Rutgers Wrestling heads south this Saturday for another early season quad-meet, this time at the Baker Sports Arena at Davidson University. Rutgers is slated to take on Clarion University, UT-Chattanooga, and the host school, Davidson. It should be a step up in competition when compared to this past Sunday’s quad at Jersey Mike’s Arena, as there are four potentially ranked matchups throughout the day.
Intermat recently updated their rankings and although most of the eight wrestlers that were ranked coming into this week stayed relatively stagnant, there’s now a ninth ranked wrestler as heavyweight Boone McDermott comes in at #29.
McDermott made his home debut (in front of fans) this past Sunday and he talked after how the atmosphere got him pumped up, “It was awesome, I was super excited to finally have fans in there and to get the feeling of what it’s really like,” said McDermott.
It’s very early in the year but having 9 of 10 wrestlers ranked nationwide is another banner achievement for this program that continues to improve season after season. The action on Saturday begins at 10:00AM which matches following at 11:30AM and 1:00PM respectively. The order of the matches is different on each team’s website, so I’m going with what the host school Davidson has posted.
Rutgers vs Davidson
The first opponent on the day will be the Davidson University Wildcats. Davidson doesn’t have any wrestlers currently ranked according to Intermat and Rutgers should come away from this with a shut-out win.
Davidson participated in the Southeast Open last weekend and had four wrestlers earn a top-4 finish (although two were in the same weight class) in the freshman/sophomore division. They also had two wrestlers place sixth in the open division.
Rutgers vs UT-Chattanooga
Next up for Rutgers on Saturday will be the Mocs of the University of Tennessee- Chattanooga (UTC). The Mocs defeated NAIA member school Cumberland University this past weekend, 25-15.
UTC’s lineup features four ranked wrestlers, one being Fabian Gutierrez who comes in at #22 at 125lbs according to Intermat. This could lead to a ranked matchup with the Scarlet Knight’s #26 ranked Dylan Shawver.
Another potentially ranked matchup during this dual would see UTC’s #30 ranked wrestler at 184lbs Matthew Waddell going up against RU’s #5 ranked John Poznanski. The final match that may feature ranked wrestlers during this meet could see UTC’s #31 ranked at 197lbs Logan Andrew against Rutgers’ #14 Greg Bulsak. UTC also has a ranked wrestler at 165lbs in #27 Drew Nicholson.
It should be noted that none of the four ranked wrestlers participated in the Mocs season opening dual, so their availability is unknown for this weekend. I expect Rutgers to win 8-9 matches here with the potential for bonus points in the majority of those.
Rutgers vs Clarion
The final matchup of the day for the RU squad comes against the Golden Eagles of Clarion University. The Clarion team participated in their namesake open tournament this past weekend, claiming two individual titles and fourth place overall as a team.
Their sole ranked wrestler, #23 at 149lbs Brent Moore, took home one of those Clarion Open titles and could face off against Rutgers’ #27 ranked Mike VanBrill. Although Clarion comes into the dual with just one ranked wrestler, they do have several that appear to be on the fringe of being ranked, so I anticipate a tighter final score.
Rutgers will be favored in 9 of 10 match-ups here with potential for bonus points in several bouts. #14 Greg Bulsak, who transferred to Rutgers after spending his first five years at Clarion, will look to continue his impressive start to the season against his former squad.
After the matches this past weekend, Coach Goodale spoke about having ranked wrestlers like Bulsak at the end of the lineup and the confidence it instills, “These guys have some pretty serious goals, and they train very professionally,” said Goodale. “I’m confident because I know they’re confident in their preparation,” Goodale continued, “I think this is just a step and they are going to get way better-we have to get way better because this conference is an incredible conference.”
On paper, Rutgers should come home with a 6-0 record relatively easily. I would imagine Coach Goodale is bringing a good portion of the team down to Davidson, so we will hopefully see a bunch of different wrestlers in action as we did with the first quad-meet.