Individual rankings remain unchanged
The Rutgers wrestling team took a monumental leap in the program's goals last Friday by defeating No. 3 Virginia Tech.
The win marked the first time the Scarlet Knights took down a top-five team and showcased the program's growth in front of nearly 3,000 spectators.
So now what?
"What's next for us is I'd like to finish the rest of the year off strong," said head coach Scott Goodale, whose Knights moved to No. 9 in yesterday's coaches' poll. "We still have a couple of big challenges ahead of us, and I'd like to finish it off strong. At the same time, I want to make sure we are healthy and rested."
For Goodale and Co., it is easy to stay satisfied with the win over the Hokies and coast through their five remaining duals, but that is not the way they are approaching the end of the season.
In fact to some, Virginia Tech is already a distant memory.
"It's mostly out of my mind," said sophomore Joe Langel. "Sometimes I'll look back on it because you can't help it. We put a lot of work into getting that win and the atmosphere, but you have to get past it. You can't dwell on it. It's just one match. Know what you did right, know what you did wrong and learn from it."
It was Langel who got the Louis Brown Athletic Center jumping on Friday when he kicked off the match upsetting No. 13 Jarrod Garnett of Virginia Tech with an 8-7 decision. The win, coupled with another victory over Rider the following day, bumped Langel's record to 15-6.
However, it did not vault Langel into the InterMat top 20 for 125-pounders.
"I'm not really thinking about [rankings]," Langel said. "That's not going to really matter until the end of the season. Right now, I'm just worrying about wrestling, staying healthy and winning."
Despite Langel's upset win, junior Trevor Melde's upset over No. 13 Chris Diaz and sophomore Dan Rinaldi's five-match winning streak, no new Knight wrestler is represented in the rankings.
Rutgers still has five ranked wrestlers, and Goodale believes there should be more.
"I don't know how Danny Rinaldi is not ranked," he said. "He has one bad match, and he's not ranked."
Rinaldi carries a 17-5 record with him after going 2-0 on the weekend, including a 10-1 major decision against Rider's James Brundage.
"I try not to pay too much attention to it," Rinaldi said of his omission from the rankings. "It's not something that I can control. I'm just going to control what I can and take it one match at a time."
The Lodi, N.J., native has a golden opportunity this weekend to make a push for the rankings when the Knights travel to face Virginia and Navy.
The Midshipmen boast the No. 11 wrestler in the nation, Luke Rebertus, in Rinaldi's 184-pound weight class. Although the two have never wrestled before, the ranking does not skew Rinaldi's expectations.
"I'm looking for a win," he said. "I'm just going to try and wrestle my match, and if I'm able to do that, then I'll be fine."
Gaining national respect from an individual standpoint is the next step that Goodale wants to see his wrestlers take.
"That's what we stress. If you want respect, here is your opportunity to get it," Goodale said. "We've got it already from a team standpoint, but if you want individual respect around the country, these are the matches you've got to win."