High-profile matchups await RU at Penn?State
Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale knows how valuable open tournaments are to the program.
They provide an opportunity for the whole roster, including redshirting wrestlers, to gain valuable experience they would otherwise only receive on the practice mat.
But to Goodale, the Scarlet Knights’ trip this weekend to State College, Pa., to participate in the Penn State Open is more than that.
“The expectation should be to win the tournament,” Goodale said. “Realistically for our younger guys, the goal should be to advance as far as you can in the tournament, but we have some really good guys on this team that are going to get tested by the best in the country.”
Goodale said besides a pair of 197-pounders in junior Dan Seidenberg and freshman Hayden Hrymack, the rest of his wrestlers will compete in the open.
Penn State, which the Knights face Feb. 24 in dual action, send eight ranked wrestlers, according to Intermat, providing plenty of opportunity for any one of Goodale’s grapplers to pull off victories against higher-ranked opponents.
Goodale feels that chance is very important in the early portion of the season.
“Right now you want to knock off one of those nationally ranked guys no matter where they are from because it sets you up for the rest of the season,” Goodale said. “So right now those are the expectations — put yourself in a situation to knock off somebody that’s ranked higher than you.”
If senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi advances far into the tournament, he will likely see one of the open’s highest-ranked opponents in Penn State’s Ed Ruth.
Ruth is ranked No. 1 in the 184-pound weight class and boasts a national championship from when he wrestled last season at 174 pounds.
Rinaldi is No. 13 in his weight class, and a win against Ruth would prove valuable as the season continues.
The Lodi, N.J., native’s chance for an upset is only one of many for Rutgers, and Goodale only sees that as a positive.
“It’s a great opportunity and one of the best opportunities going on this particular weekend,” Goodale said. “It is a great opportunity for our guys to wrestle some highly ranked guys.”
But Goodale does not want to face the possibility of the team’s wrestlers losing in earlier rounds, losing a chance to enhance their bodies of work for the NCAA Tournament.
A loss by any individual in the early goings results in wrestling in the losers’ bracket, a move that features an added workload during the course of a day.
“The one thing I worry about is getting too many matches,” Goodale said. “You don’t want to get on that losers’ side because once you get there, you are wrestling seven to eight times, and I don’t necessarily believe we need that. So you want to stay on the front side of the bracket so you continue to win and put yourself in a situation to wrestle nationally ranked guys.”
While the competition is prevalent throughout the weight classes, Goodale would not want it any other way.
“We have opportunities to wrestle some of the best in the country,” Goodale said. “That’s what we are looking for.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.