Seven travel to Des Moines for championships
Des Moines, Iowa is a long way from New Jersey, but Rutgers head wrestling Scott Goodale can not get out of his home state soon enough.
“When you’re in a backyard fight, no one asks you what you’re surroundings are,” Goodale said. “We didn’t do a great job last week, and I’m just happy to get on the road and get the heck out of here.”
Goodale did not like the Scarlet Knight’s performance this weekend in the EIWA Tournament, as they qualified five of their wrestlers.
But he received news yesterday that put him at ease when the championship bracket was announced.
Junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave and redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith received at-large selections, bringing the total number of grapplers traveling to Iowa to seven.
The at-large selections came as a result of both unable to register qualifying finishes despite competing as the top seeds in their respective weight classes.
Columbia’s No. 8 seed Matt Bystol knocked out Dellefave in the second round with an 11-4 decision, the first of many disappointments for Goodale in the tournament.
Dellefave rallied to win four straight matches to place third overall in his weight class, but only the top two grapplers from the 133 pound weight class were sent to nationals.
Smith made it to the semifinal match against Navy’s Daniel Miller, but lost by an 8-1 decision and dropped his next two matches to place sixth in his weight class.
Once outside looking in, now Dellefave and Smith will have an opportunity to continue their seasosn.
“They deserved it,” Goodale said. “The system is set up to reward wrestlers for what they do during the whole year. I though Dellefave had a great EIWA Tournament and Billy Smith has been good all year wrong.”
Seniors 141-pounder Trevor Melde, 157-pounder Scott Winston, 174-pounder Greg Zannetti and 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi, along with sophomore 165-pounder Nick Visicaro, will all also compete in the first round.
For Winston, this was all part of the plan. But a shaky end to his senior season almost prevented him from competing.
After collecting his 100th-career win Jan. 25 against West Virginia, Winston sandwiched two missed matches because of a hamstring problem in between losses to Navy and Penn State.
He lost in the second round of the EIWA Tournament to Columbia’s Jake O’Hara, forcing him to claw his way into the fifth-place match.
With only five spots handed out for nationals at 157 pounds, he needed a win against Cornell’s Jesse Shanaman to secure his trip.
With a 2-0 decision against Shanaman now behind him, Winston has his last chance at becoming what he wrote on the blackboard back in third grade — a national champion.
“It’s a new season. I’m in the national tournament now,” Winston said after Sunday’s matches. “This is my main goal and I’m really excited and really confident to be honest because of the way I’m wrestling.”
Goodale said a program is weighed on how many All-Americans it produces.
Rutgers will have seven opportunities to give Goodale his first as head coach.
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D