Knights sweep three matches at Duals
After its last dual meet against Clarion, Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale wanted the team to finish matches more convincingly and accumulate more points to keep its opponents from coming back in contests.
With Thanksgiving break thrown between the Scarlet Knights' past two matches, it would not be too farfetched for the Knights to take some time to honor Goodale's request.
Rutgers controlled the outcomes of all three of its matches Saturday, collecting major decisions in all of its wins against Columbia, Binghamton and Army at the Northeast Duals.
"I thought we wrestled extremely hard and did a good job at the end of the periods and scoring late," Goodale said. "We want to go from 6-1 and 7-1 [decisions] and try to make it 9-1 to get major decisions, and that's what we saw."
Senior 174-pounder Greg Zannetti and senior 157-pounder Scott Winston found wins for Rutgers (4-0) against ranked opponents from Columbia. Winston collected a 3-1 decision against No. 11 Jake O'Hara, while Rinaldi escaped with a 1-0 win against Columbia's No. 13 Steven West.
While Goodale expected those performances, the play of another senior excited him.
Senior 125-pounder Joseph Langel set the tone in the Knights' 30-6 victory against Columbia, pinning Penn Gottfried 1:26 into the match.
The Freehold, N.J., native registered a major-decision victory against Binghamton's Mike Sardo, 13-2, and finished off his impressive day with a technical fall against Army’s Hunter Woody for an 18-2 decision.
Goodale said Langel's performances so far remind him of when Langel was a NCAA qualifier two years ago.
With 125 pounds being the usual starting match, Goodale knows how valuable starting off with a win is for the team.
Major decisions are even better.
"When that kid's on, he is our spark plug," Goodale said. "He is very, very important in that regard, and when he gets going, we are a very dangerous team."
Redshirt freshman Billy Smith also controlled all three of his opponents to remain undefeated, and his play in Albany, N.Y. backed up his first ever appearance in the national rankings.
The No. 20 heavyweight according to Amateur Wrestling News, Smith pinned Army's Curtis Garner to highlight his third major decision victory of the day.
"Billy Smith is just getting better and better every single day," Goodale said. "It is good to have someone who wrestles that hard at heavyweight."
Senior 157-pounder Scott Winston defeated Army's Brian Harvey, 9-3, for his third individual win of the day, wins that indicate the Jackson, N.J., native’s positive response to his dual season-opening loss to Clarion's James Fleming.
Zannetti and senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi clinched the win against Army with their decisions before Smith ended the match with an exclamation point on a 26-15 Rutgers win with his pin against Garner.
Eight Knights in all went 2-0 or better in the three matches, including during a 30-9 victory against Binghamton, en route to earning wins in 23 of their 29 individual matches.
Goodale could not be more pleased.
"Any time you get a chance to wrestle three duals and win three duals the way we did, we are happy with it," he said.
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