It was a good first session for the Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers will have three wrestlers in the 2nd round of the championship bracket: Nick Suriano, Anthony Ashnault, and John Van Brill while Pete Lipari, Joe Grello, and Nick Gravina will begin to fight their way through the wrestle back rounds tonight.
In total, Rutgers went 4-3 in individual matches and sat in 10th place in the team race after Gravina finished up the session for the Scarlet Knights.
133: No. 3 Nick Suriano
Result: Win by Major Decision 12-3 over No. 30 Dylan Duncan (Illinois)
-Suriano was tactical with four takedowns and managed two point tilt. Thank you, next.
He’ll take on No. 14 Korbin Myers of Virginia Tech in the 2nd round.
141: No. 33 Pete Lipari
Results: Win by Decision 7-5 over No. 32 Christopher Sandoval (UNCO) - Pigtail
Loss by Decision 10-5 to No. 1 Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell)
-Lipari made his NCAA Tournament debut with a a nice win over Sandoval. He led 4-2 in the third before giving up an escape and takedown. Once he escaped, he earned a takedown with 10 seconds left to hang on for the win.
In his second match, Lipari gave everything he had against defending champion Diakomihalis. He even earned a reversal and was in deep on a few shots. The Cornell stud was just too much for the 33rd seed making his NCAA Championships debut.
Lipari will take on No. 17 Ian Parker of Iowa State in the first round of wrestle backs. Lipari will need a win to stay alive and make it to Friday Morning’s Session III.
149: No. 1 Anthony Ashnault
Result: Win by Major Decision 10-2 over No. 33 Malik Amine (Michigan)
-Ashnault was relentless with his neutral attacks and tremendous on top. He amassed well over four minutes of riding time and rolled his way into the second round with his third victory of the season over Amine.
Ashnault will take on No. 16 Davon Jeffries of Oklahoma in the 2nd round.
157: No. 16 John Van Brill
Result: Win by Major Decision 10-2 over No. 17 BC LaPrade (Virginia Tech)
-Van Brill earned some nice tilts in this one, including a fancy, hybrid sort of cradle along the edge of the mat. He will get Penn State’s Jason Nolf in the 2nd round tonight. It is a long awaited rematch as Van Brill is technically the last person to defeat Nolf, albeit by injury default. Van Brill trailed 5-4 in that match while in the process of winning a scramble before Nolf could not continue.
174: No. 29 Joe Grello
Result: Loss by Decision 8-3 to No. 4 Myles Amine (Michigan)
-Grello wrestled tough but just couldn’t find any scoring lanes against the All-American out of Ann Arbor. He usually wrestles the big names pretty well, but has yet to break through in that department.
Grello will wrestle No. 13 Britt Wilson of Northern Illinois in the first round of wrestle backs. He needs a win in order to advance to Friday morning.
184: No. 21 Nick Gravina
Result: Loss by Decision 3-2 to No. 12 Cash Wilcke (Iowa)
-Gravina looked very aggressive in neutral and went back to his old ways of a lot of upper body attacks and scrambling. There was a close call on the edge of regarding a takedown, but even after a challenge brick thrown by Scott Goodale, Gravina was not awarded two. However, this was the most fluid and aggressive we’ve seen Gravina all season.
He’ll take on No. 28 Noah Stewart of Army in the first round of wrestle backs. He will need a win if he wants to keep his All-American hopes alive and advance to Session III on Friday morning.
Session II will get underway at 7 pm tonight on ESPN for your television viewing. Of course, give my former student station a listen as Matt Howe and Garret Gotthelf bring you the action on 88.7 WRSU FM. Make sure you listen, you might hear me make some surprise appearances!
Update: Session II recap here.