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Rutgers Wrestling: Scarlet Knights Claim Three Titles at Princeton Open

John Poznanski, Andrew Clark, and Joe Olivieri all claimed “unattached” titles at the season opening tournament.

Syndication: Asbury Park Press Peter Ackerman / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 26 ranked Rutgers Wrestling had a good portion of the roster see their first action this past Sunday at the Princeton Open, where they picked up three “unattached” individual titles from No. 8 John Poznanski (184lbs), Joe Olivieri (141lbs), and Andrew Clark (157lbs).

The vast majority of Scarlet Knight wrestlers that saw action Sunday were wrestling “unattached,” meaning they weren’t officially representing Rutgers while competing. And while the three titles represented a decent haul, all the talk locally and nationally was about two matches at 125lbs.

I’ll give an in-depth breakdown of the matches between No. 22 Dylan Shawver/Dean Peterson and returning national runner-up and current No. 2 Patrick Glory below, along with a brief summary of other notable outcomes for the Scarlet Knights.

125lbs Upper Bracket Semi-Final - Dean Peterson vs No. 2 Patrick Glory

I’ve watched this doozy of a match several times now and my main takeaway (besides the official being out of position at two crucial moments) is how Peterson never gives up in a scramble. The redshirt freshman is always looking to gain elevation and come out on top of virtually impossible scenarios— he’s going to be fun to watch.

Twice during the first period Peterson was close to takedowns against Glory, the first coming after he rolled through a Glory takedown attempt after an extended scramble and the second during another scramble at the buzzer to end the frame.

In the second period, Peterson gave up a quick reversal to Glory, who proceeded to ride out the Scarlet Knight for the remainder of the period. This would prove to be the difference down the line, but not before some incredibly exciting wrestling.

For the third period, Peterson wisely chose neutral and quickly converted a misdirection low single to take down Glory (and almost tilt him to for nearfall points) before a Glory escape.

Peterson was again in deep on a low single attempt moments later, but this time Glory came out on top of the exchange to increase his lead to 5-2 with 45 seconds remaining in the match.

After a Glory stall warning, Peterson was able to quickly escape on the restart and immediately shot in on another low single attempt. Peterson had the advantage and looked to secure the takedown with 20 seconds left, but the mat official decided to wait until 11 seconds remained to award the takedown.

(I say “decided to wait” because the two wrestlers literally did not change position in those nine seconds preceding the official awarding the two points).

Even though the match was tied on the scoreboard at that point, Glory took home the victory when the final buzzer sounded thanks his extended second period ride of Peterson, 6-5.

Peterson looked excellent in his unofficial Rutgers debut and I’m excited for what the future holds for this young prospect.

125lbs Final - No. 22 Dylan Shawver vs No. 2 Patrick Glory

The other really intriguing match of the day for Rutgers was in the final at 125lbs where No. 22 Dylan Shawver, like his Scarlet Knight counterpart Dean Peterson, gave No. 2 Patrick Glory everything he could handle.

This one was full of action early and often as the match opened with a low single attempt from Glory that he converted for an early two points. Shawver then took advantage of a sloppy mat return attempt from Glory to more or less fall on top of the Princeton wrestler, controlling a leg and head in the process to score a reversal.

Glory, not to be outdone, was able to capitalize on Shawver getting a little too high on his leg ride attempt for a reversal of his own, but if you’re catching on to the theme here... it wasn’t long before Shawver had Glory’s leg up in the air, where he converted the third reversal of the first period.

Shawver did get hit for a technical violation (locked hands) at the end of the period though, so it was Glory who led 5-4 after one.

Shawver was in the bottom position to begin the second and was able to somersault forward off the whistle. When Glory hesitated to follow, Shawver spun around and got behind the Tiger wrestler for yet another reversal, his third of the match.

Glory earned an escape after a 35 second ride from Shawver, and it was the Scarlet Knight wrestler who attacked on the restart at neutral.

Shawver quickly transitioned from a high crouch attempt into a fireman’s carry. where he dumped Glory on his back and held him there for what seemed like an eternity, but was awarded no points before Glory squirmed back to neutral.

Glory then tried a neutral attack of his own but Shawver displayed some excellent timing, as he leapt sideways to get behind the Princeton standout. Shawver was originally awarded a takedown for his efforts, before it was waived off when Glory quickly negated Shawver’s advantage in the position.

The returning national qualifier for Rutgers wouldn’t concede the position however and was able to spin Glory to his back for another extended period but again, was awarded no points despite overtures from the (unattached) Rutgers bench.

This time though, when Glory squirmed out, he was able to collect Shawver’s legs for his own takedown.

Just an absolutely wild exchange between two high level wrestlers.

The period ended with Glory on top 8-6 and the Tiger wrestler chose down to begin the third period.

Glory quickly worked an escape and was able to ride Shawver for about a minute before the Scarlet Knight earned his own escape to cut the lead to 10-7 for Glory.

A few seconds after the wrestlers were back in the neutral position, Shawver again displayed incredible timing and athleticism as he was able to get behind a Glory shot attempt, this time holding on to convert the takedown and further cut into Glory’s lead.

Unfortunately, that’s as close as the Rutgers’ lightweight would get as a Glory escape proved to be the last points of the match and Shawver fell 11-9.

It’s hard to glean a ton from an early season matchup like this, but I’d say its ok to get excited about how much Shawver has closed the gap between himself and the top contenders nationwide.

Other Notable Finishes

At 133lbs, Nico Messina took out several teammates en route to a 5th place finish while going 4-1 for a solid showing.

Joe Olivieri showed he is more than capable of handling his jump up to 141lbs as he took out his competition fairly easily on his way to his title at the returning national qualifier’s new weight. As stated in my media day recap, Coach Goodale has indicated Olivieri will redshirt for the upcoming season.

Andrew Clark also proved that his weight class change (165lbs to 157lbs) shouldn’t be an issue as he took home the title at 157lbs by taking out teammate Al Desantis in the final, 3-0.

At 165lbs, Connor O’Neill also made his debut at a weight down from last season and was able to pick up a 4th place finish.

True freshman Luke Gayer, one of the few wrestlers competing attached at the tournament, had a strong debut, taking home sixth place. His run included a decision win over former NJ state champion Ty Whalen, a true freshman for the Princeton Tigers.

No. 8 John Poznanski, the highest ranked wrestler in the Rutgers lineup, survived a scare during his Round of 16 match against Michael Squires of Princeton, but was otherwise rolling en route to his title at 184lbs.

Another true freshman making his debut for the Scarlet Knights was PJ Casale at heavyweight, who sported a bulked up frame as he clobbered his way to a 3rd place finish with three pins.

A very solid tournament for the former NJ state champion who wrestled at 215lbs a year ago.

Overall, a solid opening season tournament for the Scarlet Knight wrestling team as they prepare for their first dual meet this Friday against Clarion.

The battle between Peterson and Shawver looks to be heating up (although I heard this morning on FRL that Shawver in fact won the indicator match between the two) and it was great to see some of the true freshman have solid debuts sporting their Rutgers’ singlets.

Rutgers wrestles Clarion this Friday, 11/11, at the College Ave Gym starting at 6pm. The match will be streamed on BTN+.