Wrestle-Offs determine starters
The Rutgers wrestling team does not have a regular season home match until Jan. 8, 2010, but the Scarlet Knights' season commences Monday when they hold their annual inter-squad Wrestle-Offs in the College Avenue Gym.
The event marks the beginning of the 2009-10 season for the team as well as solidifies the starting roster for the upcoming campaign.
"There will be 10 matches, one for each weight class," third-year head coach Scott Goodale said. "Mini tournaments are held this week to see who our No. 1 guy will be, and [Monday] is just the final rounds of all the tournaments."
The event is open to the public and a good turnout is expected, Goodale said.
"This is going to have a team match atmosphere with a big crowd," he said. "It will be run like a regular dual meet, including referees and even the national anthem."
While six weight classes wrestle in mini-tournaments in the week leading up to Wrestle-Offs, four weight classes already have their matches set for Monday.
The heavyweight match Monday is between two redshirt juniors, Sean DeDeyn and Dominick Russo.
DeDeyn, a transfer from Johnson and Wales in Providence, R.I., finished last year with a record of 9-6.
Russo, from Netcong, N.J., is listed as the No. 14 heavyweight in the country and rounded out his 2008-09 season with a bid to the NCAA Championships while finishing with a 33-16 record.
To Russo, there is just one thing missing from the Wrestle-Offs.
"There is no mystery to the guy you are going to be wrestling at all," he said. "It's different then a regular dual meet because you are against someone that you face everyday in practice."
The heavyweight match will not include freshman Carl Buchholz because he is redshirting this season.
"[Buchholz] is a very athletic and dedicated wrestler," Russo said. "He just has to hone in on a couple of things and clean up his technique. I think he is going to be a very good wrestler really soon."
For the Wrestle-Offs, the team splits evenly to create a dual meet atmosphere, Goodale said.
"In a traditional dual meet, one team wears scarlet and one wears white," he said. "The only difference for Monday is that one team wears red and one team wears black."
This will be the only time to see RU within the friendly confines of the Barn until the New Year, when Ivy Leaguers Brown and Harvard come to town.
"[Wrestle-Offs] give you the whole crowd atmosphere," Russo said. "Being in front of a lot of people, you get the ‘all eyes on you' feeling."
After the Wrestle-Offs, the regular season begins Nov. 8 when the team travels to Fairfield, Conn., for a dual meet with Sacred Heart.