The glow of finishing in fifth place at the Big Ten Wrestling Championships and qualifying all ten wrestlers for the NCAAs is gone. Not because Scott Goodale is a wet blanket and doesn't like to celebrate; he knows how great an achievement that is. It's just that there is more work to do.
"To go 10-for-10 is a goal we set out to attain at the beginning of the year," said Goodale. "We are happy for our guys, but that being said, we cannot allow ourselves to be content with being there. It needs to be about getting our hands raised."
Next stop, Madison Square Garden for the 2016 NCAA Wrestling Championships. The tournament opens on Thursday, March 17 at Noon and continues with six sessions ending on Saturday night, March 19.
The Rutgers Seeds
141-pound Big Ten champion Anthony Ashnault received the highest seed from the wrestling committee, earning a four seed. He faces Jamel Hudson from Hofstra. Hudson was 16-6 going into the EIWA tournament where he finished fourth. Ashnault and Hudson met in a 2014 dual match with Ashnault taking a 10-7 win.
141 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Ashnault
Wrestling in his fourth NCAA Championships, Heavyweight Billy Smith received the No. 12 seed after a fourth place finish at the. He opens the tournament against a familiar opponent, Oklahoma's Ross Larson, third place finisher in the Big XII tournament. Smith is 2-1 all-time against Larson, last facing the Sooner at the 2015 Midlands Championships in a 5-3 loss. Earlier in the season, Smith topped Larson, 8-1, in RU's narrow 19-18 dual loss to No. 22 Oklahoma at the Asics/Journeymen Northeast Duals on Nov. 3. If Smith wins his opening match against Larson, he faces a Big Ten opponent in Adam Coon, who topped Billy in the two teams' dual with a first period fall.
285 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Smith
At 165 pounds, Anthony Perrotti has the Knights second best seed at No. 7. Perrotti had to default and medical forfeit his last two matches in Iowa City, finishing in sixth place at the B1G tourney. His first round opponent is Appalachian State's Forrest Przscyz. App State won the Southern Conference tournament and Przscyz took second, losing to Austin Trott of Gardner-Webb, 5-4 on riding time. He lost to Indiana's Bryce Martin in the NWCA Dual, 5-4; Perrotti topped Martin 10-0 in their dual. He also saw Big Ten action at the Michigan State Open at the start of the season, where he went 2-1 against wrestlers from Wisconsin, Michigan, sand Michigan State. None of those B1G wrestlers competed against RU.
165 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Perrotti
Also seeded were No. 9at 157 pounds (5th place at B1G), No. 15 Nicholas Gravina at 184 pounds (4th place), and No. 16 Anthony Giraldo at 133 pounds (6th place). Seeds are awarded to the top-16 wrestlers in each weight class.
157 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Lewis
184 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Gravina
133 Pound Opening Round Bracket for Giraldo
Among the first round matchups for the record 10 Scarlet Knight qualifiers are three rematches, beginning at 125 pounds with Sean McCabe. McCabe (14-14), who received an at-large bid Tuesday, opens his first NCAA Championships against No. 16 Elijah Oliver (Indiana). Oliver bested McCabe, 8-6, at the Big Ten Championships last weekend with a late takedown.
Rutgers sold out its allotment of tickets, but tickets can still be purchased on the NCAA Ticket Exchange. Buy and sell official tickets with other wrestling fans through the NCAA Ticket Exchange before it closes on March 14.