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Rutgers Wrestling weekend ends in sweep

A non-conference win coupled with a Big Ten victory puts the Knights at 9-2 and primed for a spot in the National Duals.

Roy DeBoer with permission /

Oh, yeah. Rutgers was 3-0 on the weekend, too, as wrestling bookended Steve Pikiell’s first Big Ten basketball win. Not a bad weekend at all.

The Knights (9-2, 3-1) remain undefeated at home with the weekend sweep, topping Oregon State (2-6), 38-3 and B1G opponent Purdue (8-3, 3-2), 27-9. In addition, the win over the Boilermakers on Sunday was Head Coach Scott Goodale’s 150th dual match victory.

RU appears much more aggressive this season. On most opportunities, the Knights are looking for back points right off their takedowns. And when the visitors are watching your hype video, as Purdue was, before the match, you might already have a leg up.

The Boilermakers were 6-1 when starting matches at 125. They’d be 6-2 at the end of the afternoon as freshman Brandon Paetzel was fearless opening the match for the Scarlet. He was caught underneath, fought out for a takedown to end the first and then went on to a solid 8-2 win.

Scott DelVecchio had a heart-breaker, going into sudden victory and seemingly winning with 31 seconds left. A Purdue challenge led to a video review which overturned the takedown. DelVecchio had the lead but gave up a reversal late in TB2 to drop a 5-4 decision.

At 141 Rutgers scored the first of three bonus point wins as Anthony Ashnault, after a scoreless first period, dominated his opponent for a 10-0 major. It included 3:38 of riding time.

Ken Theobold extended the Rutgers lead at 149 with a stunning first period tech fall. Opening with a quick takedown that converted to a four-point nearfall, Theobold was relentless. He used his strength to score out of a scramble and went on to the 16-0 tech.

John Van Brill, who has been scintillating at 157 of late, scored a takedown in the first but that would be all the scoring in the match. Alex Griffin, a 2016 NCAA qualifier, injured his right knee and defaulted. Griffin wanted to continue, but the Purdue trainer said no. Let me say this: no wrestler wants to win - or lose -on an injury default. But I give a lot of credit to the Purdue staff for giving that authority to the trainer. A wrestler’s health and safety is far more important than any match. As he walked to the locker room, Griffin was clearly in some pain and his knee was swelling. And with that, Rutgers had an 18-3 lead at intermission.

The Boilermakers picked up two wins coming out of the break, closing the score to 18-9. But Nick Gravina, despite some sloppy work, scored a 4-2 victory which would be the first of three wins to close out the match.

Freshman Matt Correnti faced a fellow freshman in Christian Brunner. The 5-2 win was highlighted by the closing flurry, with Correnti reacting quickly to a shot and scoring the takedown and the win (see tweet above for that sequence).

In the longest and most evenly contested bout of the day, Razhonn Gross went into six overtime periods before scratching out a 4-3 win.

"It was a good match. That’s a good Big Ten team and they’re going to win a lot down the road,” Goodale said. “That kind of sets us up for the national duals. Obviously we’re going to probably make the national duals at this point. Where we’re going to go is going to depend on where we finish in this conference. We’ve got some big ones coming up, but that one had me worried for a long time. They wrestle really, really hard. Overall it was a good team win.”

And it was a good team win on Friday, too.

Friday night, RU hosted Oregon State and thoroughly dominated the Beavers in the 38-3 rout. The mantra of wrestling teams is win big, lose small; the Knights almost took that to the extreme in not losing at all. Heavyweight was the only loss, and that just a two-point loss to a 15-4 former NCAA qualifier. Five bonus point wins highlighted the nine-bout win performance.

The Beavers also lost on Saturday as they completed their east coast trip in Philadelphia, losing to Drexel, 28-8.

New national rankings come out on Tuesday and On the Banks will cover all that and more later this week.

Match Results

No. 11 Rutgers 27, Purdue 9

Attendance: 2,595

125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) dec. over Ben Thornton (PU), 8-2; RU leads, 3-0

133: Luke Welch (PU) dec. over Scott DelVecchio (RU), 5-4 (TB-1); Dual tied, 3-3

141: No. 6/6/6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over Kyle Ayersman (PU), 10-0; RU leads, 7-3

149: No. 14/16/14 Ken Theobold (RU) tech fall over Nate Limmex (PU), 15-0; RU leads, 12-3

157: No. 18/13/14 John Van Brill (RU) wins by injury default over Alex Griffin (PU); RU leads, 18-3

165: Dylan Lydy (PU) dec. over Willie Scott (RU), 6-4; RU leads, 18-6

174: Jacob Morrisey (PU) dec. over Phillip Bakuckas (RU), 7-4; RU leads, 18-9

184: No. 14/13/14 Nicholas Gravina (RU) dec. over Tanner Lynde (PU), 4-2; RU leads, 21-9

197: Matthew Correnti (RU) dec. over Christian Brunner (PU), 5-2; RU leads, 24-9

HWT: Razohnn Gross (RU) dec. over Tyler Kral (PU), 4-3 (TB-2); RU wins, 27-9

Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat NR denotes not ranked

No. 11 Rutgers 38, Oregon State 3

Attendance: 2,251

125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) wins by fall over Kegan Calkins (OSU), 5:38

133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) dec. over Joseph Palmer (OSU), 6-2

141: No. 6/6/6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over Johnathan Hathaway (OSU), 15-2

149: No. 14/16/14 Ken Theobold (RU) tech fall over Bryce Parson (OSU), 16-1

157: No. 18/13/14 John Van Brill (RU) dec. over Abraham Rodriguez (OSU), 10-3

165: Anthony Pafumi (RU) dec. over Rodney Williams (OSU), 4-0

174: Phillip Bakuckas (RU) tech fall over Weston Dobler (OSU), 18-1

184: No. 14/13/14 Nicholas Gravina (RU) wins by fall over Bob Coleman (OSU), 6:42

197: Matthew Correnti (RU) dec. over No. 18/NR/14 Corey Griego (OSU), 3-2

HWT: No. NR/18/15 Cody Crawford (OSU) dec. over Razohnn Gross (RU), 4-2

Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open MatNR denotes not ranked