The rally against No. 8 Minnesota fell short, but Rutgers has no time to hang their heads. Friday and Sunday will feature duals against Wisconsin and Oklahoma State at the RAC with more daunting challenges.
While Rutgers edged Wisconsin last season on the road, even without stud Nick Suriano, the Scarlet Knights face a rebooted Badger program under first year head coach Chris Bono, formerly of South Dakota State.
As far as Oklahoma State, legendary head coach John Smith brings the Cowboys to New Jersey for the first time in a historic match up between the two schools. You want to talk about a fantastic wrestling event, this is one for all wrestling fans to enjoy.
Interesting note, Oklahoma State will wrestle Rutgers one day after Princeton. Having to wrestle back to back days brings it’s challenges.
Let’s break down the match-ups for both duals (Rutgers wrestlers listed first and rankings courteous of Flo Wrestling):
Rutgers vs. Wisconsin
125: Shane Metzler vs. No. 16 Connor Brown
-Metzler comes off a tough loss at Minnesota and it doesn’t get any easier. He’ll need to pull off the best win of his young career to give Rutgers a good start.
Prediction: Brown by DEC
133: No. 2 Nick Suriano vs. Jens Lantz
-This train keeps rolling and Suriano never looks over any opponent. This will seem to be a warmup match before Sunday’s big showdown (more on that later).
Prediction: Suriano by TECH FALL
141: Peter Lipari vs. No. 16 Tristan Moran
-Lipari seems to be the guy at 141 moving forward as Mike Van Brill has struggled with injuries and has been up and down in his matches. Lipari is 2-4 vs. common opponents and will also need an upset in what is likely to be a close match between the teams.
Prediction: Moran by DEC
149: No. 2 Anthony Ashnault vs. No. 13 Cole Martin
-Ashnault thoroughly dominated Tommy Thorn last Sunday at Minnesota and I expect nothing less against Martin. The home crowd will definitely fuel the 3x All-American
Prediction: Ashnault by MAJOR DEC
157: No. 15 John Van Brill vs. Zander Wick
-Van Brill has been way up and down this season. That just seems to be normal during the dual meet season. He is still ranked by all of the services but needs this win against the Badgers to prepare for Oklahoma State.
Prediction: Van Brill by DEC
165: Stephan Glasgow vs. No. 3 Evan Wick
-Glasgow is definitely not 100% and Richie Lewis isn’t walking through the door to take on Wick. Lewis’ win over Wick in 2018 was a large reason why Rutgers walked out of Madison with a victory. The true freshman might have to hold on for dear life.
Prediction: Wick by TECH FALL
174: Joe Grello/Willie Scott vs. No. 10 Ryan Christensen
-In Grello’s case, he has taken on Christensen before: a 2-1 loss last season. The match could have gone either way and I expect head coach Scott Goodale to roll with him again. Christensen is vastly improved as he has been consistently Top 10 this season. In the event Scott is thrown out there, he’d likely have an equal chance at beating Christensen. He was actually recently ranked at No. 20 in the Track-Wrestling rankings. For now, we’ll go with Grello as we did against Minnesota.
Prediction: Christensen by DEC
184: No. 16 Nick Gravina vs. Mason Reinhardt
-Gravina has only wrestled twice this season since coming off the injury, but has won both matches. Looks like he’ll be 3-0 after Friday night.
Prediction: Gravina by DEC
197: Matt Correnti vs. Andrew Salemme
-Salemme comes into this match at 1-12 and Correnti has been wrestling real well as of late. This will be a match that Rutgers might need bonus points heading into the final bout.
Prediction: Correnti by MAJOR DEC
HWT: Christian Colucci vs. No. 9 Trent Hillger
-Unfortunately for Colucci, he’s going up against another stud freshman. After losing by tech fall to Gable Stevenson last week, I’ll give Colucci the benefit of the doubt with the home crowd behind him.
Prediction: Hillger by DEC
Final Score: Rutgers wins 19-17
Rutgers vs. Oklahoma State
125: Shane Metzler vs. No. 4 Nick Piccininni
-Piccininni was an All-American in 2017 and has been a perennial Top 10 or 5 wrestler the past two seasons. Metzler would need a monumental upset here.
Prediction: Piccininni by TECH FALL
133: No. 2 Nick Suriano vs. No. 6 Daton Fix
-Oh baby. This is it. This is what we’ve all been waiting for. And we say this since the schedule was released in the Summer. Suriano and Fix have been linked since high school where they wrestled the longest match in high school history. Take a guess how long...I’ll wait. Give up? 32 minutes. THIRTY...TWO...MINUTES! Nearly 33, but, you get the point. Our very own Scarlet Knight won that one. Suriano is one of the top favorites to win a National Title at 133 this season but Fix isn’t far off the top of the food chain.
In 2014, Nick Suriano and Daton Fix met in the longest match in high school history.— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) January 9, 2019
Sunday they will meet live at Noon CT for the first time since that match. pic.twitter.com/yFL0XsjGJ0
This will be the match everyone arrives for: Marathon Match II?
Prediction: Suriano by DEC
141: Peter Lipari vs. No. 13 Kaid Brock
-This would be another big upset for the Scarlet Knights. Right now, I don’t see it happening so at the very least, Lipari is going to need to prevent bonus points.
Prediction: Brock by MAJOR DEC
149: No. 2 Anthony Ashnault vs. No. 5 Kaden Gfeller
-Gfeller is only a freshman. Oh man. But, he has to go up against the veteran Ashnault who is on a different level in 2018-19. Ashnault has National Title or bust vision this season and Gfeller won’t slow him down.
Prediction: Ashnault by DEC
157: No. 15 John Van Brill vs. Andrew Shomers
-These two actually met back in December of 2017 with Van Brill winning late by injury default but was wrestling well. They’ll go the distance here and if Van Brill has momentum from Friday, he should be able to get it done.
Prediction: Van Brill by DEC
165: Stephan Glasgow vs. No. 11 Chandler Rogers
-Glasgow has the talent to knock off a big time wrestler but with his health a bit questionable, he is going to be limited athletically. Rogers is looking for the podium in March.
Prediction: Rogers by MAJOR DEC
174: Joe Grello/Willie Scott vs. No. 5 Joe Smith
-Smith is a wrecking machine and he is coming to wreak havoc on the Scarlet Knights. I’ll go with Goodale rolling with Grello in both duals this weekend.
Prediction: Smith by DEC
184: No. 16 Nick Gravina vs. No. 11 Jacobe Smith
-Should Gravina come in after a win on Friday, I just have a funny feeling he will pull off an upset and show he is truly back and earned a complete return to form.
Prediction: Gravina by DEC
197: Matt Correnti vs. No. 13 Dakota Greer
-Greer has an outside shot at the podium this season and even though Correnti is wrestling well, I have to stick with the Cowboy in this one.
Prediction: Greer by DEC
HWT: Christian Colucci vs. No. 3 Derek White
-Did I mention that Colucci has to wrestle studs constantly? White is a National Title contender at heavyweight and he will look to make quick work of Colucci.
Prediction: White by MAJOR DEC
Final Score: Oklahoma State wins 23-12
Team rankings can differ due to the coaches poll and the other above rankings services usually use tournament rankings as a way to rank the teams as well. Either way, Rutgers shows up in all.
Also, go back to the pre-season media photos of the team: a lot of wrestlers were seen wearing the white singlets. We first saw them worn by Scott DelVecchio and Nick Suriano in the placement matches as well as Suriano’s National Final match.
So take a look at the poll question:
What Singlets should Rutgers rock this weekend?
This poll is closed
Red w/gray trim
Black w/red trim
White w/red "R"