Rutgers routs pair of opponents at RAC
Forget about the team result, the Rutgers wrestling team was not about to let anybody not wearing a scarlet singlet win a single bout.
The Scarlet Knights opened their season yesterday at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, demolishing both Sacred Heart and East Stroudsburg by scores of 56-0 and 32-6, respectively.
"I think we did a good job. We really pushed the pace and wrestled hard all day long," said head coach Scott Goodale. "We just wrestled well in all three positions and we pinned people, which is not easy to do in college wrestling."
Rutgers (2-0) recorded a total of nine pins and came away victorious in 19 of the 20 total matches.
Although they completely outmatched the opposition, the Knights were still glad to get the season off on the right note.
"I try to go out the same way I would wrestle the best guy in the country," said sophomore Mario Mason. "I don't want to put on a show or be flashy or anything like that. I just wanted to go out and wrestle as hard as I could and score whenever I could."
Rutgers kicked off its contest against East Stroudsburg by getting out to an early 12-0 start behind pins from sophomore Joe Langel and junior Mike DeMarco.
The dominance continued in a bout featuring two NCAA qualifiers, as junior Trevor Melde faced off against ESU's Adam Hluschak at 141 pounds. Melde scored an immediate takedown and cruised to a 6-1 decision.
"I liked that second bout he had. That's a pretty good kid he beat," Goodale said. "Trevor just got cleared to wrestle live coming off an ACL injury. That was big."
Following two major decision victories from Mason and senior Daryl Cocozzo, sophomore Scott Winston capped off his first day of competition from a redshirt season with a 6-1 decision.
"I felt pretty good," Winston said. "There was a couple of things I wish I could have done better — I wish I would have pulled the trigger quicker. Other than that, I went seven minutes and kept my feet going. He didn't wrestle me as much as I would have liked, but I felt good."
The Warriors (1-1) got on the board in the 184-pound contest when sophomore Jesse Boyden could not pull out an escape in the final 20 seconds and fell, 4-3, to Brendan McKeown. East Stroudsburg's other victory came in the night's last match, when Rutgers senior Sean DeDeyn fell, 4-0, to Will Weaver at heavyweight.
True freshman Mike Wagner continued his impressive showing early on, taking down ESU's Ed Ebewo by an 8-2 score.
"With Wagner I was very pleased," Goodale said. "That's a lot of points he put up there and we haven't that in some time. He wrestles hard and he is just going to get better."
Against Sacred Heart (0-2), seven Knights recorded pins, starting with sophomore Matt Fusco at 125 pounds and ending with heavyweight senior DJ Russo.
The fastest pin came courtesy of Melde, who took down Joseph Evangelista in just 1:17, as Rutgers recorded its largest margin of victory since a 59-0 win on Feb. 9 2002, against Wagner.
"When you get the chance to put someone on their backs, you've got to do that and get the heck off," Goodale said. "That was the mindset and we did a good job of that."
The Knights also got a tech fall from Wagner and a 10-3 decision from DeMarco to finish off the Pioneers.
Mason earned two victories in his first two bouts with Rutgers, including a pin 2:12 into his match against Sacred Heart's Tim Rich.
"The teams were a little weak, but overall we looked good as a team," Mason said. "It was the first time getting down to weight for me, so that's always a little bit tougher. Now we have a couple of things we can go back and look at in practice."
Rutgers travels to Brockport, N.Y., this upcoming weekend to partake in the Oklahoma Gold Tournament. Russo came away with a first place finish in the heavyweight bracket in last year's tournament.