. 9/7/12 Anthony Ashanult (RU) major dec. over Patrick Prada (NAVY), 11-2
149: No. 17/17/17 Ken Theobold (RU) dec. over Cory Wilding (NAVY), 6-1
157: No. 17/20/17 Anthony Perrotti (RU) major dec. over Drew Daniels (NAVY), 11-1
165: No. 16/15/11 Peyton Walsh (NAVY) dec. over Nick Visicaro (RU), 4-2
174: Jadaen Bernstein (NAVY) dec. over No. 19/17/18 Phil Bakuckas (RU), 6-4 (SV)
184: Mike Woulfe (NAVY) wins by fall over Anthony Pafumi (RU), 3:22
197: Hayden Hrymack (RU) dec. over Steban Cervantes (NAVY), 4-3
285: No. 14/18/20 Billy Smith (RU) dec. over Colynn Cook (NAVY), 8-1; Rutgers wins, 20-15
No. 4 Ohio State 23, No. 22 Rutgers 17
125: No. 7/6/7/7 Nathan Tomasello (OSU) tech fall over Josh Patrick (RU), 23-8
133: No. NR/19/20 NR Scott DelVecchio (RU) dec. over No. 7/8/9/5 Johnni DiJulius (OSU), 7-1
141: No. 9/7/12/9 Anthony Ashnault (RU) tech fall over Sal Marandino (OSU), 20-4
149: No. 17/17/17/16 Ken Theobold (RU) dec. over Randall Languis (OSU), 3-0
157: No. 17/20/17/19 Anthony Perrotti (RU) dec. over No. 9/8/9/7 Josh Demas (OSU), 8-5
165: No. 5/4/5/5 Bo Jordan (OSU) tech fall over Nick Visicaro (RU), 16-0; Rutgers leads, 14-10
174: No. 13/10/17/13 Mark Martin (OSU) dec. over No. 19/17/18/NR Phillip Bakuckas (RU), 8-2
184: No. 12/12/NR/16 Kenny Courts (OSU) tech fall over Taylor Jackson (RU), 16-1
197: No. 4/4/5/5 Kyle Snyder (OSU) tech fall over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 24-8
285: No. 14/18/20/11 Billy Smith (RU) dec. over Ray Gordon (OSU), 5-2; Ohio State wins, 23-17
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / The Open Mat / WIN Magazine/ Flo Wrestling (Jan. 27)