No. 12 Rutgers Wrestling (11-0, 1-0) hosted Big Ten rival Indiana (2-1, 0-1) on Friday night at a sparsely filled Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway. The Scarlet Knights were more than the Hoosiers could handle as the home team won eight of ten matches to take the meet 29-7 to kick off the Big Ten dual schedule on a very high note.
The outcome is more impressive considering No. 16 Sammy Alvarez couldn’t go at 133lbs, one of the matches Indiana was able to win.
The dual opened with our first ranked matchup of the evening, as Rutgers’ No. 30 Dylan Shawver took on No. 25 Jacob Moran of Indiana and after a brief scramble, Moran scored a takedown to take the early lead.
After that, it was all Shawver as he was out right away and used his patented fireman’s carry to score a takedown of his own and rode out the rest of the period to lead 3-2 after one. Shawver chose bottom for the second and was out quickly.
Another quick scramble saw Shawver come out on top to secure a takedown and extend his lead to 6-2. Shawver went to work on top, tilting Moran for two backpoints to lead 8-2 after the second.
Moran chose neutral to start the third as he had about enough of Shawver’s top dominance. A minute into the period, Shawver used a slick duck-under to score another takedown, worked another tilt for two, and rode out the rest of the match to gain the major decision upset victory, 13-2. A statement win for No. 30 Shawver.
No. 16 Sammy Alvarez didn’t weigh in for the Scarlet Knights, so it was Devon Britton stepping up in his place to take on No. 19 Brock Hudkins at 133lbs. Britton and Hudkins were in a long scramble to start the period, but neither was able to gain the advantage.
Moran worked a takedown near the end of the period and was able to tilt Britton for two nearfall points to lead 4-0 after one. Hudkins chose bottom to start the second and his escape would be the only point of the period.
Britton trailed 5-0 when the third period commenced, and he chose bottom. Unfortunately, Britton wasn’t able to gain an escape and he fell 6-0, when the riding time point was added.
The second ranked matchup of the evening was at 141lbs where Rutgers’ No. 4 Sebastian Rivera was up against No. 26 Cayden Rooks of the Hoosiers. It took Rivera about a minute to figure out how to finish on the lanky Rooks, but he was then able to secure his takedown and quickly turned Rooks for four nearfall points.
Rooks escaped after the tilt and Rivera scored another takedown to extend his lead to 8-1 as the first period came to an end. Rivera chose the bottom position to begin the second and was out in 10 seconds. He then went back to work on his feet, utilizing a snatch-single to gain another takedown.
Rooks was able to reverse Rivera near the end of the period and let Rivera up right away. Rivera scored on a low single as the clock expired in the second to extend his lead to 14-3.
Rooks was down for the beginning of the third and Rivera let him up right on the whistle. Rivera scored another takedown quickly after a couple turn attempts, Rooks was out again but Rivera instantly took him down as the buzzer sounded to take the major decision, 19-5.
At 149lbs, No. 19 Mike VanBrill was up next against Graham Rooks and he wasted no time getting behind Rooks to score a quick takedown. Rooks was out quickly and the two spent the remainder of the period fighting off each other’s shot attempts as VanBrill took a 2-1 lead after one.
VanBrill was on top to commence the second and was able to ride Rooks for about a minute before the Hoosier was able to get out. VanBrill was inches from scoring a takedown at the end of the second, but Rooks was able to evade and the score was tied 2-2 after two.
VanBrill chose bottom for the third and was out in three seconds to gain the escape point and the lead. The two then had an amazing, minute-long scramble and just when VanBrill looked dead to rights, he was able to grab a leg and secure the takedown on the edge.
VanBrill stayed on top to end the match and took the decision 6-2 after the riding time point was added. VanBrill didn’t show any rust after nearly a month off the mat, a very impressive win.
At 157lbs, Rob Kanniard took on Derek Gilcher of Indiana and came out on top of an early scramble to take the early 2-0 lead. Gilcher was out right away and scored a takedown of his own to gain the lead. Kanniard gained the escape after a quick ride from Gilcher to knot the match at three points apiece to complete the scoring in the first.
Kanniard chose bottom to begin the second and escaped 30 seconds into the period. Kanniard then muscled his way to a double leg takedown off a shot attempt from Gilcher to take a 6-3 lead late in the second.
Gilcher chose bottom for the third and was able to escape and quickly score a takedown as Kanniard appeared to stumble. Kanniard was out right away, and the score was 7-6 in his advantage with a minute to go.
Gilcher then had Kanniard’s leg in the air but Kanniard was again able to muscle his way to a double leg takedown with an emphatic finish to take the match by decision, 9-7.
At intermission, Rutgers led Indiana by a team score of 14-3, taking four of five matches to begin the dual.
The second half of the dual began at 165lbs where Rutgers’ freshman Andrew Clark took on Sammy Cokeley of the Hoosiers. Clark was in on a couple deep shots throughout the period but couldn’t convert any to points and the match was scoreless after one.
