Wrestling: Two-week layoff allows for training
As the Rutgers wrestling team puts its final touches on preparation for the EIWA Tournament, it does so with almost two weeks since the Scarlet Knights last took to the mat.
Though the Knights’ last action was a 34-0 loss to Penn State on Feb. 24, head coach Scott Goodale believes the break from competion only helped.
“It’s good. We tinkered some things and our training didn’t stop,” Goodale said. “We just continued training to get better and treated it like another week in the season. Obviously it is a lot more important as the intensity level is higher, so it was a normal layoff.”
Though he described the break as normal, that did not stop him from mixing up the Knights’ training regimen, which included bringing his wrestlers to the practice bubble Saturday for condition drills.
That involved running full lengths of the football field. But besides the change of venue, junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave agreed with Goodale’s take on keeping things the same.
“We’ve been doing everything the same,” Dellefave said. “Nothing’s really changed too drastically. We just want to peak at the right time.”
The Knights experienced this type of layoff recently after their Jan. 26 loss to Navy, 19-15.
With the loss the last thing on its mind, Rutgers delivered arguably its biggest win of the season, an 18-16 upset of then-No. 14 Bloomsburg.
“I personally like it,” Dellefave said. “We came back as a team and did pretty well against Bloomsburg, so the coaches know what they’re doing with this two-week break as far as training us.”
The Knights’ results of their layoff will show on a bigger stage than the confines of the College Ave Gym where they staged their upset against the Huskies.
Rutgers will host the EIWA Tournament for the first time in the program’s 109-year history.
Although hosting the tournament is something the program has never seen before, senior 157-pounder Scott Winston knows the way they approach it is not foreign.
“Unless you’re a true freshman, you’re used to it by now,” Winston said. “It’s just the way it’s always been. If anything, it gives you a chance to collect yourself and almost recharge your batteries and mentally get a fresh start.”
That fresh start will commence with the Knights at full health, something Goodale credits to the way his team approached the break.
The results will be evident soon. It is only a matter of time.
“It’s been a really, really good training week,” Goodale said. “We trained hard, but we trained smart and that’s the key. Still plenty of rest, shorter goes, shorter practices, but a lot more intensity and that’s exactly what I want to do.”
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