No. 16 Rutgers Wrestling closes out its regular season Saturday with its second dual is as many days as the Columbia Lions of the Ivy League head to Jersey Mike’s Arena in Piscataway for a non-conference showdown.
Rutgers competed last night against Princeton in the latest edition of the Big Ivy Rivalry and brought the trophy back to the banks, defeating the Tigers 24-13.
Columbia (4-8) comes into the meet sitting fourth in the Ivy League with wins over Harvard and Brown and are led by former Millburn Wrestling standout Zach Tanelli.
The Lions lineup features four wrestlers with a rank on Intermat, including their first three wrestlers: No. 31 Joe Manchio (125lbs), No. 23 Angelo Rini (133lbs), and No. 20 Matt Kazimir (141lbs). Rutgers would still be favored in all three of those matchups, though, as they have No. 28 at 125lbs in Dylan Shawver, No. 16 at 133lbs in Joey Olivieri, and the No. 3 ranked wrestler in the country at 141lbs in Sebastian Rivera.
However, Rivera suffered a knee injury Friday night in his match against Princeton, so he’ll likely sit out in this spot. It will be interesting to see who fills in for Rivera here as Coach Goodale indicated Sammy Alvarez would not be available when asked at the post-match press conference.
It is also likely that Rob Kanniard, the starter at 157lbs, broke his nose on Friday during his match, so he will be out here as well. “That’s why Al Desantis gets all these extra matches, so he’ll be ready to go,” said Coach Goodale of the likely starter in place of Kanniard.
The other ranked wrestler for Columbia, No. 19 Joshua Ogunsayna at 165lbs should square off with Andrew Clark of the Scarlet Knights, as the Rutgers wrestler looks to pick up a ranked win to close out his regular season. Clark fell by decision Friday night, so he’ll look to rebound here.
Coach Goodale specifically sought out a back-to-back dual meet scenario to end the season, “here’s why we did this match for tomorrow,” Coach Goodale explained, “it simulates Big Ten and National Tournament weigh-ins so that’s why we do it.”
Predicting this one will be tough as Rutgers will be without at least two starters, and probably more.
A lingering question on many fan’s minds is if this final dual will feature the home debut of heavyweight Kyonte Hamilton, a prized recruit who earned significant playing time with the football team during the first semester.
With a win Saturday night, Rutgers would complete a sweep of their non-conference schedule, another notable achievement for Coach Goodale, who sits at 198 victories on the banks heading into the final dual of the season.
The action kicks off at 5:00PM and can be streamed via BTN Plus.