Rutgers ends layoff with ranked foe
When the Rutgers wrestling team’s schedule was announced earlier this season, head coach Scott Goodale could not decide whether a two-week break in between the Scarlet Knights’ matches against Navy and Bloomsburg would be desirable.
With the Knights coming off of a 19-15 loss Jan. 26 to the Midshipmen and No. 14 Bloomsburg arriving at the College Avenue Gym tonight, he is still not sure.
“I don’t know if that’s a good or bad thing,” Goodale said. “I know coach [Frank] Molinaro and coach [John Leonardis] and coach [Joe] Pollard have put a lot of time into scouting to be prepared. That being said, we’ve been getting to this point of the year the past two seasons and we have been missing a little pop, so the purpose of taking a break was to come out and wrestle hard.”
The question will be answered when Rutgers’ first grappler takes the mat. Whatever weight class Bloomsburg elects to send out first, odds are a Knight will be paired up with a ranked opponent.
The Huskies (14-2) feature five wrestlers ranked in their respective weight classes, the highest of whom is 133-pounder Nick Wilcox.
Wilcox, ranked No. 11 nationally, holds a 20-5 record this season.
Luckily for Rutgers (14-3), its hottest wrestler competes at the same weight.
Vincent Dellefave has won his last eight matches dating back to the Knights’ West Coast trip during winter break.
Like the junior, Bloomsburg has also won eight straight, something Dellefave knows all about.
The Toms River East (N.J.) High School product’s focus is on Wilcox, Dellefave’s first ranked opponent since his last loss — an 8-3 decision to CSU Bakersfield’s No. 14 Ian Nickell.
“I know they’re hot right now,” Dellefave said. “They have a good one at every weight, so it should be a good one. But for me, I don’t want to change too much because the kid’s ranked.”
Senior 157-pounder Scott Winston, junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenberg, sophomore 165-pounder Nick Visicaro and redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith will all face ranked foes in their bouts, but Goodale will pay extra attention to Seidenberg’s match.
The Raritan, N.J., native returns to his starting role after a four-match absence when Goodale decided to rest him after the Knights’ 17-16 win Jan. 18 against Lehigh.
But the main concern for now is Bloomsburg, which lost to Lehigh, 18-12, earlier this season.
The result is a nice reminder of what Rutgers is capable of doing tonight, and a win could go a long way to putting the Navy loss behind it.
Dellefave simply wants to get back on the mat to help the team avoid its first losing streak of the season.
“No matter who or where we’re wrestling, we just want to win every time as a team, so we have that sour taste in our mouth because of the loss to Navy,” he said. “We definitely want to come out and beat Bloomsburg.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.