A three-time All-American is coming home, as Northwestern grad transfer Sebastian “Sea Bass” Rivera announced that he is transferring to Rutgers on Friday afternoon. Just months after becoming a two-time Big Ten Tournament champion on the mat at the RAC, the Jackson, New Jersey native and former state champion at CBA is set to return for his last season of eligibility.
Rutgers officially announced Rivera joining the program on Friday and head coach Scott Goodale said “We’re excited to welcome Sebastian back home to Jersey and cannot wait to get him in our wrestling room with the rest of the guys. Sebastian is an instant threat to win both a Big Ten and national title and it is awesome he will have an opportunity to do so in his home state with a Rutgers singlet on.”
Rivera has a career 74-12 record in three seasons at Northwestern, wrestling the first two at 125 pounds before moving up to 133 pounds this past year. He finished in sixth place at the 2018 NCAA Championships, while improving with a third place national finish in 2019. He missed significant time this past season dealing with an injury, but was able to return as the fifth seed at the Big Ten Tournament, setting up an impressive title run. Rivera took down former national champion and no. 1 seed Seth Gross of Wisconsin before winning the championship match over Penn State’s Roman Bravo-Young. The performance earned Rivera the no. 1 seed for the NCAA Championships set for later in March before it was cancelled due to COVID-19. He was also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler at the Big Ten Championship as voted on by the coaches.
Per a report from James Kratch, Rivera is likely to move up to 141 pounds at Rutgers. This makes sense as All-American Sammy Alvarez returns and there is still a possibility former national champion Nick Suriano could return after taking this past season off for the Olympics that were ultimately postponed.
The addition of Rivera is tremendous news for Scott Goodale and his coaching staff. They continue to stockpile talent within the program, now adding a true national title contender to the roster.
They are set to have an extremely deep lineup for next season. The lineup within the first three weight classes will likely include three All-Americans in Nic Aguilar at 125 pounds, Alvarez at 133 pounds and Rivera at 141 pounds. Former no. 1 recruit JoJo Aragona wrestled at 141 last season and gives RU excellent depth. The back end of the lineup is bolstered by the return of Christian Colucci and the recent addition of JUCO national champion Boone McDermott. In addition, the 2020 recruiting class brings top tier talent to the upper weight classes in Kyle Epperly and John Poznanski.
The future is extremely bright on the RAC mat for Rutgers wrestling.