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With strong closing weekend, Rutgers Wrestling finishes over .500 for 12th straight year

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A good finish to the regular season

Roy DeBoer with permission

Lock in and finish strong. That was what head coach Scott Goodale felt Rutgers needed to do this weekend and as the post-season approached.

Rutgers (8-7, 3-6 B1G) took to the road on the weekend to wrap up the Big Ten schedule and then concluded the regular season back in New Jersey....but still on the road. And it was all good.

Today’s match at Princeton’s Jadwin Gym was a solid performance across the board. Winning eight of ten bouts, the Knights took home the rivalry trophy with a 28-7 win over the Tigers (4-9, 3-2 Ivy). Starting at 125 for the second match in a row, true freshman Shane Metzler again kicked off the Knights’ run with a win.

Scott DelVecchio continued his solid wrestling with a decision and Michael Van Brill picked up a 9-1 major to extend RU’s lead to 10-0. They would never trail in the match.

DelVecchio picked up his 81st-career varsity win with that decision making him 32nd in wins in program history.

At 157, brother John Van Brill won - the fourth time the two siblings have won in the same match - over No. 17 Mike D’Angelo. Van Brill now owns wins over five ranked foes this season. That was the start of four straight Rutgers wins as Richie Lewis (5-1 dec), Joe Grello (7-0 dec), and Nick Gravina (fall 2:00) all won putting RU ahead, 25-3. Heavyweight Razohnn Gross closed out the match with a sudden victory win, picking up a takedown in the third period and then winning in in OT by a takedown.

That’s two wins on the weekend for Gross. I came down on him earlier; he was not wrestling the same as he had last year. But I’ll give him all the credit in the world for staying tough as an undersized heavyweight and pulling through in the stretch.

“It’s a rivalry match, so I’m proud of our guys and proud of our program,” Goodale said. “I love the way we handled the travel, fought through adversity all year long with some of our best guys in and out of the lineup. It’s a product of what goes on in our program and the guys in it.”

Rutgers is now 43-33-5 all-time against Princeton, which includes 22 straight wins over the Tigers. The Scarlet Knights have not loss to Princeton since 1991.

Wisconsin

The closing weekend of the regular season saw Rutgers at 6-7, 2-6 B1G, and facing the possibility of the first losing season in 12 years. As the coach said, time to lock in and finish strong.

On Friday, the Knights won seven of ten bouts in solidly topping Wisconsin, 24-12. With Nick Suriano still sidelined (he hasn’t wrestled since Northwestern on Feb. 2), the 125 pound spot fell to true freshman Shane Metzler. The West Morris HS grad didn’t let anyone worry that Suriano was still out of the lineup as he decked Johnny Jimenez in :59. It started a string where RU won five of the first six bouts and an 18-3 lead they never relinquished.

At 157, John Van Brill took down No. 14 Andrew Crone in what might have been one of his best bouts of the season. Richie Lewis and Nick Gravina each earned ranked wins. Gravina’s 5-3 decision over No. 9 Ricky Robertson was his second top-10 victory over the season. Lewis now has wins over five ranked opponents since moving to 165 pounds. He owns wins over No. 11 Evan Wick (Wisconsin), No. 8 Nick Wanzek (Minnesota), No. 11 Isaiah White (Nebraska), No. 11 Te’Shan Campbell (Ohio State) and No. 13 Anthony Valencia (Arizona State).

“I’m super proud of these guys,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “We have been battling hard all year competing against some great programs and facing some adversity. We had huge wins from John Van Brill, Nick Gravina, Richie Lewis and Shane Metzler. I feel good for our entire team staying the course, but we need to finish Sunday at Princeton.” Which, as you know, they did!

Scott DelVecchio, Eleazar DeLuca, and Razohnn Gross rounded out the wins for RU as the team won for the seventh time. The win got the Knights back to .500 on the season and gave them their third conference win. This was the Knights’ first win over Wisconsin (7-4, 4-4); they are now 1-3 all time against the Badgers.

Coming up....

Rutgers is now off until the Big Ten Championships the first weekend of March. It is expected that the NCAA will issue weight class allocations this week. That will indicate how many slots ech conference has in each of the ten weight classes. Last year, the Big Ten had five weight classes that had as many as nine allocations.

Wisconsin Match Results

No. 21 Rutgers (7-7, 3-6) 24, No. 18 Wisconsin (7-4, 4-4) 12

125: Shane Metzler (RU) fall (0:59) Johnny Jimenez (UW)

133: No. 20/16/17 Scott DelVecchio (RU) decision Jens Lantz (UW), 6-1

141: Eli Stickley (UW) decision Michael Van Brill (RU), 3-2

149: No. 11/11/9 Eleazar DeLuca (RU) decision Cole Martin (UW), 6-2

157: John Van Brill (RU) decision No. 14/15/8 Andrew Crone (UW), 6-2

165: No. 7/5/8 Richie Lewis (RU) decision No. 11/7/10 Evan Wick (UW), 2-1

174: Ryan Christensen (UW) decision Joe Grello (RU) , 2-1

184:No. 12/13/12 Nicholas Gravina (RU) decision No. 9/9/9 Ricky Robertson (UW), 5-3

197: Hunter Ritter NR/NR/18 (UW) fall (2:53) Anthony Messner (RU)

HWT: Razohnn Gross (RU) decision Ben Stone (UW), 5-3

No. 21 Rutgers (8-7, 3-6) 24, Princeton (4-9, 3-2) 7

125: Shane Metzler (RU) decision Matteo DeVincenzo (PU), 9-7 SV

133: No. 20/16/17 Scott DelVecchio (RU) decision Jonathan Gomez (PU), 10-4

141: Michael Van Brill (RU) major decision Jordan Reich (PU , 9-1

149: No. 12 Matthew Kolodzik (PU) decision No. 11/11/9 Eleazar DeLuca (RU) , 8-1

157: John Van Brill (RU) decision No. 17 Mike D’Angelo (PU), 5-3

165: No. 7/5/8 Richie Lewis (RU) decision Jonathan Schleifer (PU), 5-1

174: Joe Grello (RU) decision Matthew Gancayco (PU) , 7-0

184:No. 12/13/12 Nicholas Gravina (RU) pinned Kevin Parker (PU), 2:00

197: No. 17 Patrick Brucki (PU) fmajor decision Anthony Messner (RU), 13-5

HWT: Razohnn Gross (RU) decision Christian Araneo (PU), 6-4 SV

Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / FloWrestling/The Open Mat

NR denotes not ranked