No. 12 Rutgers Wrestling (11-1, 1-1) traveled to Madison, Wisconsin Sunday afternoon for Big Ten dual meet against the No. 16 Badgers (6-0, 2-0). The Scarlet Knights would head home with their first loss on the season as Wisconsin took six of ten matches to earn the 19-14 victory.
At 125lbs, No. 30 Dylan Shawver took on No. 4 Eric Barnett of the Badgers and it was Barnett with a quick takedown about 15 seconds in. Shawver almost got out after about 45 seconds of riding time, but Barnett then threw Shawver to his back to maintain top control and almost scored nearfall points before Shawver got back to his belly.
Wisconsin challenged the call and after review they did in fact award Barnett two nearfall points. Shawver then was able to gain an escape point and the first period ended with Barnett leading 4-1 with two minutes of riding time.
Shawver chose bottom to start the second but couldn’t get out as Barnett rode him for the entire period, same score heading to the third. Shawver on top to start the third and gets hit with his second stall warning of the match to give Barnett another point. Shawver then cut Barnett and was quickly able to gain a takedown.
Shawver let Barnett up right away to try and get back into the match with takedowns, but Barnett wanted no part of it, as he gave up multiple stall warnings of his own but held on to take the 8-4 decision.
No. 16 Sammy Alvarez apparently couldn’t go again, and Rutgers decided to pull talented freshman Joey Olivieri’s redshirt and sent him out to take on No. 25 Kyle Burwick. The wrestlers traded shot attempts throughout the period but for some reason the official decided to warn Olivieri for stalling two minutes in, an awful call.
Scoreless after one and Olivieri chose bottom to start the second where he reversed Burwick with a nice granby-roll to take the 2-0 lead. Burwick was out right away but Olivieri secured another takedown quickly.
Olivieri let Burwick out and the period ended in a scramble where Olivieri was almost able to score some nearfall points, but time ran out and he took a 4-2 lead into the third.
Burwick on bottom to start the third and got out about 50 seconds in, but Olivieri was able to fight off all Burwick’s shot attempts to take the win, 4-3. A gigantic varsity debut win for the freshman.
At 141lbs, No. 4 Sebastian Rivera took on No. 24 Joe Zargo of Wisconsin and Rivera quickly scored a takedown about 8 seconds in. Rivera got too high on a power half attempt and had to let Zargo up, just to immediately take him down again with a shuck to take a 4-1 lead.
Rivera started a smothering ride and was able to gain two nearfall points on a tilt near the end of the period. Rivera chose bottom to start the second and was out instantly. Another takedown for Rivera off a snap and he was up 9-1 halfway through the second.
A stall warning point and four more nearfall points extended Rivera’s lead to 14-1 as the period ended. Rivera on top to start the third and let Zargo out right away.
Rivera was then hunting for the technical fall as he scored another takedown and cut Zargo, which Rivera turned into another takedown for the technical fall win, 19-3. A huge bonus point win for the veteran Rivera.
The billed marquee match of the afternoon saw No. 19 Mike VanBrill taking on No. 11 Austin Gomez of the Badgers. The two started the match with a 30 second scramble that ended in a stalemate.
There were back and forth shot attempts from each wrestler before Gomez was able to get behind as the period was ending and secured a takedown. VanBrill on top to begin the second and Gomez was out after 30 seconds.
The two traded shot attempts but it was Gomez who got behind with the same takedown from the first to extend his lead to 5-0 after two. VanBrill on bottom to start the third and he gets out about 15 seconds in.
Unfortunately, VanBrill got tossed to his back at the end of the period and gave up the major decision to Austin Gomez, 11-1.
Rob Kannaird of the Scarlet Knights was up next at 157lbs taking on No. 33 Garrett Model of the Badgers. Kanniard was in deep on a double leg right away and after a quick scramble he secured the takedown and the early lead.
