A stunning loss to Lock Haven. A disappointing loss to Iowa.
Rutgers Wrestling needed a spark, a boost. The 55th Annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships turned out to be exactly what the team needed.
With 125 pounder Nick Suriano winning his weight class and three other Knights taking third place, Rutgers put up 109.5 points to take second place, the program’s best finish.
In the 59 team field, including 18 groups of unattached wrestlers, Rutgers was among the team leaders throughout the two-day event at the Sears Centre outside of Chicago.
"What a great way to close out this tournament," said head coach Scott Goodale. "Our guys were prepared to close this weekend out the right way and it showed with us going four-for-four tonight. We picked up a lot of victories over ranked guys, so this was a great team effort all around."
Along with Suriano’s chaampionship, Rutgers’ first individual title ever at the Midlands, Scott DelVecchio (133), John Van Brill (157) and Richie Lewis (165) recorded third-place results and Nicholas Gravina (184) finished sixth to help RU secure its best team result in program history.
Nick Suriano was dominant in the early rounds, scoring two tech falls as he moved on to the finals on Saturday night. Suriano topped No. 3 seed Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) for his first major championship as a Scarlet Knight. He was the first finalist for Rutgers since Mario Mason in 2011.
In taking third, redshirt junior Jon Van Brill had the toughest road, competing in eight bouts, more than anyone else. Losing only to Wisconsin’s Andrew Crone in the second round, Van Brill fought his way back through the wrestlebacks scoring two falls, a tech fall, and a major. He topped Princeton’s Mike D`Angelo, 7-4, to take third.
Scott DelVecchio made his third place win a bit more exciting, going into sudden victory against Pitt’s Micky Phillippi, winning 3-1.
At 165, Richie Lewis had a sudden victory win in his third bout to go along with two major decisions. He topped Arizona State’s Anthony Valencia, 7-4 for third place.
Rutgers has seven falls in the tournament, tied with Central Michigan for third best. Iowa won the tournament and had the most falls with 12. The Knights also had the second most tech falls (two by Suriano) with four.
125 Pounds: No. 1 Nick Suriano (5-0, 24.00 Team Points)
1st Place Match - Suriano (Rutgers) won by decision over Ronnie Bresser (Oregon State) (Dec 2-1)
157 Pounds: No. 7 John Van Brill (7-1, 23.00 Team Points)
3rd Place Match – Van Brill (Rutgers) won by decision over Mike D`Angelo (Princeton) (Dec 7-4)
133 Pounds: No. 2 Scott DelVecchio (6-1, 16.50 team points)
3rd Place Match - DelVecchio (Rutgers) won in sudden victory - 1 over Micky Phillippi (Pittsburgh ) (SV-1 3-1)
165 Pounds: No. 3 Richie Lewis (5-1, 15.50 Team Points)
3rd Place Match - Lewis (Rutgers) won by decision over Anthony Valencia (Arizona State) (Dec 5-2)
184 Pounds: No. 2 Nicholas Gravina (3-3, 10.50 Team Points)
5th Place Match - Joe Heyob (Penn) won by medical forfeit over Gravina (Rutgers) (MFF)
141 Pounds: Michael Van Brill (3-2, Six Team Points)
149 Pounds: No. 8 Eleazar DeLuca (3-2, Six Team Points)
174 Pounds: Jordan Pagano (3-2, Five Team Points)
HWT: No. 12 Matthew Correnti (4-2, Unattached)
141 Pounds: Peter Lipari (2-2, Four Team Points)
197 Pounds: Kevin Mulligan (2-2, Two Team Points)
149 Pounds: Nick Santos (3-2, Two Team Points)
157 Pounds: Brett Donner (1-2, Two Team Points)
HWT: Razohnn Gross (1-2, One Team Point)
174 Pounds: Joseph Grello (0-2, Zero Team Points)
197 Pounds: Anthony Messner (0-2, Zero Team Points)
Rutgers returns to action next Sunday, when it hosts No. 2 Ohio State at noon at the RAC. The match will broadcast nationally on BTN.
Top 25 results at Midlands
Twelve Big Ten teams sent squads to the Midlands, although not all sent their top wrestlers or full squads. Indiana, for example, only had nine competitors and Michigan only four.