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2021 MatMen Open Day One Recap

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No. 12 Rutgers advances four to the championship semifinals with seven wrestlers still alive in consolations.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Peter Ackerman / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 12 Rutgers Wrestling wrapped up day one of competition at the Inaugural MatMen Open Wednesday night at the Now Arena in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The team has 11 wrestlers still alive after the first day of competition with four still vying for the championship. The team currently sits in 4 place in the team score with 49 points, behind Wisconsin, Pittsburgh, and Penn.

During the first session Wednesday morning, Rutgers advanced seven (five attached) wrestlers to the championship quarterfinals while four additional wrestlers remained in the consolation bracket, hoping to wrestle back to a 3rd place finish.

Highlights from the opening session included No. 25 Dylan Shawver pouring on the points to win by major decision over Bryce West of Northern Illinois, 15-4.

No. 12 at 133lbs Sammy Alvarez continued his dominant style of wrestling, utilizing multiple counter attacks to secure takedowns while working a tilt to secure a 21-2 technical fall victory as time expired during his round of 16 bout.

True freshman Joey Olivieri was impressive in his first two contests during the morning session, gaining major decision victories in both matches while competing unattached.

No. 4 at 141lbs Sebastian Rivera made quick work of his opponent, securing a fall just a minute and a half into the first period of his match.

True freshman Anthony White of South Plainfield continued to impress during his redshirt campaign winning his only match of the morning by decision, 4-0.

At 197lbs, No. 12 Greg Bulsak smothered his Franklin & Marshall opponent with another impressive ride to win by major decision, 13-3.

At heavyweight, No. 26 Boone McDermott used a late-match throw to gain a takedown and major decision victory, 10-2.

No. 16 Jackson Turley, in only his second competition of the 2021-22 season, fell in his opening round match to Nate Dugan of Princeton at 174lbs and looked gassed early, but rebounded nicely in the consolation bracket morning session, pinning his first opponent from Northern Iowa late in the second period.

Al Desantis, Andrew Clark, and Connor O’Neill each remained alive in the consolation bracket after the morning session at 149, 165, and 174lbs respectively.

Unfortunately, Devon Britton (1-2) and No. 29 Rob Kanniard (0-2) were eliminated from the tournament during session one, each falling in their first consolation bracket match.

Action continued during the second session of the day which saw the championship quarterfinals take place, along with one round of consolation bracket action.

At 125lbs, No. 25 Dylan Shawver used a first period fireman’s carry and some slick defense to continue his tournament run, beating Zurich Storm of Campbell, 3-2.

No. 12 Sammy Alvarez had a tough time at 133lbs with Carter Bailey of Lehigh, giving up three takedowns in the first period before hurting his ankle. After using all the allotted injury time, he limped back to center mat and was clearly not in good shape, promptly giving up a pin about five seconds into the restart to fall to the consolation bracket.

Also at 133lbs, unattached Joey Olivieri hung tough with No. 6 Micky Phillippi, conceding a close 2-0 decision. Although not the ideal result, hanging tough with a top-ten wrestler is a good building block for the young Olivieri, who heads to the consolation bracket.

At 141lbs, after a tight first period that saw the score knotted 2-2, No. 4 Sebastian Rivera hit two takedowns and a tilt in the second period to blow the match open. Rivera then secured another tilt late in the third period to gain the technical fall victory, 18-2.

Unattached 149lber Anthony White worked two first period takedowns and a complete ride-out of the second period to gain the 5-1 decision victory. White had a rough time on bottom in the third period against the leg-ride of Bucknell’s Kolby Depron but was able to hang on.

No. 12 Greg Bulsak was up against Cody Baldridge of North Central for his championship quarterfinal match and continued his dominant top wrestling, gaining a quick takedown in the first and then utilizing two big mat returns to ride out the period.

The second was more of the same as Bulsak escaped quickly, utilized a high crotch for a takedown, and rode out the period. Up 5-0 heading into the third, Bulsak poured on more points in the period to secure the major decision victory, 13-2.

No. 26 Boone McDermott closed out action in the championship quarterfinals for Rutgers as he took on Jake Slinger of Pitt. McDermott worked an early takedown to gain a 2-1 lead after one. Slinger was out quick to start the second and knot the score at 2-2 and that was all the action in the period.

McDermott picked bottom for the third and had some trouble getting out initially but was able to escape about 40 seconds into the period to take a 3-2 lead, but then gave up a takedown to Slinger to fall behind.

McDermott then worked a reversal with 10 seconds left to again take the lead, but Slinger was able to reverse him on the restart and score two back points to secure the 8-5 decision. McDermott will look to make a splash now in the consolation bracket.

In consolation bracket action, 149lber Al Desantis worked a pair of slick takedowns in the second and third periods respectively to advance, winning by decision 7-5.

At 165lbs, Andrew Clark secured a 5-3 decision victory over unattached Michael Caliendo to continue his consi-bracket run. The match was off-stream for some reason so the details escape me here.

Up at 174lbs, Connor O’Neill took on John Crawford of Franklin & Marshall in his third-round consolation bracket match and scored a four point move in the first period to gain the early 4-2 lead after one. O’Neill then blew it wide open in the third period with a tilt to win by decision, 12-5.

