No. 21 Rutgers Wrestling opened the season with a dominate win over visiting Clarion Friday Night at the College Ave Gym in New Brunswick.
With the win, Coach Scott Goodale secured his 200th win on the banks at the place where it all started for him back in 2007 and his Scarlet Knights made sure to put on a show for the occasion.
Rutgers took 9 of 10 matches from the Golden Eagles and specifically looked strong with their top-position wrestling all night.
No. 16 Joe Heilmann (133lbs) and true freshman Brian Soldano (184lbs) led the charge in their Scarlet Knight debuts with major decisions in their matchups.
Soldano’s was particularly impressive as he took out No. 21 Will Feldkamp by a score of 15-5 as he tries to stake his claim at 184lbs for Rutgers.
At 125lbs, it was Dean Peterson making his attached debut for Rutgers as he took on Joey Fischer of Clarion.
There wasn’t a ton of action in the first period, but Peterson got to work in the second, earning a quick escape and with a successful single leg takedown attempt right after to take a 3-0 lead in to the third.
Fischer elected to start the final frame in neutral position but it was Peterson who took advantage, working a high-crotch into a single leg takedown to widen his lead.
Peterson let Fischer up in an attempt to pour on some more points, but the final score held at 6-1 for the Scarlet Knight when the riding time point was added.
No. 16 Joe Heilmann, making his debut for Rutgers after starting his college career down in North Carolina, built a 3-0 lead over Clarion’s Koen Kish after two periods before pouring it on in the third to take a 13-3 major decison victory.
Heilmann worked multiple re-attacks for takedowns and finished the match with five them to Kish’s zero. A nice debut for the former South Plainfield standout.
Making his debut at his new weight, No. 12 Sammy Alvarez was back on the mat for Rutgers for the first time since January as he took on Seth Koleno of Clarion.
Koleno, as stated in my match preview, is not ranked by Intermat but does find himself in the low 20’s in a few other outlets, gave Alvarez all he could handle.
Although Alvarez led throughout the match, it was Koleno doing the majority of the attacking and the two wrestlers found themselves in a match-deciding scramble at the end of the third period.
Alvarez would hold on for the 5-3 victory though, and the Scarlet Knights up 10-0 through three matches.
Another former South Plainfield High standout also made his varsity debut for the Scarlet Knights Friday night, as Tony White stepped up to take on Kyle Schickel at 149lbs.
White, who was coming off a stellar redshirt campaign last season, picked up right where he left off as he looked dominant in a 7-2 decision win over Schickel.
White opened up the scoring in the first with a takedown off of a re-attack and secured over two minutes of riding time in the process. Schickel was never really in the match as White displayed quality top wrestling throughout the bout before the action slowed down in the third.
South Plainfield High went 2-0 on the night if you’re keeping score at home and we can hope for more of the same as the season rolls on.
For the last match of the first half of the dual, Andrew Clark of Rutgers was also making his debut at a new weight when he took the call at 157lbs to take on Trevor Elfvin of Clarion.
The match started out chippy with both wrestlers engaging in hard, purposeful tie ups that had me thinking we were in for a wild match, but it would prove to be decided by Rutgers’ dominant top wrestling again.
Clark survived two stall warnings by utilizing a full second period rideout of Elfvin (paired with a quick third period escape) to hang on for a 2-1 victory when the riding time point was added at the end of the match.
With Clark’s win, Rutgers led 16-0 halfway through the dual and had at a good shot of pulling off the shutout.
The most exciting bout of the evening featured Connor O’Neill, who also appeared at a new, lower weight when he took on Eli Brinsky at 165lbs.
O’Neill looked strong in the first period, hitting a solid single leg takedown two minutes into the opening frame. O’Neill opened the second period on bottom and was out quickly, but Brinsky began firing off double leg attempts in successive fashion, converting two of them in the second to tie the score at five heading into the third.
It didn’t look great for the Scarlet Knight to start the third as he quickly gave up a reversal to Brinsky. O’Neill, in what would turn out to be quite significant, was able to escape just before the Golden Eagle secured the riding time point though.
It was 7-6 Brinsky with 30 seconds left and O’Neill looked completely out of gas. O’Neill took a few half-hearted shots before he suddenly tapped into his reserves and fired off a low single leg attempt, which he converted with six seconds remaining in the match.
