No. 16 Rutgers Wrestling (14-5, 3-5) hosted the Terrapins of Maryland Saturday afternoon at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway to close out the Big Ten portion of their dual meet schedule and to hopefully end the four match in-conference skid the Scarlet Knights found themselves in.
The visiting Terps (5-12, 0-8) were able to snag three wins, but it was Rutgers who prevailed, 31-13 on the back of seven individual bout wins, gaining bonus points in five of them.
As they usually do here on the banks, the match started at 125lbs where Rutgers No. 28 Dylan Shawver took on Tommy Capul of the Terps and Shawver opened the scoring, dropping to a single leg off a dump attempt to gain his first takedown.
Shawver was able to lock in the cradle on the edge of the mat with a minute to go in the period and picked up four nearfall points before Capul could get to his stomach. Shawver locked in another cradle moments later for four additional nearfall points as the buzzer sounded in the first.
Rutgers’ Shawver chose bottom position to begin the second, where he led 10-0, before gaining a reversal thirty seconds into the period. A third cradle from Shawver followed quickly after, which locked up the technical fall win for the Scarlet Knight, 16-0 in the second period.
The next bout was at 133lbs where Rutgers declined to send out No. 16 Joey Olivieri, who Coach Goodale held out for precautionary reasons after taking some bumps in practice throughout the week, to take on the nation’s pin leader in King Sandoval, so it was Devon Britton getting the nod for the home team.
Sandoval lived up to his name, locking up the fall via a cowcatcher a minute into the first.
Looking to regain the momentum, Rutgers’ hammer Sebastian Rivera, the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the country at 141lbs was up next, squaring up against Danny Bertoni of the Terps.
Rivera scored his first takedown ten seconds into the match and put on a minute long ride before standing the Terp up on a restart. The second takedown from Rivera came from an ankle pick about 30 seconds later and the Scarlet Knight again stood Bertoni up on the restart.
Bertoni tried his luck with a low single attempt, but Rivera stuffed it and got behind him to make the score 6-2 after one. Rivera chose bottom to start the second, earning an escape right off the whistle, before picking up his fourth takedown of the bout a few moments later.
Two nearfall points followed for Rivera after he tilted Bertoni over for a two-count, and the Scarlet Knight ended the second period up 11-2 with almost three minutes of riding time accumulated.
Bertoni chose bottom to start the third, but Rivera again stood him up, just to send him back down by hitting a big double leg takedown to extend his lead.
Rivera ended the match with back-to-back tilts to take the win by technical fall, his 12th of the season, 20-3.
At 149lbs, Rutgers No. 15 Mike VanBrill, a wrestler who is steadily moving himself up in the rankings, took on Michael North of Maryland and VanBrill picked up a takedown on the edge of the mat about a minute into the action.
The Scarlet Knight then went to work on top, a position he looks quite comfortable in these days, and his smothering of the Maryland wrestler led to a stall warning being issued to the Terp.
VanBrill finished the first on top and chose the bottom position to begin the second, earning an escape quickly after the starting whistle.
The two wrestlers were ear to ear for most of the period before VanBrill snatched a single leg and worked North to the mat for his second takedown of the match, as he led 5-0 entering the final frame.
North chose bottom for the third, apparently having a short memory, and VanBrill made him pay for the decision, accumulating over four minutes of riding time as he rode North out for the entire period to take the 6-0 win.
The last match before intermission saw the suddenly flashy Rob Kanniard of the Scarlet Knights taking on Conner Decker of Maryland and it was Kanniard opening the scoring on a low single conversion a minute into the first.
Kanniard started looking for tilts right away and was close to securing one on the edge but could only garner a one-count from the official before the period ended.
For the second, Kanniard chose bottom position where he worked a reversal about 30 seconds in and was able to gain a tilt for four nearfall points to extend his lead to 8-0 after two.
Decker chose a neutral start for the third but ended up in the bottom position anyway as Kanniard hit a textbook double leg takedown, before a quick escape from Decker.
The third takedown from Kanniard followed shortly after, this time on a sweep single attempt and he would finish the match with a whopping 4:37 of riding time, taking the major decision victory in the process, 13-1 - his fifth consecutive win.
At intermission, the Scarlet Knights led 17-6, taking four of five bouts to open up the dual.
Andrew Clark got the action started in the second half of the meet, looking to bring his winning streak up to three, as he took on Gaven Bell of the Terps.
It was Clark who was the early aggressor, hiking up Bell’s leg and forcing him to the mat for an emphatic takedown.
Clark followed with a tilt for two nearfall points and almost had Bell flat, before a potentially dangerous call stopped the action. A tight armbar followed from Clark and he again appeared to have Bell flat on his back, but the Terp wriggled out.
A third armbar attempt from Clark resulted in four more nearfall points at the buzzer and he led 12-0 after one. Clark then quickly had Bell turned again in the second to pick up the technical fall in absolutely dominant fashion, 16-0.
Bell is going to need some ice for his shoulders as the Terp spent more time in armbars than on his feet during the bout.
Connor O’Neill looked to end his Big Ten dual season on a high note at 174lbs where he took on Dominic Solis, the first real “toss-up” bout of the meet, as the two wrestlers came into the meet with very similar records.
The first points went to Solis who came out on top of an extended scramble to gain a takedown and the only points of the period. O’Neill was in the top position to start the second and he conceded the escape to Solis about 30 seconds in.
