New roster gives Rutgers excitement
Junior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro is one of just three NCAA qualifiers returning this season for the Rutgers wrestling team.
In his first full season in head coach Scott Goodale’s lineup, the Long Branch, N.J., native posted a 15-11 dual record en route to making the NCAA Championships.
The taste of qualifying is not enough for him.
“Last season didn’t really go as planned on a personal standpoint,” Visicaro said. “It increases that motivation because the clock’s ticking and if I want to get things done, I have to get them done now.”
That begins Sunday when the Scarlet Knights (0-0) open their dual match season against Hofstra (0-0).
Visicaro faces Jon Booth, one of the Pride’s three returning NCAA qualifiers.
But unlike the other two, Booth redshirted last season after making three straight championships. He currently ranks No. 11 in his weight class, according to Intermat.
Visicaro couldn’t care less about his opponent or his ranking.
“Obviously I’ve seen where he’s at, but honestly never really look at it,” Visicaro said. “My freshman year the first time I ever wrestled a ranked guy, I didn’t even know he was ranked. I beat him and someone came up to me and told me. … Even if someone’s ranked, I never really let it get to me.”
Hofstra’s other two grapplers with NCAA Championship experience compete at 125 and 141 pounds, both weight classes in which Rutgers freshman will debut.
One hundred twenty five-pounder Scott DelVecchio and 141-pounder Cory Stasenko are two of four newcomers to the starting lineup this season, with 174-pounder Phillip Bakuckus and 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti also making their dual-match debuts.
“We’re young. We have a bunch of energy. We’re like a bunch of spark plugs,” Perrotti said.
Perrotti, who posted a 13-7 record last season unattached, said after practice yesterday he feels comfortable at 157 — Scott Winston’s weight class last season.
Perrotti said he needed to cut weight, which included eating healthier and getting in the weight room.
Perrotti’s appearance is just one of last year’s redshirts who Goodale is excited to see.
“They’re not redshirts anymore, so with that comes expectation,” Goodale said. “With expectations comes pressure to wrestle in this program, which is a good thing.”
Hofstra provides Rutgers its youth’s first test.
For Visicaro, it serves as a platform to take out frustrations from last season.
“I’m real excited,” Visicaro said. “I get a chance to take all of those disappointments and turn them into motivations, and I’m just really looking forward to using all of those on the mat and hopefully proving that I’m not just a qualifier.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @Bradly_D. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.