While we may still be three months away from the first matches of the 2022-23 Rutgers Wrestling season, some interesting information about the lineup was given this past week when head coach Scott Goodale sat down with Christian Pyles of FloWrestling to talk about what the Scarlet Knight lineup could look like for the upcoming campaign.
I'll have more in-depth lineup previews as the season approaches but for now, let's take a look at what we learned about the first half of the lineup from Coach's interview.
125lbs: Not much of a surprise here as there will be a fun wrestle-off between returning starter and NCAA qualifier Dylan Shawver and former 2x NJ state champion Dean Peterson.
Based on high school credentials, Peterson would have the advantage on paper, but Shawver now has a full season of NCAA competition under his belt as he looks to build on last year's success.
133lbs: The first surprise of the interview came when Goodale confirmed that Joey Silva, who's last collegiate match was back in 2020 when he was still representing the Michigan Wolverines, has officially transferred to the banks and will be competing for a spot at 133lbs.
Silva joins an already crowded weight that includes 2022 NCAA qualifier Joey Olivieri, incoming transfer and NCAA qualifier Joe Heilmann, and former 2x NJ state champion Nick Raimo.
Goodale indicated that Olivieri would likely take a redshirt this year, so it may be down to a three-man race for 133lbs.
141lbs: As most fans expected, Sammy Alvarez, who has struggled with weight issues after earning NWCA All-American honors in 2020, will bump up to 141lbs to compete in 2022-23.
The move makes a ton of sense for both the team and Alvarez who hopefully now can focus more on the wrestling part of wrestling rather than worrying about his weight.
149lbs: After one of the most successful redshirt campaigns in Scarlet Knight history, South Plainfield native Anthony White looks to cement his spot at 149lbs for the upcoming year.
During last season's wrestle-offs, White took out perennial starter and multiple time NCAA qualifier Mike VanBrill, 3-2, but it was decided that White would still take a redshirt and defer his eligibility.
157lbs: In another surprise that may have been hinted back in April, last year's starter at 165lbs Andrew Clark, will be dropping to 157 for the upcoming season to challenge incumbent starter Rob Kanniard for the spot.
Both Clark and Kanniard had up & down campaigns last year, with Kanniard just missing out on an NCAA tournament bid. The potential wrestle-off here should be great for both competitors as the "iron sharpens iron" mentality is strong on the banks.
That does it for the first half of the lineup preview as per Coach Goodale and my goodness are we in for some fun wrestle-offs when October rolls around. The matchups between Shawver/Peterson at 125lbs and Kanniard/Clark at 157lbs have potential to be doozies.
I'm also of the belief that the competition at 133lbs may be something we see play out over the entirety of the first semester, with the starter not finalized until the Big Ten portion of the schedule rolls around in January.
I'll have the rest of Goodale's lineup preview, along with his thoughts regarding how NIL (name, image, likeness) is already impacting the wrestling landscape later in the week.