Clark chose bottom to start the second and gained an escape 10 seconds in. Clark was again in deep on several shot attempts in the second and was eventually able to convert a takedown with short time remaining to gain a 3-0 lead to end the period.
Cokeley used his choice to put the wrestlers in neutral to start the third, apparently having little faith in his ability to get out. The two traded shot attempts throughout the period but there was no scoring to be had as Clark held on for the 3-0 decision victory.
In only his second dual of the season, No. 26 Jackson Turley took on Sean Grim of Indiana. Turley locked in a cradle early to score a takedown and eventually wrenched Grim over for four nearfall points. Grim was able to reverse Turley but Turley gained his own reversal almost immediately to lead 8-2 where the period would end.
Turley chose bottom to start the second and after a stall warning against Grim, Turley worked a reversal into another cradle to blow the match open at 14-2. Turley worked another four-point nearfall to earn the technical fall late in the second by a score of 20-2.
In our marquee match of the evening at 184lbs, No. 5 John Poznanski took on No. 8 Donnell Washington of Indiana. It was Washington who opened the scoring with a go-behind takedown followed by a quick Poznanski escape.
There was no other scoring in the first and Washington chose bottom to start the second. Poznanski’s hard ride was rewarded early as he gained a point off two stall warnings on Washington as he rode him out for the entire period, and the score was knotted at two.
Poznanski chose bottom to start the third and was let up after a quick 15 second ride by Washington. Not a ton of action in the third but Poznanski held on to take the victory by decision over No. 8 Donnell Washington, 4-2 after the riding time point was added. A huge win for Poznanski in his first action since December 10th.
Our penultimate match of the evening saw Rutgers’ No. 7 Greg Bulsak up against Nick Willham. Bulsak got the scoring started early as he muscled his way to a takedown about 30 seconds in. Bulsak then smothered Willham on bottom for the rest of the period to keep the 2-0 lead after one.
Willham quickly decided that being under Bulsak was not a fun place to be and chose neutral to start the second. It mattered not as Bulsak quickly scored another takedown and Bulsak was back on top, where he would remain for the rest of the period to lead 4-0 heading into the third.
Bulsak began on bottom for the third but was able to get a reversal about 40 seconds in. Willham was able to get out this time and it was 6-1 with a minute to go. Bulsak scored one more takedown with five seconds left and once the riding time point was added, he secured the major decision victory to continue his hot start, 9-1.
The final match of the evening was at heavyweight where fan favorite Boone McDermott took on Jacob Bullock of the Hoosiers. Bullock was able to counter a McDermott takedown attempt to secure a takedown and McDermott was out quickly.
Bullock was able to gain another takedown late in the period for the 4-1 lead after one. McDermott was on top to start the second and hit Bullock with a big mat return that got a big response from the crowd on hand.
Bullock eventually was able to escape and gained a takedown as the buzzer sounded in the second to extend his lead to 7-1.
In the third, the two started in neutral and after some back-and-forth hand-fighting, Bullock scored another takedown and took the match by major decision, 9-1.
The night featured two exhibition matches that took place before the official dual and Rutgers fell in both. At 133lbs, Malcolm Robinson worked a nice wrist tilt in the second for four back points, but that was most of what he could muster against Noah Gochberg of Indiana who worked several takedowns to take the match, 8-6.
In the other exhibition match of the evening, Jake Benner took on Kasper McIntosh of the Hoosiers at 165lbs. A first period takedown from McIntosh proved to be the difference as Benner fell by decision, 3-2.
For the Scarlet Knights, this was an expected Big Ten win, but they will be tested constantly throughout the rest of the season. Next up will be another Big Ten Conference dual this Sunday against No. 16 Wisconsin (5-0; 1-0) in Madison. The quick turnaround and added travel will be extra hurdles to overcome, so we’ll see how the team responds on the road.
Box Score – Rutgers 29, Indiana 7
125: No. 30 Dylan Shawver vs No. 25 Jacob Moran – Shawver wins by major dec., 13-2.
133: Devon Britton vs No. 19 Brock Hudkins – Hudkins wins by dec., 6-0
141: No. 4 Sebastian Rivera vs No. 26 Cayden Rooks - Rivera wins by major dec., 19-5
149: No. 19 Mike VanBrill vs Graham Rooks - VanBrill wins by dec., 6-2
157: Rob Kanniard vs Derek Gilcher – Kanniard wins by dec., 9-7
165: Andrew Clark vs Sammy Cokeley - Clark wins by dec., 3-0
174: No. 26 Jackson Turley vs Sean Grim – Turley wins by tech. fall, 20-2
184: No. 5 John Poznanski vs No. 8 Donnell Washington – Poznanski wins by dec., 4-2
197: No. 7 Greg Bulsak vs Nick Willham – Bulsak wins by major dec., 9-1
285: Boone McDermott vs Jacob Bullock – Bullock wins by major dec., 9-1
133: Malcolm Robinson vs Noah Gochberg - Gochberg by dec., 7-6
165: Jake Benner vs Kasper McIntosh - McIntosh wins by dec., 3-2