I was a little concerned.
No, I was very concerned. The team wasn’t dominating. It wasn’t pushing past good teams and good wrestlers.
That changed at the Midlands.
Six RU wrestlers placed and the team finished fourth in a deep and very tough field.
And head coach Scott Goodale saw a lot to be happy about in the results. "I thought we wrestled with a ton of effort and won a bunch of big individual matchups," said Goodale. "I loved our fight and toughness all tournament long, but we also need to be more disciplined in certain situations and continue to do the little things right in big matches - our focus late, our positioning, finding a go to shoot in overtimes. All that matters."
Anthony Ashnault (141) was the top place winner for the Knights with a third place finish. He was literally seconds away from making it into the finals when a controversial call - a penalty point in OT - cost him the semi-final bout against NC State’s Kevin Jack.
Despite that, Ashnault had a phenomenal tournament with one pin, three tech falls, a major and a regular decision.
Nicholas Gravina (184) took sixth following a medical default. Gravina had several good wins including wins over No. 11 Ian Baker (Princeton) and No. 3 Pete Renda (NC State).
Tyson Dippery (133) also had two big victories, topping No. 5 Emilio Saavedra (Old Dominion) by fall and No. 16 Jacob Colon (Grand View) by tech.
Goodale felt the experience was a big plus for the Knights. "The Midlands Championships is a tough tournament that ultimately prepares us for the Big Ten season. We wrestled well enough in a lot of spots to gain some valuable match experience up and down the lineup. We are excited that we placed six guys but we felt we left some points out there out of our scorers. But again, I love our fight in a lot of spots."
Iowa defended its Midlands Championships title with a 150.5-point showing. Nebraska finished second with 135.5 points, Arizona State third with 106.5 points, and Illinois fifth with 83 points. Rutgers faces Illinois this coming Friday at the RAC. Need I say more?
Complete Rutgers Results
Brandon Paetzell | Freshman | 125 Pounds | 1-2
Dalton Duffield (Oklahoma) W-F, 3:54
No. 3 Shakur Laney (Ohio) L-D, 5-3 (SV)
No. 9 Anthony Rubinetti (Northwestern) L-MD, 19-10
No. 11 Scott DelVecchio | Redshirt Junior | 133 Pounds | 5-3 | Sixth Place
Dylan Duncan (Illinois) W-D, 9-7
Billy Rappo (Maryland) L-D, 8-3
No. 15 Ian Parker (Iowa State) W-D, 12-6
Phillip Laux (Iowa) W-D, 8-6
Luke Karam (Lehigh) W-D, 4-2
Eli Stickley (Wisconsin) W-F, 5:43
No. 3 Seth Gross (South Dakota St.) L-TF, 19-3
No. 12 Jamal Morris (NC State) L-D, 7-5
No. 6 Tyson Dippery | Redshirt Junior | 133 Pounds | 4-2
Billy Rappo (Maryland) L-F, 4:17
No. 5 Emilio Saavedra (Old Dominion) W-F, 6:18
Dylan Duncan (Illinois) W-D, 12-8
No. 16 Jacob Colon (Grand View) W-TF, 16-0
John Muldoon (SIU-Edwardsville) W-F, 0:13
No. 7 Cameron Kelly (Ohio) L-F, 1:47
No. 3 Anthony Ashnault | Redshirt Junior | 141 Pounds | 6-1 | Third Place
Jordan Reich (Princeton) W-F, 4:33
John Meeks (Iowa State) W-TF, 17-0
Nick Zanetta (Pittsburgh) W-MD, 14-5
No. 6 Russell Rohlfing (CSU Bakersfield) W-TF, 18-1
No. 2 Kevin Jack (NC State) L-D, 3-2
Kanen Storr (Iowa State) W-D, 2-1
No. 12 Chad Red (Nebraska) W-TF, 17-0
No. 7 Ken Theobold | Redshirt Senior | 149 Pounds | 3-2
Jerren Glosser (Iowa) W-D, 4-0
Chase Straw (Iowa State) W-D, 8-2
John Fahy (SIU-Edwardsville) W-D, 9-2
No. 2 Justin Oliver (Central Michigan) L-F, 6:00
No. 16 Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma) L-TF, 16-0
No. 14 Anthony Giraldo | Redshirt Sophomore | 149 Pounds | 5-2 | Seventh Place
Gene Oliver Pierce (Arizona State) W-D, 6-2
Eric Yang (Northwestern) W-MD, 17-4
No. 3 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) W-D, 2-1 (TB-1)
No. 6 Joey Delgado (Oregon State) L-D, 3-2 (TB-1)
Joshua Maruca (Arizona State) W-D, 4-3
No. 16 Davion Jeffries (Oklahoma) L-F, 0:51
No. 3 Alfred Bannister (Maryland) W-D, 4-3
Eleazar DeLuca | Senior | 157 Pounds | 1-2
Fred Green (Boise State) W-D, 7-3
No. 3 Jason Tsirtsis (Northwestern) L-D, 7-4
Jared Scharenbrock (Wisconsin) L-Inj. Def.