Model was out quickly, and another scramble resulted in a takedown for Model halfway through the first. Kanniard escaped after about 20 seconds, but Model was able to snatch a single leg for another takedown and the 5-3 lead as the period ended.
Kanniard was on top to start the second and he quickly got reversed by Model. After an escape, Kanniard was able to catch Model slipping and tossed him to his back for the takedown but no nearfall points. Rutgers challenged the call, and it was successful as Kanniard took the 8-7 lead halfway through the second.
After a Model escape, he was able to score another takedown off a re-shot and then secured two nearfall points on a tilt to lead 12-8 after two. Kanniard down to begin the third and he couldn’t get the escape as Model rode him the entire period to take the 13-8 win after the riding time point was added.
The team score was 10-8 in favor of Wisconsin midway through the dual as they took three of the first five matches.
At 165lbs, Andrew Clark was up against No. 8 Dean Hamiti and the two spent the majority of the first period wrestling on the edge of the mat before Hamiti was eventually able to secure a takedown and the 2-0 lead as the period ended.
Clark was in top position to begin the second and Hamiti was out 15 seconds in where he immediately found Clark’s legs to gain a takedown. Clark was cut after a 40 second ride and had Hamiti’s leg high in the air but couldn’t score the takedown as time expired in the second.
Clark was down to start the third and Hamiti lets him up right away. Hamiti secured another takedown off a scramble and cut Clark again to make the score 7-3 with 40 seconds left. Hamiti gained another takedown, but a Clark escape ended the scoring with Hamiti taking the decision win.
A gutsy performance by Clark to keep Hamiti from gaining any bonus points for Wisconsin there.
No. 26 Jackson Turley took on No. 17 Andrew McNally at 174lbs in a rematch of their bloodround contest from last season’s national tournament that saw Turley come out on top.
McNally got the first takedown of the match after a minute long scramble, but Turley was out right away as the period ended. Turley chose bottom to start the second and despite almost getting out right away, McNally recovered and rode Turley for the entire second period.
The score was 2-1 McNally heading into the third and he chose the bottom position. McNally was out 15 seconds after the starting whistle and after a few shot attempts from Turley, McNally was able to counter for his own takedown.
Turley couldn’t get out and the match ended 6-1 in favor of McNally when the riding time point was added.
Needing bonus points, Rutgers sent out their No. 5 ranked 184lber John Poznanski to take on No. 33 Chris Weiler of the Badgers. Poznanski got the scoring started with a double leg takedown 40 seconds into the first.
Poznanski cut Weiler on the restart and then was able to secure another takedown off a brief scramble to extend his lead to 4-1. Weiler worked an escape and the two ended the period in stalemate.
Poznanski chose bottom to start the second and escaped after about 30 seconds. Weiler tried a throw attempt and Poznanski caught him briefly on his back, but no nearfall points were awarded.
Weiler was able to gain an escape and it was 9-3 Poznanski as the second period concluded. Poznanski was on top for the third and cut Weiler after securing the riding time point.
Poznanski was able to get another takedown but couldn’t keep Weiler down for the major decision and had to settle for the 12-5 win, missing out on much needed bonus points.
In a rematch of the semifinals of the MatMen Open at 197lbs, No. 7 Greg Bulsak was up against No. 24 Braxton Amos. Bulsak quickly countered a shot attempt by Amos for a takedown and the early 2-0 lead.
After a 90 second ride from Bulsak, Amos was able to wiggle out for a reversal to tie the score at 2. Bulsak gained an escape after about 30 seconds and that’s where the period would end.
Amos chose neutral to start the second and was able to get behind Bulsak for the takedown and a 4-3 lead midway through the period. Bulsak gained another escape quickly, but Amos was able to come out on top of a scramble for another takedown but Bulsak was out again quickly.
It was 6-5 Amos entering the third period where Bulsak chose bottom and was out 30 seconds into the period to tie the score at 6. Bulsak was then able to work a go-behind off a single leg attempt from Amos to secure the takedown and lead.
