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Rutgers & Big Ten Wrestling ready for NWCA Duals

Two unranked Big Ten squads in the mix as the conference goes up against the best of the rest

Roy DeBoer with permission

Building the fan base

First, a quick thumbs up to former RU quarterback Mike Teel. On Super Bowl Sunday, Teel, Jamaal Westerman, and Kevin Malast were honorary captains for the RU-Indiana match. Apparently, Teel has become a fan, returning for the Northwestern match, too.

You’re welcome back any time, Mike.

A last note from the Northwestern match

Watch Phil Bakuckas' first period tech - right, a first period tech fall.

National Rankings

There were a few moves in the national rankings. RU moved up one spot to No. 12 while Michigan, which lost to No. 18 Wisconsin, dropped four spots. Illinois and Minnesota each moved up a spot, with most of the movement coming in the middle third of the poll.

On an individual basis, the Knights added two rankings: John Van Brill entered WIN Magazine’s rankings at No. 20 and Jordan Pagano made The Open Mat list at No. 18. Anthony Ashnault continues to be the Knights’ highest ranked competitor at No. 5 in three polls.

Around the Big Ten

Final Standings

With the exception of Friday’s Michigan State-Wisconsin match in Madison, the Big Ten regular season concluded with the Knights in a three-way tie for fourth.

Big Ten Wrestler of the Week

Nathan Tomasello, Ohio State || 133 pounds – Jr.

  • Led the fourth-ranked Buckeyes to wins over No. 13 Minnesota and No. 6 Nebraska
  • Defeated No. 5 Eric Montoya of Nebraska 5-2 before picking up a pin against No. 17 Mitch McKee of Minnesota
  • Improved to 15-0 overall and 6-0 against ranked opponents

National Duals

Rutgers will face its former EIWA opponent Lehigh on Friday night in Bethlehem. The match begins at 7 pm and tickets are available online here. This is a repeat of last year’s NWCA Dual at the RAC, won by the Knights, 18-15.

The Mountain Hawks finished third in the EIWA with a 9-4 record, 7-1 in conference. Lehigh’s only conference loss was to Cornell, 21-20, on January 21. The Knights lost to Cornell in the Grapple at the Garden in December, 28-10.

The two teams have several other common opponents this season.

Princeton: Lehigh won 34-3, Rutgers won 19-16

Penn State: Lehigh lost 30-10, Rutgers lost 37-6

Michigan: Lehigh lost 24-13, Rutgers lost 19-13

The Lehigh Match: a slew of ranked wrestlers

The Mountain Hawks are stacked. They have eight wrestlers ranked by Intermat with two as high as number 4. Here’s the likely lineup including the Intermat rankings for both squads.

125 No. 5 Darian Cruz vs. Brandon Paetzell

133 No. 9 Scott Parker vs. Scott DelVecchio

141 No. 16 Randy Cruz vs. No. 5 Anthony Ashnault

149 No. 12 Laike Gardner vs. No. 14 Ken Theobold

157 No. 4 Jordan Kutler vs. No. 17 John Van Brill

165 No. 15 Mitch Minotti vs. Anthony Pafumi

174 No. 4 Ryan Preisch vs. Phil Bakuckas/No. 19 Jordan Pagano

184 NR Andrew Price vs. No. 13 Nick Gravina

197 NR Thomas Murray vs. Matt Correnti

Hwt No. 16 Doug Vollaro vs. Razhonn Gross

Full NWCA National Duals Championship Series Schedule

Presented by Theraworx and the United States Marine Corps

Friday, February 17

#12 Rutgers at #11 Lehigh, 7 p.m. Eastern

#16 Michigan at #7 NC State, 7 p.m. Eastern

Purdue at #17 South Dakota State, 7 p.m. Central

Saturday, February 18

#3 Iowa at #24 Edinboro, 7 p.m. Eastern

Sunday, February 19

#4 Ohio State at #8 Cornell, 1 p.m. Eastern

#2 Penn State at #1 Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. Central

Indiana at #20 Appalachian State, 3 p.m. Eastern

#6 Nebraska at #5 Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. Eastern