When 11 of 14 conference teams are in the Top 25, you know you’re wrestling in the premier wrestling conference in the country.
Such is life in the Big Ten, where Rutgers remained at No. 17 in the national rankings after a loss to No. 2 Ohio State on Sunday, 29-11.
The Knights took only three bouts from OSU but hung tough in several others and did well in head-to-head matchups of ranked wrestlers.
Penn State and Ohio State remain 1-2 with the two being the only teams receiving first place votes. Worth a mention is the fact that previously No. 18 Oklahoma dropped out of the rankings after back-to-back losses to West Virginia and Pitt. RU topped the Sooners 22-9 at the Journeyman Duals in November. So, consider that point: Rutgers is ranked and Oklahoma is not.
This Friday’s opponent at the RAC, North Carolina, comes in at No. 24. That match starts at 7 pm. The Tarheels come in at 6-7 (that data from their website, regardlss of what the NWCA said) having lost three of their last four, all at home.
On an individual level, six Rutgers wrestlers are ranked by at least one ranking service. Eleazer DeLuca had the best showing following his victory over No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes, 12-7, winning with a six-point move in the last seconds of the bout.
Personally, I thought DeLuca would move into the top ten, but his No. 11 ranking by The Open Mat is pretty close and pretty good.
Big Ten Wrestler of the Week
Emery Parker, Illinois || 184 pounds – Jr.
- Went 2-0 on the weekend against a pair of ranked opponents to lead the Illini to conference victories over No. 20 Nebraska and Northwestern
- Defeated No. 6 Taylor Venz of Nebraska in come-from-behind fashion with an 8-0 surge in the final minute behind six back points
- Defeated No. 18 Mitch Sliga of Northwestern by an 8-3 decision
- The two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree earns the first Wrestler of the Week award of his career