No. 25 Rutgers Wrestling will participate in the second annual “Garden State Grapple” this Sunday at the Prudential Center in Newark.
At last year’s event, Rutgers’ head wrestling coach Scott Goodale indicated he would like to make the event a Big Ten vs EIWA showcase going forward, and that’s what we have on our hands this weekend.
First, the Scarlet Knights will square off with the No. 15 Quakers of the University of Pennsylvania at 2:00PM, followed by a dual with the Drexel Dragons at 4:00PM. Rutgers had the weekend off from competition last week and should be well rested when they suit up Sunday.
They’ll need to be in top form if they are going to come home with a pair of wins, with the match against Penn specifically full of potential landmines that the Scarlet Knights will need to navigate.
I break down the notable matchups for both duals below, along with overall match predictions for each. Penn comes into the event with seven wrestlers ranked by Intermat and Rutgers doesn’t match up great against them.
Drexel meanwhile has two wrestlers currently ranked and the Scarlet Knights should be able to handle the Dragons fairly easily.
No. 25 Rutgers vs No. 15 Penn Notable Matchups
125: No. 20 Dylan Shawver/Dean Peterson (R) vs No. 17 Ryan Miller (P)
The Penn dual kicks off with a doozy right away as the Quakers will likely send out No. 17 Ryan Miller who qualified for nationals last season as a true freshman.
Shawver fell to Miller at the MatMen Open in overtime last season while Peterson owns a high school win over Miller (a former Blair standout) from years ago.
133: No. 14 Joe Heilmann (R) vs No. 10 Michael Colaiocco (P)
Another ranked matchup follows right away as Penn’s No. 10 Colaiocco will see the Scarlet Knights No. 14 Heilmann in a major toss-up bout in the dual.
The wrestlers have not met in college, but share a common loss this season to ASU’s No. 4 Michael McGee (Heilmann lost by major decision, while Colaiocco lost 7-5 in his season opening bout).
174: No. 28 Jackson Turley (R) vs No. 24 Nick Icontrera (P)
Rutgers No. 28 Turley has had a rough start to the season, going 1-2 in early action and it won’t get easier this weekend as the former All-American will see Penn’s No. 24 Nick Icontrera in the opening dual meet on Sunday.
Another toss-up match on paper, Turley coming away with a win here could decide the dual in Rutgers favor if other things shake out as I anticipate.
HWT: No. 26 Boone McDermott (R) vs No. 24 Ben Goldin (P)
McDermott, who is 7-0 to begin the season, will see his first ranked action Sunday when he faces off against No. 24 Ben Goldin in a rematch from last year’s MatMen Open which saw the Quaker Goldin come away victories in sudden victory, 6-4.
As I’ve noted several times in my previews this season, McDermott is much bigger than last year and looks faster as well - this will be a good test for the Scarlet Knight.
For the dual against Drexel, there are only two matches that I think are notable (and one of them might not happen) as depending on who wrestlers for Rutgers, this should be a relatively easy win.
165: Connor O’Neill (R) vs No. 24 Evan Barczak (P)
I don’t have a ton of good reasons for liking this matchup, but I think it’s a spot where O’Neill could pull off an upset. O’Neill needs to keep it close early before he can deploy some of his late match heroics he’s displayed early on this year.
174: No. 28 Jackson Turley (R) vs No. 8 Michael O’Malley (P)
What could be another early test for Turley against the Quakers’ three-time national qualifier and current No. 8 O’Malley is up in the air based on what I’m seeing.
Turley is nursing some injuries as he comes back from a January shoulder surgery, while O’Malley has only seen action once this season, back on November 12th at the Tiger Style Invitational where he picked up a win before medically forfeiting out of his final two matches.
If the two wrestlers do end up squaring off, Turley’s style could make things difficult for O’Malley, but I like the Quaker to take the win.
Overall, I think Rutgers will fall to the Penn Quakers in the early dual, likely by a score of 21-12 or 18-15, with Penn taking either a 7-3 or 6-4 match split. The toss up bouts at 125, 133, and 174 will be huge, while No. 12 Brian Soldano needs to pickup some bonus points at 184 to help make the upset win more likely.
For the Drexel match, I like Rutgers to win 24-10 while earning a 7-3 match split. The matchup at 174 shouldn’t play a huge role in the outcome of the dual regardless of who each team sends out in that spot.
The action from the second annual “Garden State Grapple” will be streamed via BTN Plus and the full day match schedule can be found below. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.
Approximately 2:00pm – Dual Meet Round #1
Mat 1 - Indiana vs. Drexel
Mat 2 - Rutgers vs. Penn
Mat 3 – Wisconsin vs. Princeton
Mat 4 – Michigan State vs. Binghamton
Approximately 4:00pm – Dual Meet Round #2
Mat 1 - Indiana vs. Binghamton
Mat 2 - Rutgers vs. Drexel
Mat 3 – Wisconsin vs. Penn
Mat 4 – Michigan State vs. Princeton