Experienced wrestler stays goal-oriented
Toward the end of practice yesterday, Dan Rinaldi was paired with junior 197-pounder Dan Siedenburg, one weight class up from the 184-pound senior.
Seidenburg was able to get a clean move on him, after which Rinaldi emphatically tossed his head guard as he went to cool down in the locker room.
“Sorry about that,” Rinaldi said jokingly. “I get competitive sometimes.”
The competiveness is evident in how the Lodi, N.J., native has conducted himself in the Scarlet Knights’ wrestling room for the past five seasons, showing disappointment in his performance despite the obvious weight advantage for Seidenburg.
“I love him. He’s a fiery competitor, and it’s a lot of hard work,” Goodale said. “He’s been very consistent for us for the past five years, and he’s frustrated. He truly wants to win and that’s probably why he will be successful no matter what he does, so we will see.”
Goodale said part of the reason why Rinaldi is so competitive comes as a result of his high school career.
Though Rinaldi posted a 133-17 record at Lodi High School — the most wins in program history — he never finished higher than third in the state tournament, according to Goodale.
His ability to perform on top, what Goodale calls the “X” factor for success on the collegiate level, is what drew the coach to bring Rinaldi into the program back in 2007.
Whatever Rinaldi has dealt with until now he insists is behind him.
“My work ethic has always been there,” Rinaldi said. “I’ve had the will to succeed at the highest level, but coming out of high school, I guess I’ve had a little bit of a chip on my shoulder, but it’s so long ago that I’m over it now. If I make All-American this year I can put that behind me completely.”
All-American status is not the only thing that lies ahead of him.
Rinaldi collected his 100th-career victory Jan. 20 against Harvard. In total, he has 103 career victories, which placed him one behind former Rutgers wrestler DJ Russo for most wins all-time for a grappler under Goodale.
With three regular season matches to go, Goodale chalks the success up to Rinaldi’s durability, as he has dealt with injuries his whole collegiate career.
“He might be the best guy to come through here in the past five years, he’s certainly our most consistent guy,” Goodale said. “He’s pretty durable and tough. He doesn’t want to sit out. He’s not into doctors and not into trainers, he just wants to wrestle.”
Rinaldi said all of the accolades would be nice, but his goals go higher than that, as he wants to become the second member of his family to earn All-American status. His older brother Jerry did it twice at Cornell as a 197-pounder.
For now, the focus shifts back in the room with three weeks to go before tournament time, a task that will be done with focus by Rinaldi even if he has to get a new head guard.
“Clearly, I think it is pretty important,” Rinaldi said. “It’s good to feel good, but we just have to start peaking at the right time and start rolling.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.