Amos escaped late and almost was able to put Bulsak in danger on the edge of the mat, but Bulsak held on to come out on top with an 8-7 decision. Wisconsin’s bench would challenge the call, but the officials confirmed the decision, a gutsy win for Bulsak.
The final match of the dual would decide the overall outcome as Wisconsin led 16-14 in the team score as they sent out their No. 5 ranked Trent Hilger to take on Boone McDermott of the Scarlet Knights.
A lot of early action saw McDermott briefly put Hilger to his back before Hilger came out on top for a takedown. The Rutgers bench challenged the call as they thought McDermott held Hilger on his back with control.
The Wisconsin score keepers struggled all day with replay challenges and that continued here as the challenge took over 5 minutes. The call stood on the mat and Hilger led 2-0 before a quick McDermott escape.
The period would end with Hilger leading 2-1 and McDermott would choose bottom to start the second. McDermott gained an escape after 20 seconds and that was all the scoring action in the period.
The score was 2-2 heading into the third where McDermott would be on top. Hilger was out quickly and then secured a takedown off a scramble position to extend his lead to 5-2.
A McDermott escape would end the scoring in the match and Hilger took the decision, 6-3 after the riding time point was added.
A rough outing for the Scarlet Knights overall but it wasn’t without its silver linings. True freshman Joey Olivieri looked like a veteran out there, taking out a ranked wrestler in his first varsity action for the team.
The decision to pull Olivieri’s redshirt is sure to bring lots of conversation regarding No. 16 Sammy Alvarez’ status going forward.
At 141lbs, No. 4 Sebastian Rivera looks unstoppable a week out from potentially facing off against returning National Champion and current No. 1 Nick Lee of Penn State.
Gutty performances from Andrew Clark at 165lbs against Wisconsin’s Hamiti who had been scoring bonus points on everyone and Bulsak who used his veteran savviness to come out on top of a close one at 197lbs.
Mike VanBrill looked uncharacteristically outmatched in his contest against No. 11 Gomez, but that was his first highly ranked opponent this year, so we’ll see how he responds.
Dylan Shawver spent too much time in the bottom position in his match against No. 4 Eric Barnett but seemed to have the edge on their feet.
Kanniard’s up and down season continues with a rough loss to No. 33 Model of Wisconsin.
Poznanski needs to score bonus points in his spot at 184lbs, but he continues to impress overall on the season.
Jackson Turley just looks like he needs more mat time but also needs to take escape points when they are there. He’s an exciting wrestler that’s always on the hunt for a big move, so it’s hard to fault him there.
Up at heavyweight, McDermott hung tough but was never close to scoring on No. 5 Hilger outside of a scramble early in the match.
The Big Ten schedule plows on next week with No. 21 Illinois coming to Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway Friday night before a Sunday showdown at No. 1 Penn State.
Box Score: No. 16 Wisconin 19, No. 12 Rutgers 14
125: No. 30 Dylan Shawver vs No. 4 Eric Barnett – Barnett by dec., 8-4
133: Joey Olivieri vs No. 25 Kyle Burwick – Olivieri by dec., 4-3
141: No. 4 Sebastian Rivera vs No. 24 Joe Zargo – Rivera by tech. fall, 19-3
149: No. 19 Mike VanBrill vs No. 11 Austin Gomez – Gomez by major dec., 11-1
157: Rob Kanniard vs No. 33 Garrett Model – Model by dec., 13-8
165: Andrew Clark vs No. 8 Dean Hamiti – Hamiti by dec., 10-4
174: No. 26 Jackson Turley vs No. 17 Andrew McNally – McNally by dec., 6-1
184: No. 5 John Poznanski vs No. 33 Chris Weiler – Poznanski by dec., 12-5
197: No. 7 Greg Bulsak vs No. 24 Braxton Amos – Bulsak by dec., 8-7
285: Boone McDermott vs No. 5 Trent Hilger – Hilger by dec., 6-3