No. 18 Rutgers Wrestling (6-1, 0-0) hits the road this weekend to finish off their non-conference schedule against Bloomsburg and in-state rival Rider. The Scarlet Knights are coming off an up and down performance that saw them garner a seventh place finish at the 58th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships with six individual place winners.
First up for Rutgers will be the winless Bloomsburg Huskies (0-6, 0-1) on Friday night at the Nelson Field House in Bloomsburg, PA. Regardless of who Coach Goodale decides to send out, this should be a rout for the Scarlet Knights.
Bloomsburg sports a very young roster but still were able to secure two place winners at last week’s Midlands Championships, including Josh Mason who took out current Rutgers redshirt Joe Olivieri in the consolation bracket.
The main thing I’m looking for Friday night will be the availability of Billy Janzer at 197lbs. He’s listed on the probables in the official preview put out by Rutgers, but so is Kyle Epperly, his back up at the weight.
Janzer has been dealing with a knee injury and didn’t compete at the Midlands, so here’s hoping the extended rest did him well, because he’ll have a big test Sunday against Rider if he’s good to go.
If the Scarlet Knights send out all their starters on Friday, a shutout isn’t out of the question, but it will likely come down to the middleweights taking care of business. My prediction is Rutgers 33, Bloomsburg 6 with the Scarlet Knights taking eight of ten bouts.
Action kicks off at 7:00PM Friday Night in Pennsylvania and it looks like Bloomsburg will produce their own stream for the match.
On Sunday, Rutgers will head to Lawrenceville, NJ to take on the Broncs of Rider University (2-1, 1-0) in the “BIG-MAC” rivalry match. Last year, the Scarlet Knights prevailed in the recently resurrected annual matchup, 36-3, where they secured nine of ten bouts in a dominant win.
This year, Rutgers is still favored, but we should see a little more balance to the dual as the Broncs come in with three ranked wrestlers led by No. 10 Ethan Laird at 197lbs. If the aforementioned Billy Janzer is ready to roll, this could be a fun matchup for him Sunday afternoon.
At 141lbs, we could see a ranked match between No. 12 Sammy Alvarez, fresh off a third place finish at the Midlands, and No. 29 Mackenzie Bell who himself picked up a fourth place finish at the other main winter tournament, the Southern Scuffle.
Redshirt freshman and No. 32 ranked Tony White could face a tough challenge at 149lbs where he’ll likely see No. 23 Quinn Kinner, a former two-time NJ state champion who finished sixth at the Southern Scuffle.
Up at heavyweight, No. 24 Boone McDermott will look to repeat his performance against Rider’s David Szuba, who the Scarlet Knight dispatched via a first period pin in last year’s matchup.
For this dual, I like the Scarlet Knights to take a six to four match split and leave Lawrenceville with the BIG-MAC trophy by a score of 21-13. The start time for this one is 2:00 PM on Sunday and will be streamed via ESPN+.