Rutgers Wrestling hosted it’s media day today and we were able to gather (and confirm) a ton of information heading into this year’s campaign. Coach Goodale spoke for roughly 25 minutes, and the full press conference video can be found below. Here are five takeaways from Coach Goodale’s presser.
Rivera/Alvarez Weight Class
Coach Goodale confirmed that Sammy Alvarez and Sebastian Rivera will be staying at their respective weight classes from last season (133/141lbs). Goodale indicated this was mainly Rivera’s decision after Rivera wrestled at 65kgs (143lbs) all off-season and is “plenty strong” for the 141lbs weight class.
He also mentioned that Alvarez is committed to a lifestyle change that will allow him to make the 133lbs weight class more easily, although he stressed how difficult weight cutting can be. Having both Alvarez and Rivera in the lineup is paramount to achieving the year end goals of the team.
Most Hands on Deck for Opening Quad Meet
Coach expects all wrestlers on the team to be available for the season opening quad meet on 11/7, with the exception of Nick Raimo, Billy Janzer, and Dean Peterson. Coach also stated that Sebastian Rivera would be skipping next week’s U23 World Championships, so he’ll be available right at the start of the season.
Goodale confirmed that the plan is still to have highly ranked heavyweight recruit Kyonte Hamilton available in the second semester. Hamilton is currently getting reps with Rutgers Football squad, but the plan is give him “about a week off and then get him in the room” after the football season concludes.
Intrasquad Indicator Matches Happening Soon
This coming Saturday, 10/30, there will be intrasquad “indicator” matches to help determine where everyone on the roster stacks up. While these matches determine the final starter at some schools, Coach Goodale has always been against this idea and that holds true for this season.
Coach did state that wrestlers will need to make weight for the first time this year two hours prior to the indicator matches (simulating the regular season scenario where wrestlers weigh in two hours before competition).
Depth and Expectations
When asked, Coach Goodale confirmed that this is may be the most talented and deep team he’s assembled on paper, but they need to go out and perform. The team enters the season with the #12 rank via Intermat and Coach said with that ranking comes expectations, but the guys are ready to meet them.
His goal is a top 4 trophy at the national tournament and when asked what the difference was between this team and others in the past, he emphasized that the wrestlers in the room now truly believe that they can be successful at that tournament.
Starting Lineup Seems Mostly Confirmed.
The starting lineup appears to be set as Coach Goodale confirmed freshman Andrew Clark would be stepping in at 165lbs as the starter. Coach was specifically high on Clark, who fans may not be familiar with yet. Coach also mentioned that Jake Benner would be bumping up to 165lbs to compete for that starting role even though he’s probably better suited at 157lbs.
Incoming 197lbs transfer Greg Bulsak also drew high praise from Goodale, who described the senior as “a professional who leads by example.” In an ideal scenario, Coach said would like to redshirt every incoming freshman this year, but doesn’t know if it’s feasible. He does expect to send some of the eventual redshirts to the Southern Scuffle Tournament in early 2022 which annually draws top competition from around the country.
The excitement around this team was palpable during the press conference and Coach Goodale is fired up to get the season started. The team is fully embracing the expectations of them going into the year and seemingly have firm plans to exceed them.
Fans won’t have to wait much longer to see the team in action, as the opening season quad meet is a mere 10 days away. It was also just announced today that the squad will be featured on two national broadcasts, Sunday 1/16 on ESPN against Penn State and Saturday 2/12 on the Big Ten Network vs Maryland.
I’ll have an article breaking down my interviews with the wrestlers soon, as it was great to hear the confidence and excitement from the guys I talked to.