No. 12 Rutgers Wrestling (10-0, 0-0) will take on the Hoosiers of Indiana (2-0, 0-0) Friday night, 1/7, at 7:00PM in their first Big Ten dual meet of the season. The Rutgers squad is coming off a 5th place finish at the quickly put together MatMen Open after the cancellation of the annual Midlands Championships.
The match will take place at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway and fans should be aware of the new entrance policy related to COVID-19 which can be found here.
Intermat recently updated their national rankings and while the team remained firmly at No. 12, there was some significant individual movement, as seven wrestlers find themselves ranked in the latest offering.
The only positive jump comes from the new No. 7 ranked wrestler at 197lbs Greg Bulsak, who makes the jump from No. 12 after his MatMen Open Title where he took out then No. 2 Nino Bonaccorsi of Pitt.
The victory earned Bulsak Big Ten Co-Wrestler of the Week honors as he is starting to get the national recognition he has earned so far this year.
♂️ Meet the Co-Wrestler of the Week: Greg Bulsak, @RUWrestling— Big Ten Wrestling (@B1GWrestling) January 4, 2022
Compiled a 4-0 record on his way to an individual title at the 2021 Illinois Matmen Openhttps://t.co/QRar7cv01W | #B1GWrestle pic.twitter.com/FMqIIhVm85
Fresh off his own MatMen Open championship, Sebastian Rivera remains ranked at No. 4 at 141lbs, while No. 19 Mike VanBrill and No. 5 John Poznanski also maintained their rankings from the previous Intermat update at 149lbs and 184lbs respectively.
Dylan Shawver fell five spots to No. 30 at 125lbs and 133lber Sammy Alvarez checks in at No. 16, down four spots. Jackson Turley fell to No. 26 after he failed to place at the MatMen Open at 174lbs, but his season is just beginning in all reality.
Unfortunately, Rob Kanniard and Boone McDermott fell out of the top 33 in their respective weight classes.
Despite the drop in individual rankings, the squad matches up very well with Indiana, who come to the dual with four ranked wrestlers according to Intermat.
The premier matchup of the evening should be at 184lbs as there is potential for a top-10 showdown between Rutgers No. 5 John Poznanski and Indiana’s No. 8 Donnell Washington.
Both Poznanski and Washington have 10-0 records on the year but it’s Washington who comes into the dual having scored bonus points in all but one match (albeit mostly in open tournaments).
The other potential ranked matchups we could see are all in the lower weights and include No. 30 Dylan Shawver taking on the Hoosiers’ No. 25 Jacob Moran at 125lbs, Rutgers’ No. 16 Sammy Alvarez against No. 19 Brock Hudkins at 133lbs, and No. 4 Sebastian Rivera squared up with Indiana’s No. 26 Cayden Rooks.
With the COVID situation being what it is, the matchups are subject to change, but here’s hoping we get complete lineups for both teams. With complete lineups, I see Rutgers taking 7-8 matches here with final score prediction at 27-6 in favor of the home team.
Indiana has only participated in two official dual meets so far this season, electing to compete in mostly open tournaments during the first semester. This dual represents their first contest against major competition, so it remains to be seen what the roster is truly capable of.
Poznanski and VanBrill both missed the MatMen Open, but are the only wrestlers listed at their respective weights on the Rutgers official match preview, so we can expect them to go.
Sammy Alvarez suffered an ankle injury during the MatMen Open and is listed with teammate Devon Britton at 133lbs, so his availability is most likely questionable heading into the dual.
The Scarlet Knights will also be in action Sunday as they travel to Madison, Wisconsin to take on the Badgers. A match preview for that will go up this weekend before the dual.