It was a needed win after an up and down prior weekend at the Hofstra Invitational. And in the end, it was a pretty easy win for the Knights as they picked up three major decisions en route to the victory over the Terps.
But easy is a relative term, as there were some bumps in the road. “It was a good win for us in our Big Ten opener,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “We lost a couple of nationally-ranked matches which kind of doesn’t sit great right now, but that’s the sport. We’ll take it. We’re not going to apologize for a Big Ten win and we just have to move on to Midlands now and have a good second semester.”
Nationally-ranked matches. There is the issue. At 149, No. 15 Ken Theobold dropped a one-point decision to No. 12 and undefeated Alfred Bannister, losing 3-2. John Van Brill, who defeated two ranked wrestlers at Hofstra and was himself just ranked at No. 20, gave up a near fall and was downed 7-4 by unranked Justin Alexander at 157 pounds.
When you have ranked wrestlers, you look to them to lead the way. And Theobold losing to another ranked wrestler is a toss up, but it’s one you want/need to win. And Van Brill needs to learn to follow up on his successes. Look at the results in the Big Ten below. Every point, every match counts.
Goodale switched up his lineup, inserting redshirt freshman Brandon Paetzell (125 pounds) and junior Scott DelVecchio (133 pounds) who, along with No. 12 junior Nicholas Gravina (184 pounds), had major decisions to help the Knights secure the win.
The full match results are at the bottom of this post. The Scarlet Knights are back in action Dec. 29-30 at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Illinois.
Richie Lewis took a momentous 17-6 win at the Battle at the Birthplace a month ago. He hasn’t wrestled since. Lewis will likely take a medical redshirt if he undergoes shoulder surgery as expected. As reported by nj.com’s Ryan Dunleavy, Lewis came to Rutgers last year with three years to use two of eligibility. He finished fifth in the Big Ten Championships and was a NCAA qualifier at 157 pounds last season. While Goodale will give Lewis the option, it’s more likely he will have season-ending surgery.
"He'll be held back if he's always thinking about it," Goodale said, "so the best bet is, 'Let's go get it done and come back stronger and better than he's ever been. At the moment, right now, it's tough, because he is so darn good. He's one of the best kids in the country. That's the upsetting part. At the same time, it puts us in position next year to be really, really good."
Individually, Rutgers suffered in the rankings. At this point in the season, when athletes are establishing themselves head-to-head, less than stellar performances (read bonus point wins) tend to knock you down. Nick Gravina was the only RU wrestler to maintain or advance in the rankings this week, jumping two spots in the Intermat rankings and up one spot in the Open Mat.
In the team rankings, after dropping a spot to No. 13 last week in the USA Today/NWCA Poll, the Knights bounced up to No. 11 after the Maryland win.
Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Anthony Rubinetti, Northwestern, 125 pounds, Fr. – Closter, N.J., Northern Valley Demarest
- Helped lead the Wildcats to a 33-10 victory over SIU-Edwardsville
- The unranked wrestler pinned No. 12 Freddie Rodriguez in 2:59
- Earns the first Wrestler of the Week Award of his career
Around the conference
Both within the conference and involving conference teams, a number of top ten teams were on the docket this past weekend in the B1G.
Nebraska also topped North Carolina over the weekend.
No. 12 Rutgers (6-1, 1-0 B1G) 21, Maryland (1-4, 0-1 B1G) 13
125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) major decision over Alex Vargas (MD), 12-4 (0-4)
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) major decision over Michael Beck (MD), 14-6 (0-8)
141: (6/6/6) Anthony Ashnault (RU) decision over Billy Rappo (MD), 5-1 (0-11)
149: #12 Alfred Bannister (MD) decision over (15/12/12) Ken Theobold (RU), 3-2 (3-11)
157: Justin Alexander (MD) decision over (20/NR/11) John Van Brill (RU), 7-4 (6-11)
165: Willie Scott (RU) decision over Danny Boychuck (MD), 5-1 (6-14)
174: Phillip Bakuckas (RU) decision over Sam Rowell (MD), 8-2 (6-17)
184: (12/12/10) Nicholas Gravina (RU) major decision over Idris White (MD), 11-3 (6-21)
197: David-Brian Whisler (MD) major decision over Matthew Correnti (RU), 8-0 (10-21)
285: Youssif Hemida (MD) decision over Marc McDonald (RU), 9-3 (13-21)
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open MatNR denotes not ranked