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Black Knight Invitational yields two champs for Rutgers Wrestling

Knights hold at No. 11 nationally

Roy DeBoer - with permission

In a pretty competitive field, Rutgers put two wrestlers at the top of the podium over the weekend at the Black Knight Invitational at West Point.

Sophomore Nick Suriano (125) and RS Freshman Joseph Grello (174) took gold for the Knights while 174-pounder Jordan Pagano and heavyweight Razohnn Gross each made the finals of their weight class..

Suriano breezed through the 125 bracket. He scored two majors (including in the final against Alonzo Allen of Chattanooga), a tech fall and a fall.

Grello came from the third seed spot scoring two falls and a major decision on his way to meeting teammate Jordan Pagano in the finals. Pagano was a tougher draw for Grello, losing to him by a 4-3 score. Pagano scored a fall and a major en route to the final.

At heavyweight, Gross suffered a first period fall to Lock Haven’s Thomas Haines, the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. He had two decisions leading up to the final.

Head coach Scott Goodale was generally satisfied, but knows there is still work to do. "We learned a lot about our team and where we need to get better," said head coach Scott Goodale. "We left a lot of points out there, but we also had a lot of bonus points ourselves and had some dominating performances. There were good things today, but there are a lot of areas we need to improve on in these next two weeks before we take on Lock Haven and Iowa next month."

The Knights also had two third place finishers in 141-pounder Michael Van Brill and 197-pounder Kevin Mulligan. Although RU had three competitors in the third place consolation round. Van Brill topped fellow Knight Peter Lipari by fall at 5:50, taking third. Lipari went 2-1 in the tourney while Van Brill was 3-1.

At 197, Kevin Mulligan reversed a 13-1 loss last week to Army’s Rocco Caywood at the Journeyman Classic to top Rocco, 5-1 for third place.

Knights Placing: Lipari (4th, 141), redshirt freshman Alex Mackall (4th, 133), freshman Nick Santos (4th, 149), sophomore Brett Donner (5th, 157), freshman Kyle DiNapoli (6th, 133) and redshirt junior Ralph Normandia (6th, HWT) all placed for Rutgers at the invitational.

Rutgers is off until Friday, Dec. 1, when the Scarlet Knights head to Coach Goodale’s alma mater, Lock Haven, for a 7 p.m. match out in western Pennsylvania.

Team Rankings


Then-No. 4 Michigan traveled east and got thumped by the Mountain Hawks which led to Lehigh having the biggest jump in the national rankings this week. For the first time since 2005, Lehigh finds itself in the top five. Wow!

On the Banks graphics

Penn State remains atop the poll, with ten Big Ten schools on the list. Of interest, Maryland received votes.

Individual Rankings

Without having wrestled a single bout, Anthony Ashnault continues to be ranked in two services. This week, though, he was dropped by WIN Magazine. His replacement, Michael Van Brill, was ranked at No. 17 by The Open Mat after taking third at the Army event.

It is interesting to see a wrestler move up in one survey and down in another, as both Richie Lewis and Nick Gravina did. Lewis will be in Poland over the weekend wrestling in the U23 World

On the Banks graphics

Big Ten Wrestler of the Week

Not only did Maryland (3-1) get votes in the coaches’ poll, they picked up a conference recognition.

In the dual with Rutgers, Hemida topped Razhonn Gross, 7-1.