It came down to the final bout. It was close on paper and on the mat but Rutgers came out on top by edging No. 10 Wisconsin 17-16 on criteria.
The Scarlet Knights scored more total points from their wrestlers to secure the win.
The RAC crowd was intense the entire night, so here are some observations:
Nick Suriano continues to be dominant, eager for Sunday
Suriano took out Jans Lantz 14-5 to earn the major decision and put Rutgers up 4-3 after two bouts. He had a flurry of double leg takedowns, including one going into the mat-side seats. There was a little extra pep in his step due to his impending showdown with Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix, which we previewed here. The two last met in a high school exhibition in which the match lasted nearly 34 minutes real time, with Suriano coming out on top.
Anthony Ashnault’s slip nearly proved costly
Ashnault rarely makes mistakes but against Wisconsin’s Cole Martin, he took his foot off the gas and gave up a late takedown near the buzzer to end the match. While he still won 12-6, he cost himself a major decision and a team point for Rutgers who could have avoided criteria all together with the extra point. A small bump in the road for the 3x All-American, who will have a big showdown with No. 5 Kaden Gfeller on Sunday.
Hello Anthony Olivieri
Olivieri, a redshirt sophomore who transferred in from Hofstra, was thrown out at 165 lbs. against No. 3 Evan Wick in place of a banged up Stephan Glasgow. Never having wrestled a varsity match with the Scarlet Knights, Olivieri showed off tremendous defense to limit the powerful Wick to a 14-4 major decision and saved an extra point team wise.
Nick Gravina’s Health
Gravina lost a surprising decision 2-1 to Mason Reinhardt. Gravina went out of bounds on a scramble and appeared to be hurt. At least from my vantage point in the broadcast booth, it looked like a lower body injury but no details were made available after the match. He finished up but because he had injury time, Reinhardt was allowed to choose the position. He chose down and Gravina gave up an escape with mere seconds left.
Matt Correnti is on fire, Christian Colucci does his job
Correnti came into his bout against Nebraska transfer Beau Breske having won six matches in a row. He made it seven with an impressive 7-4 decision that gave Rutgers a 16-13 lead going into the final match. Colucci meanwhile had a handful with No. 9 Trent Hillger but held on, only dropping the bout 5-1, thus keeping it tied 16-16 and allowing Rutgers to win on criteria.
125: Connor Brown (WISC) over Shane Metzler (RUTG) (Dec 8-2) 133: Nick Suriano (RUTG) over Anders Lantz (WISC) (MD 14-5) 141: Tristan Moran (WISC) over Pete Lipari (RUTG) (Dec 8-7) 149: Anthony Ashnault (RUTG) over Cole Martin (WISC) (Dec 12-6) 157: John Van Brill (RUTG) over Devin Bahr (WISC) (Dec 6-0) 165: Evan Wick (WISC) over Anthony Olivieri (RUTG) (MD 14-4) 174: Joe Grello (RUTG) over Patrick Spray (WISC) (Dec 5-0) 184: Mason Reinhardt (WISC) over Nick Gravina (RUTG) (Dec 2-1) 197: Matt Correntti (RUTG) over Beau Breske (WISC) (Dec 7-4) 285: Trent Hillger (WISC) over Christian Colucci (RUTG) (Dec 5-1) (RUTG Criteria (56-50) 1.0)
WHAT. A. MATCH!— Rutgers On BTN (@RutgersOnBTN) January 12, 2019
The crew at the RAC recap an exciting meet between No. 18 @BadgerWrestling and No. 13 @RUWrestling, as the Scarlet Knights get the victory 17-16 on criteria!#GoRU pic.twitter.com/eBAjzZaUu4
A big showdown with No. 3 Oklahoma State at 1 pm on Sunday at the RAC. It will be highlighted with Suriano vs. Fix and Ashnault vs. Gfeller.