Dellefave, Smith capture honors
Vincent Dellefave captured the Rutgers wrestling team’s biggest individual win Friday night against No. 14 Bloomsburg. The junior 133-pounder’s pin in the final 10 seconds of the third period against No. 11 Nick Wilcox resulted in a 3-2 win.
While the win aided the Scarlet Knights to an 18-16 victory against the Huskies, it also gave him EIWA Wrestler of the Week honors.
The fact that he shared the award with a fellow teammate speaks to the importance of the win.
Redshirt heavyweight Billy Smith also represented the Knights as EIWA wrestler of the week, the first time Rutgers has had a grappler earn the distinction.
Both victories came against ranked individuals from Bloomsburg, but Smith’s win might have been the more important of the two.
Junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenberg went down by major decision against Richard Perry, 15-6, a result that put the Knights down, 13-6, with Smith set to take the mat.
With the Wantage, N.J., native paired with No. 16 Justin Grant, it would be up to Smith to provide a win and momentum shift.
He delivered in dramatic fashion.
Both were tied, 3-3, with 38 seconds to go in the third period, but Smith obtained a critical escape. The one point move paired with a technical violation by Grant gave Smith a 5-3 victory and the deficit decreased to 13-9.
Smith’s dramatic win gave way to a three-match swing for Rutgers, which included Dellefave’s win. Senior 125-pounder Joey Langel and senior 141-pounder Trevor Melde also provided wins in that span.
Although freshman 149-pounder Ken Theobold lost his match after the three-match win streak, the result did not matter thanks to Smith and Dellefave.
Dellefave’s performance did not only earn him player of the week honors. He also became the No. 1 133 pound grappler in the EIWA, according to the conference’s website.
Dellefave has a 19-6 overall record this season, four more wins than Army’s Jordan Thome. Thome is the second best wrestler at 133 pounds in the EIWA.
Smith moved into second in his weight class behind Cornell’s Stryker Lane. Senior 174-pounder Greg Zannetti is the only other Rutgers wrestler to be ranked in the top two at his weight class.
The rankings are important for EIWA seeding, as the tournament will be held for the first time on campus.
Rutgers sits in second only behind Cornell. The Big Red are 7-0 in the EIWA this season, with only three losses on the season.
The Knights have an opportunity to stay steady at No. 2 if they find success Friday night against Drexel, as the Dragons are 8-10 this season.
The win is not vital for Rutgers because of its win against Bloomsburg.
The Knights can make that statement thanks to Dellefave and Smith.