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Yes, two Rutgers Wrestling stories in one week...during football season!

And well worth it with more wrestlers being ranked

Roy DeBoer with permission ||

It’s still well over a six weeks before wrestling takes on Maryland in the Bronx. But there is still stuff going on, lots of good stuff for Rutgers.

The biggest off season story in wrestling was Nick Suriano leaving Penn State, getting his waiver from the Big Ten, and enrolling at Rutgers with immediate eligibility. It created - as we posted here - an incredibly strong lineup for the Knights, especially down at the lower weights.

The early rankings also were kind to RU with a couple of recent additions to the lineup. When Jordan Pagano (174, 26-10 in ‘16-’17) was recognized, it meant that half of the anticipated starters were ranked.

And then came redshirt senior Nick Gravina (184, 20-9).

With Gravina’s No. 10 ranking, it put X Knights in the top ten of their weight class, something that Rutgers has never - to my knowledge - ever seen. He joins Suriano (No. 2, 125), Anthony Ashnault (No. 5, 141), and Richie Lewis (No. 7, 157) in the top ten. And 133 pounder Scott DelVecchio is just outside the line at No. 11.

Tickets and the $100,000 Challenge

Back in August, the 1,200 seat total was reached, and that kicked in the anonymous donation of $125 per seat in excess of 1,200. The money raised would be used towards the naming of a Rutgers wrestling assistant coach's office at the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center in memory of the late Sam Cali, a former Rutgers wrestler who passed away in the summer of 2016. And the result so far?

I’ll do the math: that’s $25,000 in memory of Sam. And counting.

Honoring the best

Last Saturday at halftime, a number of Rutgers athletes received recognition, including Wrestling’s two All Americans.

Who wears it best?

I didn’t realize that vests were a “thing” among wrestling coaches. But, yes, they are. And Flowrestling actually ranked the top 12 (yeah, you can tell it’s preseason). While I’m biased and would have put our own Scott Goodale as No. 1, I think his finish as the seventh best vest wearer is notable.

For the record, of the 12 there are three others besides Goodale from the Big Ten: an Iowa assistant along with the head coaches from Iowa and Nebraska.

#RutgersGoodaleVFF (Vest Friends Forever)