RU benefits from deep field at PSU
Penn State’s Matt Brown was the perfect example of who Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale wanted lined up in front of each of his wrestlers Sunday at the Nittany Lion Open.
The No. 3 174-pounder according to Intermat, Brown went up against senior Greg Zannetti in the weight class’ championship bout.
While Brown registered a 7-4 decision against Zannetti, the loss left Goodale more optimistic than anything else.
“He’ll have a chance to beat that kid for sure,” Goodale said. “He can turn that result around. [Brown] is one of the best in the country and will contend for a national title.”
Before the loss, Zannetti captured four straight wins, including a 4-2 decision against Old Dominion’s Billy Curling to advance to the champion match.
While Brown won the bout, Goodale knows Zannetti benefited from his runner-up performance.
“He was good and solid all-around,” Goodale said. “Greg can certainly turn that performance around. He’ll learn from that match and be better in March.”
Goodale said the team needed the competition to bolster NCAA Championship résumés of work, which he said only helps wrestlers like Zannetti gain experience with the same top competition they will likely face in postseason action.
“You need it every now and then over the course of a season,” Goodale said. “Our schedule is tough enough, but that kind of competition in a tournament, where you are wrestling every single match as the tournament goes and gets harder and harder, that’s what it’s all about.”
Zannetti was one of seven Scarlet Knights to place on the podium, including a third-place showing by senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi.
The Lodi, N.J., native moved pretty easily through his first two matches, capturing a major decision against Army’s Nathan Dow and a pin against Michigan State ‘s Eric Ford in the first period.
Rinaldi’s loan blemish came against Maryland’s No. 10 Jimmy Sheptock, who defeated Rinaldi, 2-0, to force him to the consolation finals.
Redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith went 5-2 on the day with a seventh-place finish, and junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave finished at No. 8 on the podium.
Goodale liked the way the Knights who lost early in the tournament responded, especially in the tournament’s competitive brackets.
“During the course of the season, there are going to be matches you lose and matches you don’t wrestle great, but you have to learn from them, put it behind you and get on to the next match, and that is what we did,” he said. “We did it beating some good guys, so that was great. “
With Rutgers entertaining Rider and Princeton on Saturday at home, it was important to have a good showing in the open.
Goodale believes it is now up to the wrestlers to build on their modest success.
“What I take out of it is the fight these guys have, “ he said. “If everyone gets on board with that fight, you’re in good shape.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.