Rutgers Wrestling (14-5, 3-5), the No. 16 ranked team in the country according to Intermat, closes out it’s regular season this weekend with a pair of non-conference duals against a couple of big cats from the Ivy League.
On Friday night, The Big-Ivy Rivalry is back on as the No. 24 Princeton Tigers (6-4) head to the banks for ranked showdown with the Scarlet Knights. The final meet of the season will follow on Saturday at 5:00PM against the visiting Columbia Lions.
Rutgers comes into the duals with their usual six ranked wrestlers and Sebastian Rivera leads the way at 141lbs, where he comes in at No. 3.
Freshman Joey Olivieri (133lbs) and Senior Mike VanBrill (149lbs) both held their ranks from the previous week at No. 16 and No. 15 respectively.
Dylan Shawver (125lbs) and Greg Bulsak (197lbs) each moved up a spot this week, to No. 28 and No. 11, while John Poznanski (184lbs) fell three spots from to No. 11.
Of note, Rutgers’ Head Coach Scott Goodale could find himself with 199 wins on the banks if the Scarlet Knights can secure both duals this weekend.
No. 24 Princeton will come into the meet with four ranked wrestlers as they vie to retain the Big Ivy Trophy that they captured from the Scarlet Knights back in 2020 before COVID-19 shut down the wrestling season (and everything else).
Prior to that dual, Rutgers had won the previous 23 meetings between the two schools. The Tigers will likely finish 3rd in the Ivy League, behind No. 6 Cornell and No. 16 Penn, both of whom they fell to earlier in the season.
The match could feature three ranked bouts, the first being at 125lbs where Rutgers’ No. 28 Dylan Shawver will likely see former All-American and No. 2 ranked Patrick Glory.
Glory is an absolute stud on that mat, and it will be a tough test for Shawver, but managing bonus points here could be crucial in determining the outcome of the dual.
If No. 16 Joey Olivieri is back in the lineup for the Scarlet Knights after missing the Maryland meet last weekend, Rutgers should be heavily favored in the next three bouts heading into 157lbs, where Princeton will send out two-time national qualifier and No. 7 ranked Quincy Monday to take on a streaking Rob Kanniard, who has won his last five matches.
Monday is a lightning-quick and dangerous wrestler but if Kanniard keeps good positioning, this match can be closer than how it looks on paper.
165lbs and 174lbs should be toss up bouts and if either team can snag both matches, it could go a long way for their respective team scores.
The next ranked matchup should be at 184lbs, where Rutgers has returning All-American and No. 11 John Poznanski, a wrestler who finds himself in a slump, to take on two-time national qualifier and No. 23 Travis Stefanik of the Tigers.
The grind that is a college wrestling season is hitting Poznanski in full force this semester, as he prepares to square off with his sixth ranked opponent (seven if you count Rocky Jordan of Ohio State, who more than likely would be ranked if he was the starter) out of his last eight matches.
There’s a chance he gets a break here, but Kyle Epperly, who weighed in at 184lbs for the first time recently, is listed back at 197lbs in the official Rutgers match preview.
The final ranked bout of the meet will be at 197lbs as No. 11 Greg Bulsak will take on No. 20 Luke Stout of Princeton. Bulsak picked up a quick pin wrestling against a backup during the Maryland dual and hopefully the momentum from that carries over in this spot against the talented freshman Stout.
The matchup at heavyweight represents another toss up, but it should lean in Rutgers favor as Boone McDermott has looked stronger as of late.
The Big Ivy Trophy should be back on the banks when the meet concludes as I like Rutgers to take seven of ten matches to secure a 24-10 victory.
The anticipated dual kicks off Friday at 7:00PM at Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway and can be streamed via BTN Plus.