For the first time in program history, Rutgers will have two finalists in the Big Ten Tournament. Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault won 6-3 and 5-1, respectively to get ready for Session IV at 3 pm tomorrow.
Suriano had a war with Iowa’s Austin DeSanto and got his payback in a physical bout. There were some extra juice in the end with some shoves from Suriano and jawing from DeSanto. Suriano will wrestle Ohio State’s Luke Pletcher in the finals after Michigan’s Stevan Micic medically forfeited his bout.
SURIANO TAKES DESANTO OUT AT THE BUZZER!!! pic.twitter.com/Lx7D36uzz1— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) March 10, 2019
133 | BOOM! (3) Nick Suriano lands the last-second takedown to defeat (3) Austin DeSanto (IOWA), 6-3! He moves on to the Big Ten title match!#B1GWrestle | #RelentlessPursuit pic.twitter.com/Xb8vcCuEFr— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) March 10, 2019
Ashnault controlled his way to another victory over Minnesota’s Tommy Thorn and he’ll go for his third Big Ten title. He’ll wrestle Ohio State’s Micah Jordan in a rematch of the Cliff Keen Finals won by Ashnault.
149 | BOOM! For the third time in his career, (1) Anthony Ashnault advances to the Big Ten finals after his 5-1 decision over (4) Tommy Thorn (MINN)!#B1GWrestle | #RelentlessPursuit pic.twitter.com/C8xAlYk3Fd— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) March 10, 2019
How is this for a little history? With Ashnault’s latest victory, he has tied Mike McHugh for the most victories in program history with 117.
With his victory tonight in the semifinals, Anthony Ashnault tied Mike McHugh (1986-89) for the most wins in program history at 117 for his career.#RelentlessPursuit | #GoRU pic.twitter.com/wfYgS6bisJ— Rutgers Wrestling (@RUWrestling) March 10, 2019
Now, onto the rest of the wrestlers:
John Van Brill had a good beginning to the night with a solid 3-1 win over Purdue’s Griffin Parriott, after losing to him earlier this season. Van Brill punched his ticket to Pittsburgh and will wrestle for seventh place tomorrow in Session III after dropping an 8-2 decision to Northwestern’s Ryan Deakin in the consolation bracket.
For Nick Gravina, the “Stone Cold Italian” is moving on to NCAA’s for one last shot at All-American status. It’s amazing considering he was surprisingly granted this sixth year, battled injuries once again, only wrestled six matches before Big Ten’s and grinded his way to Pittsburgh. He earned a close 4-3 decision over Michigan State’s Cameron Caffey.
In the next round, Gravina took down Wisconsin’s Mason Reinhardt 4-3 after the second set of tiebreakers. With another gritty win, Gravina will wrestle Emery Parker and can finish no lower than sixth while still being able to finish as high as third.
As for the other Scarlet Knights in the wrestle back rounds, it was a tough beginning to Session II. Shane Metzler, Peter Lipari, and Stephan Glasgow all lost their initial bouts to fall into the 9th place brackets.
Glasgow, after his loss, forfeited out of the tournament, likely due to his ailing knee. It is a disappointing end to what at first looked like a promising true freshman campaign that was hampered by injury.
Metzler defeated Devin Schnupp of Penn State for a second time to advance in the 9th place bracket tomorrow. He’ll need two victories to clinch an automatic bid. Lipari meanwhile, had a bye so he’s in the remaining four for 9th place.
Joe Grello was eliminated from any chance at an automatic bid after a 4-2 decision to Wisconsin’s Ryan Christensen and he’ll have to wait for the NCAA to announce their wild card berths if he has any shot of getting to Pittsburgh.
What could help Grello’s case is wrestling back and finishing 9th. While 174 is only taking the Top 8, if Grello can finish ninth, he’ll add some wins to help his resume for a wild card and, should the unforeseen happen, be the next man in should any of the top eight in the Big Ten have to sit out of NCAA’s due to injury.
Christian Colucci saw his Big Ten Tournament end with a 4-0 loss to Nebraska’s David Jensen. He will also have to wait and see if he can grab a wild card berth for NCAA’s.