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A Thriller at the RAC: No. 18 Rutgers takes out No. 20 Princeton 19-18

Anthony Ashnault makes a statement, Christian Colucci finishes

Anthony Ashnault puts Matt Kolodzik to his back
Ben Solomon/Rutgers Athletics

My ears are ringing.

Even with a headset on for the BTN Plus broadcast, the RAC was absolutely deafening during Rutgers thrilling win over Princeton.

That was just during Anthony Ashnault’s tremendous victory. The Scarlet Knights got bonus points at heavyweight to win outright in a back and forth affair to claim their 23rd straight victory over the Tigers.

Here is how it all went down:

Nick Suriano responds at 133

After Shane Metzler was pinned with one second left in the first period vs. Patrick Glory, Rutgers found themselves in a 6-0 hole. Suriano answered with a 25-9 technical fall to pull Rutgers back within a point. Every single point mattered in the meet considering Rutgers would have lost on criteria due to Glory’s pin.

There’s a New King at 149

What. A. Match.

Ashnault wrestled with absolute authority against his longtime college rival. From the start, Ashnault put the pressure on Kolodzik, drew a stall warning, and it was at the point, you knew something special was going to happen. Just not like this.

Once Ashnault threw Kolodzik to his back, he was in his head. He would follow up with a few takedowns and brought Kolodzik to his back once more for a 10-2 major decision, which would factor in later. An incredible performance for the redshirt senior and by next week, Ashnault will be No. 1 across all polls at 149.

The second half was wild

After the excitement at 149, John Van Brill wrestled well in a 9-3 victory over Quincy Monday to put Rutgers head 12-9 at the break.

Stephan Glasgow dropped a heartbreaker to Dale Tiongson in tiebreaker one. Glasgow hurt his knee once more and battled back down 5-2 to force sudden victory. Unfortunately for the freshman, he could not finish his takedown and wound up dropping that one 8-5.

Joe Grello would come in to save the day. Going to sudden victory, Grello was able to lock up a cradle for a takedown and near fall points to earn an 8-2 victory and he put Rutgers ahead 15-12.

After a sudden victory loss from Nick Gravina and a close 3-2 loss for Matt Correnti against No. 3 Patrick Brucki, Christian Colucci needed bonus points to secure the dual for Rutgers.

Colucci has been struggling to score and really open up his offense this season, but he came through when it mattered the most. A few late takedowns and near fall points secured a 12-2 major decision and ultimately gave Rutgers the win. The cowbells are out in full force!

Was that the end for Nick Gravina?

One of my favorite Rutgers wrestlers to watch, Gravina has been in and out this season, having only wrestled four matches. There’s been a lot of speculation regarding his shoulder injury and his loss today in sudden victory is still surprising. Gravina seems to be hampered by his once fully healthy shoulder from the beginning of the season.

With Willie Scott set to return at some point, it would not be surprising to see Gravina shut down and Scott plugged back in at 184 come tournament time. This situation will be monitored and next week’s match on the road will be telling as far as the plans moving forward.

Eating of the words

Princeton head coach Chris Ayers said last week that Ashnault would not score on Kolodzik. Well, he went double digits.

Box Score:

125: Pat Glory (PRIN) over Shane Metzler (RUTG) (Fall 2:58)

133: Nick Suriano (RUTG) over Jonathan Gomez (PRIN) (TF 25-9 6:54)

141: Marshall Keller (PRIN) over Mike Van Brill (RUTG) (Dec 8-5)

149: Anthony Ashnault (RUTG) over Matthew Kolodzik (PRIN) (MD 10-2)

157: John Van Brill (RUTG) over Quincy Monday (PRIN) (Dec 9-3)

165: Dale Tiongson (PRIN) over Stephan Glasgow (RUTG) (TB-1 8-5)

174: Joe Grello (RUTG) over Travis Stefanik (PRIN) (SV-1 8-2)

184: Kevin Parker (PRIN) over Nick Gravina (RUTG) (SV-1 4-2)

197: Patrick Brucki (PRIN) over Matt Correntti (RUTG) (Dec 3-2)

285: Christian Colucci (RUTG) over Kendall Elfstrum (PRIN) (MD 12-2)

What’s Next?

Rutgers will go on the road Friday and Sunday as they take on Indiana and No. 19 Purdue. On paper, it looks like Rutgers is favored plenty over the Hoosiers and should have a close bout with the Boilermakers.