The two engaged in another scramble shortly thereafter and it was again Solis who came out on top to extend his lead to 5-0 after two periods.
O’Neill chose bottom for the third and the Scarlet Knight earned his escape, but immediately gave up another takedown to Solis. O’Neill surrendered another two points via stalling and riding time, and fell by major decision, 10-1.
Our only ranked matchup of the afternoon was at 184lbs, where the two combatants came in looking to right their respective ships after up and down performances throughout the Big Ten schedule, as No. 8 John Poznanski of the Scarlet Knights took on No. 16 Kyle Cochran of the Terps.
It was Cochran scoring the first takedown about 30 seconds in, but Poznanski was out right away to earn his escape. The takedown was the extent of the scoring in the first and Poznanski chose bottom to begin the second, where he worked a quick reversal before Cochran earned his escape.
Cochran was able to convert a low single attempt into a takedown to take a 5-3 lead before action was stopped due to blood time. Cochran kept Poznanski down for the rest of the period and the two would start the third in neutral.
Cochran secured his third takedown of the bout early in the final frame to extend his lead to 8-3 with 90 seconds left. Poznanski earned his escape on the restart but that’s as close as he would get, as the Terp took the upset win, 9-4 when the riding time point was added.
Our penultimate match of the meet saw Rutgers’ No. 12 Greg Bulsak looking to end his Big Ten regular season with a win, after falling in his previous four in conference competitions, as he was up against Chase Mielnik, normally a 184lbs entry for the Terps.
The regular starter for Maryland here, No. 30 Jaron Smith, did not weigh in for the dual, so the undersized Mielnik had to step up. Bulsak opened the scoring 30 seconds in with a takedown and then looked to get to work on top as he wrenched Mielnik over consecutively for six total nearfall points.
Bulsak secured the fall via armbar shortly after, a dominant, if not brief outing from the Scarlet Knight.
The final matchup of the meet saw crowd favorite Boone McDermott of Rutgers taking on Maryland’s Zach Schrader at heavyweight and the two traded tie ups for the entire first period with neither was close to scoring.
McDermott chose bottom to begin the second and got out quickly to gain the first point of the match. More hand-fighting, but no real attempts followed the escape and the two ended the second period much like the first.
McDermott, up 1-0, was on top for the beginning of the final period, where he looked to put on a solid ride and secure the always important riding time point, but Schrader earned his escape before it could come to fruition.
Not to be deterred, McDermott hit a bid double leg takedown as time expired to take the decision win, 3-1, his best Big Ten win on the season so far.
The Scarlet Knights closed their Big Ten schedule as they opened it, taking out the Terps who continue to get molly whopped in Big Ten competition.
Shawver looked great in his shut-out technical fall of his Maryland opponent, locking up multiple cradles in the process.
Coach Goodale said Olivieri was held out as a precaution and Britton was in over his head against the nation’s pin leader in Sandoval.
Rivera picked up his 12th technical fall victory of the season, by far the leader nationwide as his takedown clinics are becoming a routine on the banks.
VanBrill continues to look incredibly tough on top, pushing his record to 16-2 this year as he gears up for his final run towards that All-American status.
Kanniard appears to be fully rounding into form, picking up his fifth consecutive victory, his first that gained bonus points since back on December 3rd against American University.
I can speak for all Rutgers fans when I say we would like the Andrew Clark that absolutely demolished his opponent today to show up for every match as he extended his winning streak to three.
O’Neill’s struggles continued and he now sits at 1-5 since taking over for injured All-American Jackson Turley.
Poznanski, albeit facing tough competition, just looks off at the moment and Coach Goodale said, “we will talk about it as a staff,” when asked about Poznanski’s availability for next weekend’s matches.
Bulsak didn’t get to face off against the ranked Smith of Maryland, so he quickly dismantled the backup sent out in his place, ending his Big Ten skid at four.
McDermott waited until the last possible moments of his match to give a full-hearted shot attempt and gained a match-winning takedown off it. Coach Goodale wants Boone to “wrestle hard for a full seven minutes,” because he thinks more results like this are possible.
So that does it for the 2021-22 Big Ten schedule as the Scarlet Knights finish at 3-5 in the conference duals, a record that very easily could have been 5-3 if a few things shook out differently.
The Scarlet Knights have consecutive dual meets on Friday and Saturday next week at Jersey Mike’s Arena. The Big Ivy Rivalry is back on as the Tigers of Princeton come to Piscataway on Friday, before the Columbia visits on Saturday to bookend the regular season.
Box Score: No. 16 Rutgers 31, Maryland 13
125: No. 28 Dylan Shawver vs Tommy Capul - Shawver by tech. fall, 16-0
133: Devon Britton vs King Sandoval - Sandoval by FALL
141: No. 3 Sebastian Rivera vs Danny Bertoni - Rivera by tech. fall, 20-3
149: No. 15 Mike VanBrill vs Michael North - VanBrill by dec., 6-0
157: Rob Kanniard vs Conner Decker - Kanniard by major dec., 13-1
165: Andrew Clark vs Gaven Bell - Clark by tech. fall., 16-0
174: Connor O’Neill vs Dominic Solis - Solis by major dec., 10-1
184: No. 8 John Poznanski vs No. 16 Kyle Cochran - Cochran by dec., 9-4
197: No. 12 Greg Bulsak vs Chase Mielnik - Bulsak by FALL
285: Boone McDermott vs Zach Schrader - McDermott by dec., 3-1