Also at 174lbs in the consi-bracket, No. 16 Jackson Turley scored an early takedown in the first and then put on a wicked ride for the remainder of the period. The second period saw only a Turley escape before he gained another takedown in the third to win and advance, 6-1.

Turley has looked better and better as the tournament has gone on, which should be expected as he gets his legs under him.

Overall, Rutgers had a solid day on the mat despite the few upset losses. They advance four (three attached) to Thursday’s championship semifinals while seven are still alive in the consolation bracket.

One match I’m specifically looking forward to is the semifinal bout between Rutgers No. 12 Greg Bulsak and Wisconsin’s No. 26 Braxton Amos. Amos is a Junior World Champion and has looked strong so far during this tournament.

Action resumes Thursday morning with the semifinals, consolations, and 7th place matches beginning at 11:00AM. The finals, 3rd, and 5th place matches will start at 6:00PM. All the matches will again be stream on the Illinois MatMen Rokfin channel. Full results for the team can be found below.

125: No. 25 Dylan Shawver

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Bryce West (Northern Illinois) wins by major dec., 15-4

Rd. 3 vs Zurich Storm (Campbell) wins by dec., 3-2

Semifinals vs No. 33 Ryan Miller (Penn)

133: No. 12 Sammy Alvarez

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Nicholas Masters (Princeton) wins by technical fall, 21-2

Rd. 3 vs Carter Bailey (Lehigh) loses by FALL (2:20)

CB. Rd 4 vs Jack Wagner (Northern Iowa)

133: Devon Britton – Eliminated (1-2)

Rd. 1 vs Nicky Cabanillas (Brown) wins by dec., 9-4

Rd. 2 vs Drew Mattin (Michigan) loses by dec., 4-8

CB Rd. 2 vs Julian Farber (unattached) loses by dec., 0-4

133: Joey Olivieri (unattached)

Rd. 1 vs Brandon Spellman (Princeton) wins by major dec., 12-1

Rd. 2 vs Jack Skudlarzyk (Northern Iowa) wins by major dec., 9-0

Rd. 3 vs No. 6 Micky Phillippi (Pitt) loses by dec., 0-2

CB Rd. 4 vs No. 23 Kyle Burwick (Wisconsin)

141: No. 4 Sebastian Rivera

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Kenny Herrmann (Harvard) wins by FALL (1:35)

Rd. 3 vs McKenzie Bell (unattached) wins by tech. fall, 18-2 (6:56)

Semifinals vs Joseph Zargo (Wisconsin)

149: Al Desantis

Rd. 1 vs Dillon Pousson (unattached) wins by major dec., 9-1

Rd. 2 vs No. 10 Josh Heil (Campbell) loses by dec., 2-5

CB Rd. 2 vs Kaya Sement (Penn) wins by dec., 6-2

CB Rd. 3 vs Luke Kemerer (Pitt) wins by dec., 7-5

CB Rd. 4 vs Kolby Depron (Bucknell)

149: Anthony White (unattached)

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Lukus Stricker (Harvard) wins by dec., 4-0

Rd. 3 vs Kolby Depron (Bucknell) wins by dec., 5-1

Semifinals vs No. 10 Josh Heil (Campbell)

157: No. 29 Rob Kanniard – Elminated (0-2)

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Brawley Lamer (Cal Poly) loses by dec., 2-6

CB Rd. 2 vs Nick Delp (Bucknell) loses by dec., 4-10

165: Andrew Clark

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs No. 15 Zach Hartman (Bucknell) loses by major dec., 0-10

CB Rd. 2 vs Michael Kistler (Penn) wins by FALL (4:50)

CB Rd. 3 vs Michael Caliendo (unattached) wins by dec., 5-3

CB Rd. 4 vs No. 21 Danny Braunagel (Illinois)

174: No. 16 Jackson Turley

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Nate Dugan (Princeton) loses by dec., 3-5 SV1

CB Rd. 2 vs Dajun Johnson (Northern Iowa) wins by FALL (4:56)

CB Rd. 3 vs Hunter Kernan (Pitt) wins by dec., 6-1

CB Rd. 4 vs No. 29 Josh Kim (Harvard)

174: Connor O’Neill

Rd. 1 vs Manuel Rojas (unattached) loses by dec, 12-16

CB Rd. 1 vs BYE

CB Rd. 2 vs Graham Calhoun (unattached) wins by dec., 4-2

CB Rd. 3 vs John Crawford (Franklin & Marshall) wins by dec., 12-5

CB Rd. 4 vs Nate Dugan (Princeton)

197: No. 12 Greg Bulsak

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Tristin Guaman (Franklin & Marshall) wins by major dec., 13-3

Rd. 3 vs Cody Baldridge (North Central) wins by major dec., 13-2

Semifinals vs No. 26 Braxton Amos (Wisconsin)

285: No. 26 Boone McDermott

Rd. 1 vs BYE

Rd. 2 vs Lear Quinton (Brown) wins by major dec., 10-2

Rd. 3 vs Jake Slinger (Pitt) loses by dec., 8-5

CB Rd. 4 vs Jack Delgarbino (Princeton)