It appears to be the end of an era in Piscataway as Anthony Ashnault, Rutgers Wrestling’s only four-time All-American and three-time Big Ten champion, has signed with the New York City Regional Training Center (NYCRTC) to continue his pursuit of world and Olympic medals. Ashnault capped off an excellent career with a NCAA title in 2019.
After his graduation from Rutgers in 2019, Ashnault has trained with the New Jersey RTC, during the short lived post-collegiate wrestling partnership between Rutgers and Princeton, and the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club since then.
Ashnault was also an assistant coach for the Scarlet Knights this past season, but head coach Scott Goodale recently announced his would be stepping down.
For those unfamiliar with RTCs and wrestling clubs, as it relates to post graduate athletics, they exist to support athletes by giving them the resources to train for national and international wrestling championships.
At the NYCRTC, Ashnault will join several athletes already training including two-time NCAA champion Jordan Oliver from Oklahoma State and Mitch Finesilver, a former All-American from Duke.
Oliver, a veteran of the international circuit, was in line to be the 65kg representative at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games for the United States after winning the Olympic trials tournament.
However, the U.S. failed to qualify the weight at the Pan American qualifier and Oliver then fell in the semi-finals of a last chance qualifier tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria a few months before the start of the Olympics.
Another wrestler with international recognition that spends at least some time at the NYCRTC is Frank Chamizo, a native Cuban who defected to Italy before becoming a two-time World Champion (2015,17) and Olympic bronze medalist (2016).
Kendall Cross, a 1996 Olympic Gold medalist for the stars and stripes, is the head coach at the NYCRTC and is assisted by Valentin Kalika. Kalika is best known to Americans for being the head coach for Helen Maroulis in 2016 as she became the first female wrestler to win an Olympic gold medal for the U.S.
The NYCRTC is in a partnership with Columbia University wrestling and athletes train at their facilities in New York City as well as the Edge School of Wrestling in Hoboken.
Columbia head coach Zach Tanelli, a New Jersey native who wrestled for Millburn high before an All-American career at Wisconsin, will also be in the room helping train the athletes.
For Rutgers the question now is whether they will bring in another resident athlete to train at the SKWC who also would fill the coaching void that Ashnault leaves or will they keep the two separate?
If this is the end of Ashnault’s tenure on the banks, its been a decade of amazing memories and accomplishments that will forever be cemented in the minds of the Scarlet Knight faithful.
Rutgers Wrestling is now talked about at a national level regularly while getting the cream of the crop with regards to in state recruits, and Ashnault is a huge part of why that is.