Nick Suriano cares not for your rankings or frankly, what you or anyone else thinks.
After finishing second at 125 pounds in 2018 to Iowa’s Spencer Lee, Suriano is fully healthy and ready for another run at a title. We just don’t know if that’s going to be at 125 or 133 pounds.
Suriano (No. 2, 125 lbs), Ashnault (No. 3, 149 lbs), Van Brill (No. 9, 157 lbs) & Gravina (No. 12, 184) represent #RUWR in preseason @FloWrestling rankings.— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) September 28, 2018
: https://t.co/Eg9s70I3zG pic.twitter.com/L2AJkU7v7p
While “wrestle offs” are still a few days away, Suriano is letting the process play out to see where he will end up the lineup. The biggest key is: he can certify at 125 should he wrestle there, but it won’t prevent him from wrestling 133.
“My body is where it needs to be,” Suriano said. “It was a grueling four months after NCAA’s. There’s still some psychological effects from the injury but I’m ready to bust it open this season.”
Could he flip flop? Sure. Will he? I’d say he sticks to one weight class and goes on a run from there.
“It will all work itself out on November 3rd. I’m confident either way but I have an idea in my head and I want to see how it plays out. The rest will take care itself.”
Head coach Scott Goodale doesn’t exactly know where Suriano will end up either. He said they will take the same approach they have been all offseason and that’s just waiting and seeing where Suriano is going to be most comfortable.
“We just need to feel it out and know in these next couple of days to see where he will actually wrestle off,” Goodale said. “We’ll have a better idea by this weekend.”
The offseason was an interesting one for Suriano. Not only did he have to work back from an injury in his knee that prevented him from being at full strength at NCAA’s, he ended up traveling overseas to work with some stellar competition.
2017 World Champion Frank Chamizo of Italy was one of those training partners. Suriano visited Italy over the summer and got to roll with U23 competitors with a different style; a European style.
“I got to work with Frank Chamizo and some other guys in different training centers,” Suriano said. “I didn’t get to wrestle him too much but it’s crazy it’s just wrestling. When I was in Italy, I was training with U23 competitors out there just to try and get a different feel with different styles, like European styles.”
In case you see Suriano as all business, well, he is all business, but he has a lighter side too. You just won’t see that on the mat.
In addition to seeing different competition, Suriano worked on some neutral technique in order to perfect his craft. In the 2018 National Finals, Suriano had a little trouble with Lee in neutral throughout the match.
“Scrambling and a lot of forward pressure to work on my tie ups,” Suriano said. “I just want to improve in every area which helps by wrestling bigger guys, two or three weight classes heavier.”
Don’t think Suriano just takes on guys around his weight. He’s asking for everyone and anyone in the room, including Anthony Ashnault, John Van Brill, and coach Donny Pritzlaff.
“I call people out all the time,” Suriano said. “Ask anyone on the team. I just want to better myself. Challenge me, take me down, and if they do, I’m getting right back up and getting after it.”
With Suriano ranked No. 2 throughout Flo Wrestling and InterMat, he see’s no disrespect thrown his way being behind Lee to start the season. This is, of course, if he stays at 125 pounds this year.
“I don’t take disrespect, I lost,” Suriano said. “That’s the number for now, but I’ve worked my way up the ranking ladder my whole life. I am working on me and my team.”
As far as that National Title is concerned, Suriano is ready to make it happen, along with some company.
“It’s huge for New Jersey wrestling,” Surinao said. “This is something I want and same thing for Ashnault. Let’s do it. The mentality here is to win.”