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Rutgers Wrestling: Scarlet Knights Go 1-1 at Wranglemania

The No. 21 Scarlet Knights looked dominant in shutting out Sacred Heart, before falling to No. 6 ASU.

Rutgers Communications // Kostas Lymperopoulos

It was an up and down Saturday for the No. 21 Scarlet Knights at “Wranglemania,” an event at Liberty High School in Bethlehem, PA that featured multiple division 1 programs.

They opened their competition with a thorough shellacking of Sacred Heart, 50-0 before falling to No. 6 Arizona State 25-16 to close out their action at the showcase event.

Highlights of the Sacred Heart shutout included back to back to back pins to open up the match from No. 20 Dylan Shawver, No. 16 Joe Heilmann, and No. 12 Sammy Alvarez.

Al Desantis looked strong at 157lbs picking up a major decision while Connor O’Neill used some late match magic once again to clutch his own MD at 165lbs.

Eric Freeman, the true freshman out of Paramus, made his debut and displayed some tough mat wrestling, earning over three minutes of riding time in his decision win.

Brian Soldano did his part, earning an early first period fall before Billy Janzer and John O’Donnell followed suit with first period pins of their own. The final tally was Rutgers 50, Sacred Heart 0 in what was a more or less expected outcome.

For the Arizona State dual, things got off to a rocky start as No. 20 Dylan Shawver fell to Richie Figueroa (with some help from the official) 5-3, before No. 16 Joe Heilmann couldn’t handle the pace of two-time All-American Michael McGee, losing by major decision, 11-3.

At 141lbs, No. 12 Sammy Alvarez was able to end the mounting ASU momentum with a clutch third period performance where he displayed some excellent mat wrestling, turning No. 19 Jesse Vasquez to his back twice in the process of securing an 8-4 decision win for the Scarlet Knights.

Redshirt freshman Tony White ran into the buzz saw that is No. 6 Kyle Parco of the Sun Devils at 149lbs, but did a good job in preventing the ASU All-American from earning a major decision despite giving up four takedowns and a reversal as he fell 11-5.

Andrew Clark utilized a strong second period rideout of Max Wilner to earn a 2-0 decision win at 157lbs before the wheels fell off for the Scarlet Knights.

At 165lbs, in what was determined to be a toss-up bout on paper, Connor O’Neill succumbed to a first period cradle by ASU’s Tony Negron and gave up a fall.

It wasn’t much better at 174lbs as No. 21 Jackson Turley had to medically forfeit out of his match against Cael Valencia after the two collided heads during a takedown attempt from the Sun Devil.

Valencia already had a first period takedown under his belt, and was likely going to convert what turned out to be the match ending attempt as well.

Hopefully Turley is okay and can get back out on the mat quickly for the Scarlet Knights.

In my match preview, I really thought No. 8 John Poznanski would get the nod at 184lbs in this dual against No. 17 Anthony Montalvo of ASU, but it was the true freshman Brian Soldano who would again get the call, and he made the most of it.

After surrendering an early takedown, Soldano went to work, dominating the Sun Devil standout with multiple tilts and takedowns to earn an 18-3 technical fall win. It was an outstanding performance for the young Scarlet Knight who is doing everything he can to earn the starting role at 184lbs.

At 197lbs, No. 31 Billy Janzer and ASU’s Jonathan Fagen didn’t produce a lot of action in regulation as they were tied at 1-1 when the third period buzzer sounded. In overtime, Janzer was twice close to earning a takedown, but it was Fagen who came out on top of an extended scramble to take the win.

To close out the Saturday action for the Scarlet Knights, No. 31 Boone McDermott took full advantage of ASU’s No. 1 ranked heavyweight Colton Schultz not making the trip to Pennsylvania when he pinned backup David Palosika two minutes into the first period.

No. 21 Rutgers is now 2-1 on the early season, but you have to feel like they squandered an opportunity to start 3-0. ASU has a stronger team than the Scarlet Knights, but they were shorthanded today and it was a great opportunity for Rutgers to sneak in a big win.

The pin at 165lbs and the medical forfeit at 174 ended up being the main differences in the dual, but that’s wrestling.

Brian Soldano is going to make life very difficult for Coach Scott Goodale when he has to make the decision on who will get the starting job at 184lbs between Soldano and No. 8 John Poznanski - but that’s a great problem to have.

No. 21 Rutgers is back in action next weekend as they head west to take on Stanford Saturday, 11/19 before competing in the CSU Bakersfield Open on Sunday, 11/20.

No. 21 Rutgers 50, Sacred Heart 0

125: No. 20 Dylan Shawver (RU) over Jacob Vanezia (SHU) by fall (4:22)

133: No. 16 Joe Heilmann (RU) over John Lafferty (SHU) by fall (3:53)

141: No. 12 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over Ryan Delpizzol (SHU) by fall (1:51)

149: No. 31 Tony White (RU) over Matt Laurie (SHU) by decision, 3-2

157: Al DeSantis (RU) over Jonathan Siemsen (SHU) by MD, 17-4

165: Connor O’Neill (RU) over Aiden Zarrella (SHU) by MD, 10-2

174: Eric Freeman (RU) over Ryan Bolletino (SHU) by decision, 7-2

184: Brian Soldano (RU) over Owen Ayotte (SHU) by fall (1:06)

197: No. 31 Billy Janzer (RU) over Logan Michael (SHU) by fall (2:39)

HWT: John O’Donnell (RU) over Matthew Walker (SHU) by fall (1:09)

No. 6 Arizona State 25, No. 21 Rutgers 16

125: Richard Figueroa (ASU) over No. 20 Dylan Shawver (RU) by decision, 5-3

133: No. 4 Michael McGee (ASU) over No. 16 Joe Heilmann (RU) by MD, 11-3

141: No. 12 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over No. 19 Jesse Vasquez (ASU) by decision, 8-4

149: No. 6 Kyle Parco (ASU) over No. 31 Tony White (RU) by decision, 11-5

157: Andrew Clark (RU) over Max Wilner (ASU) by decision, 2-0

165: Tony Negron (ASU) over Connor O’Neill (RU) by fall (1:4)

174: Cael Valencia (ASU) over No. 24 Jackson Turley (RU) by MFF (3:33)

184: Brian Soldano (RU) over No. 17 Anthony Montalvo (ASU) by tech fall, 18-3 (5:15)

197: Jonathon Fagen (ASU) over 31/HM Billy Janzer (RU) by SV1, 3-1

HWT: No. 31 Boone McDermott (RU) over David Palosika (ASU) by fall (2:14)