O’Neill would hold on for the 8-7 win in dramatic fashion as the Scarlet Knights continued to cruise in the meet, 19-0.
At 174lbs, former All-American and current No. 24 Jackson Turley was back in action for the first time since shoulder surgery ended his season early last year when he took on Suds Dubler (still a fantastic name) of Clarion.
The two wrestlers spent much of the first feeling each other out before Turley hit a single leg near the end of the period.
In the second, Dubler was down but Turley got a little too aggressive on a tilt attempt and the Golden Eagle was able to score a reversal to knot the match at two.
The match would then slow down dramatically as Turley earned two escapes which would be all the points scored for the remainder of the bout as he took home a 4-2 win.
The former AA looked a little rusty, but that is to be expected after missing such a significant amount of time.
The marquee matchup of the evening was at 184lbs where much heralded true freshman Brian Soldano made his debut for the Scarlet Knights when he took on No. 21 Will Feldkamp in what was a wild match right from the beginning.
Soldano looked for an inside trip right away, trying to get his body in the right position but quickly found himself in danger before surrendering a takedown to Feldkamp.
The young Scarlet Knight wasn’t deterred though, and quickly earned a reversal which he parlayed into four nearfall points before giving up a reversal of his own.
Feldkamp mixed in over a minute of riding time before Soldano once again secured a reversal which gave him a 8-4 lead after one.
The second period was mild in comparison to the first with the only point coming from a Soldano escape 40 seconds into the frame.
Feldkamp, trailing 9-4, chose bottom for the third period and was able to earn a quick escape before Soldano body locked him to the ground, scoring a takedown but was awarded no nearfall points, much to the chagrin of the Rutgers faithful who packed the College Ave Gym Friday night.
Soldano would quickly reward their patience though when he worked a funk tilt for four more nearfall points at the end of the period to take the 15-5 major decision over the ranked Feldkamp.
What an absolutely wild debut from Soldano who will quickly become a crowd favorite with action like that.
At 197lbs, in what many thought would be Billy Janzer’s first action of the season, instead featured an undersized Mike Toranzo up against Clarion’s Ty Bagoly.
Bagoly controlled the match from the beginning and was able lock up a 12-2 major decision for the Golden Eagles when the final buzzer sounded.
We did get to see the incumbent Rutgers heavyweight sporting a new, oversized frame when No. 31 Boone McDermott took on Austin Chapman.
McDermott, who weighed in at 252lbs scored two takedowns while displaying a multiple solid rideouts to pick up the 6-1 win at heavyweight in his first match of the 2022-23 season.
Despite the significant weight gain, McDermott looked fast and agile throughout the bout, a performance that should have Rutgers fans excited for what the Scarlet Knight could achieve this season.
When the dust settled, Rutgers took nine of ten matches en route to a 29-4 win over the visiting Golden Eagles of Clarion. Coach Scott Goodale earned his 200th win leading the Scarlet Knights, and by the looks of this extremely young team, this could be the beginning of his best work yet.
Solid and impressive debuts up and down the lineup for the Scarlet Knights who will head to Pennsylvania tomorrow where they will participate in “Wranglemania” against Sacred Heart at 1:00PM and No. 5 Arizona State at 5:00PM.
The matches will be streamed on Rokfin, but it’s $24.99 to get access if you don’t already have a Rokfin account ($15.00 if you already subscribe).. yikes.
No. 21 Rutgers 29, Clarion 4
125: Dean Peterson (RU) over Joey Fischer (CLAR) by decision, 6-1
133: No. 16 Joe Heilmann (RU) over Koen Kish (CLAR) by major decision, 13-3
141: No. 12 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over Seth Koleno (CLAR) by decision, 5-3
Tony White (RU) over Kyle Schickel (CLAR) by decision, 7-2
157: Andrew Clark (RU) over Trevor Elfvin (CLAR) by decision, 2-1
165: Connor O’Neill (RU) over Eli Brinsky (CLAR) by decision, 8-7
174: No. 24 Jackson Turley (RU) over Suds Dubler (CLAR) by decision, 4-2
184: Brian Soldano (RU) over No. 21 Will Feldkamp (CLAR) by major decision, 15-5
197: Tyler Bagoly (CLAR) over Michael Toranzo (RU) by major decision, 12-2
HWT: No. 31 Boone McDermott (RU) over Austin Chapman (CLAR) by decision, 6-1