No. 13 John Van Brill | Redshirt Sophomore | 157 Pounds | 4-3 | Eighth Place
Andrew Fierro (Boise State) W-TF, 19-4
Tyler Ponte (Columbia) W-F, 3:54
No. 4 Clayton Ream (North Dakota St.) W-F, 5:34
No. 5 Colin Heffernan (Central Michigan) L-D, 4-3
No. 6 Dawaylon Barnes (Oklahoma) W-D, 4-2
No. 8 Joshua Shields (Arizona State) L-D, 7-2
No. 10 Alex Griffin (Purdue) L-D, 5-1
Anthony Pafumi | Redshirt Senior | 165 Pounds | 1-2
No. 16 Luke Zilverberg (South Dakota St.) L-D, 4-0
Daniel Bullard (NC State) W-D, 3-0
Abner Romero (Old Dominion) L-D, 7-5
Willie Scott | Redshirt Freshman | 165 Pounds | 1-2
Devan Marry (Eastern Michigan) W-MD, 9-0
No. 10 Grant Henderson (Grand View) L-D, 7-6
No. 7 Joseph Gunther (Iowa) L-MD, 10-0
Jordan Pagano | Redshirt Sophomore | 174 Pounds | 5-2 | Seventh Place
No. 7 Ryan Christensen (Wisconsin) W-D, 4-0
No. 10 Josef Johnson (Harvard) L-D, 4-2 (SV)
Garrett Sutton (Michigan) W-D, 3-1
Jacob Morrrissey (Purdue) W-D, 10-3
No. 5 David Kocer (South Dakota St.) W-D, 5-2
Devin Skatzka (Indiana) L-D, 7-2
No. 10 Josef Johnson (Harvard) W-D, 15-2
No. 6 Nicholas Gravina | Redshirt Junior | 184 Pounds | 4-2 | Sixth Place
Michael Aldrich (Northern Illinois) W-TF, 19-2
Jake Godinez (SIU Edwardsville) W-F, 3:28
No. 11 Ian Baker (Princeton) W-MD, 12-2
No. 3 Pete Renda (NC State) W-D, 8-2
No. 7 Jack Dechow (Old Dominion) L-D, 4-2 (SV-2)
No. 4 Samuel Brooks (Iowa) L-D, 8-4
No. 3 Pete Renda (NC State) L-Med. Forf.*
Kevin Mulligian | Freshman | 197 Pounds | 2-2
Lance Dixon (Oklahoma) L-D, 9-2
Anthony Messner (Rutgers) W-D, 9-2
Devin King (Ohio) W-D, 4-1
No. 15 Cash Wilcke (Iowa) L-D, 6-2
Anthony Messner | Redshirt junior | 197 Pounds | 0-2
No. 5 Kevin Beazley (Old Dominion) L-TF, 16-0
Kevin Mulligan (Rutgers) L-D, 9-2