Rutgers Wrestling ended the decade with their best NCAA performance in program history with National Champions Anthony Ashnault and Nick Suriano, to go along with a 9th place team finish.
Now, we will try to put together the best lineup from 125 to heavyweight featuring the best wrestlers from the 2010’s that represented Rutgers University. Here’s the challenge, we really mean each weight class, not just the ten best wrestlers of the decade. No, no, no, that would be too easy. Like wrestling itself, this is supposed to be challenging.
Nick Suriano - 125 lbs. (2017-Present)
-It’s pretty hard to keep off the first national champion in program history. Suriano started his career at Penn State at 125 pounds, was an NCAA qualifier, but had to medically forfeit due to an ankle injury. After his transfer to Rutgers, Suriano became the first finalist in program history as he fell short of a title to Iowa’s Spencer Lee. A bump to 133 pounds for the 2018-19 season resulted in gold as Suriano took out Oklahoma State’s Daton Fix. Currently, Suriano is attempting to qualify for the Olympics and still has one more year of college eligibility, but he takes the spot here due to the accolades. Suriano currently sports a 70-7 record (54-4 at Rutgers), is the 2019 National Champion, a 2x All-American, and 3x NCAA Qualifier.
Scott DelVecchio - 133 lbs. (2013-18)
-DelVecchio wasn’t exactly a late bloomer, but weight struggles at 125 pounds to start his collegiate career saw him eventually take a mid-career redshirt. It seemed to work as DelVecchio was one of the most consistent Top 20/15 lightweights in the country. He finally broke through in Cleveland in 2018 with a win over Austin DeSanto, then at Drexel, in the round of 12 to clinch his spot on the podium for the first time. He also served as a nice one-two punch with Ashnault when they were in the lineup together, like their South Plainfield HS days. DelVecchio finished his career as a 2018 All-American, 3x NCAA Qualifier, a career record of 89-44, good for 23rd in program history.
Anthony Ashnault - 141 lbs. (2013-19)
-Was there any other choice? The greatest wrestler in program history was going to be on here somewhere. With a 123-18 record, the most wins in program history, Ashnault finished his time as a Scarlet Knight as the 2019 National Champion, a 4x All-American, and the face of Rutgers Wrestling. Ashnault spent the first three years of his varsity career at 141 before bumping up to 149 for the 2018-19 season. While he enjoyed an undefeated season at 149, we’ll put him at 141 for this lineup due to the majority of his career being spent at that weight. We have to make room for our next wrestler...
Ken Theobold - 149 lbs. (2012-17)
-Theobold was one of those wrestlers that you had to have on your team. Always quiet and business like, Theobold was never flashy but always would grind out those tough wins and could help the team in a pinch. Theobold finished his career as an All-American in 2017 with a 7th place finish, was a 3x NCAA Qualifier, and had a career record of 88-47, good for 24th in program history.
Anthony Perrotti - 157 lbs. (2011-16)
-Ashnault may be the GOAT, but you can’t forget Perrotti and the impact he had on Rutgers Wrestling right before the program’s true breakout as a national power. I’ll steal from current 197 pounder Jordan Pagano, but the RAC is “the house that Perrotti built.” You want excitement, drama, in your face, and explosions? Well, Perrotti gave you that and then some. A 2x All-American, 3x NCAA Qualifier and 30th in program history with a 85-46 record, Perrotti to this day remains a fan favorite. Who could forget his NCAA record 10 second pin in the 2014 NCAA Championships? I didn’t.
Scott Winston - 165 lbs. (2008-13)
-Okay, so Winston started in the decade before, but we’ll make an exception. He was the first big time recruit landed by head coach Scott Goodale as he had Winston follow him from Jackson Memorial HS to The Banks. Winston finished his career as a 4x NCAA Qualifier and compiled a 106-34 record, good for eighth in program history. He actually qualified at 157 and 165 twice each, but we’ll slot him at 165 due to the majority of Perrotti’s career taking place at 157.
Greg Zannetti - 174 lbs. (2008-13)
-We’ll also make another exception for Winston’s teammate here. Zannetti manned the 174 pound weight class in the early part of the decade before Rutgers entered the Big Ten. The two-time NCAA qualifier was a mainstay for Goodale’s upper-weights. He nearly broke the century mark in wins as he compiled a 91-36 record, good for 20th in school history.
Nick Gravina - 184 lbs. (2013-19)
-After initially starting as a 165 pounder early in his career, Gravina suffered an injury that kept him out for the rest of the 2014-15 season. But, he would bounce back at 184 pounds and man the weight class for the next three seasons before being granted a sixth year of eligibility. Although Gravina finished a modest 6-5 in 2018-19 while dealing recurring injuries, he still qualified for the NCAA Tournament to finish his career. One of his career highlights was an upset win during the 2015-16 season over Nebraska’s TJ Dudley, who was ranked No. 4 in the country at 184 pounds. The win sparked Rutgers to upset the Cornhuskers at the RAC. Gravina was a 4x NCAA Qualifier and compiled a career record of 77-33, good for 37th in program history.
Dan Rinaldi - 197 lbs. (2008-13)
-The last great stalwart at 197 pounds for Rutgers was Rinaldi, a 4x NCAA Qualifier and one who eclipsed the century mark with a record of 109-38, good for 7th in program history.
Billy Smith - HWT (2011-16)
-Smith finished his career as a 4x NCAA Qualifier and a 105-39 record in his career, good for 10th in program history in wins. While he fell in the round of 12 during his senior campaign, Smith was a force and the arguably the most stable heavyweight in program history and the best of the Goodale era.
Joey Langel - 125 lbs. (2x NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 76-35)
Vincent Dellefave - 133 lbs. (2x NCAA Qualifier)
Billy Ashnault - 133/141 lbs. (3x NCAA Qualifier, two with Rutgers, Career Record: 86-61)
Richie Lewis - 157/165 lbs. (2x NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 49-13)
John Van Brill - 157/165 lbs. (3x NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 75-48)
Joe Grello - 174 lbs. (Current starter, 2019 NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 35-19)
Lamar Brown - 197 lbs. (2x NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 80-49)
Dominick Russo - HWT (3x NCAA Qualifier, Career Record: 104-35)
Did we miss anyone? Who’s on your Scarlet Knight All-Decade Wrestling team?