Happy Friday and welcome back to another Rutgers Wrestling offseason notebook. Last week, we completed our “way too early” lineup preview when we tackled the upperweight group. If you missed any of the previews, you can find them here.
I’ll do another lineup preview later in the summer when more aspects of the team are settled, but until then, it was another busy week in Scarlet Knight wrestling land, so let’s get right into it.
In transfer news, the 133lbs weight class just got a little more crowded as former South Plainfield high school standout and UNC graduate Joe Heilmann announced he is heading back home to finish out his collegiate career on the banks.
Heilmann qualified for the national tournament this past season, picking up the 18th seed on his way to a round of 16 finish, two wins away from earning All-American status. His arrival in Piscataway adds even more intrigue as to who will emerge the starter at 133lbs when November rolls around later this year.
The most likely scenario at the moment seems to be redshirting 2021-22 NCAA qualifier Joe Olivieri, who started last season wrestling unattached before having to step into the lineup in January to replace incumbent starter Sammy Alvarez who could no longer make the 133lbs weight class.
This would give Heilmann a shot at the starting job for the upcoming season, but Nick Raimo, a transfer from Arizona State who himself had an illustrious NJ high school career, could produce a fun wrestle-off for the lineup spot.
In competition news, the Scarlet Knights will send an (unattached) squad down to Manalapan this Saturday and Sunday(4/23-4/24) to compete at the Intermat National Freestyle Duals.
I’ll post the lineup below, but some quick notes about it first. At 57kg (125.5lbs), the Scarlet Knights will enter both 2021-22 starter Dylan Shawver and Dean Peterson. Peterson only competed once during his redshirt year and it was up at 133lbs, but it looks like he’ll be back down near his high school competition weight for this tournament.
However, it should also be noted that wrestlers get two kilos of weight allowance here and will weigh in the night before the tournament begins, so Peterson and Shawver will actually only have to get to 130lbs.
Sammy Alvarez will be up at 65kg (143.3lbs) in his first competition since January and it will be good to see the Scarlet Knight at a weight class more suited to his large frame.
If the entries listed on the official Rutgers preview are correct, the biggest surprise has to be Andrew Clark, last season’s starter at 165lbs, competing down at 70kg (154.3lbs). Is Clark planning on dropping a weight class (or two) for next season? Again, he’ll get an extra two kilos here, but it is intriguing nonetheless to see a wrestler cutting down a weight a month after ending the regular season.
Also, according to the release, it looks as if Rutgers won’t be entering a wrestler at 92kg for the tournament, which could make an extended run in their bracket difficult.
That will do it for this week’s offseason notebook, but we’ll be back next week as we take a look at the 2022 Senior Freestyle US Open where two former Scarlet Knight wrestlers are set to compete.
Intermat National Freestyle Duals Roster:
57kg: Dylan Shawver/Dean Peterson
61kg: Nico Messina
65kg: Sammy Alvarez/Devon Britton
70kg: Anthony White/Andrew Clark/Al Desantis
74kg: Rob Kanniard/Dylan Weaver
79kg: Connor O’Neill
86kg: Kyle Epperly
97kg: Niccolo Colucci
125kg: John O’Donnell