Ashnault brothers’ relationship brings passion to program
Fighting over the last slice of pizza, who gets to use the shower first or who has to sit in the middle seat of the family car might be what most siblings squabble about in a typical household.
That is not the case at the Ashnault residence.
Both former member of the Rutgers wrestling team, Billy Ashnault, and current freshman 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault, have been wrestling since they were 5 years old.
It would be remiss to not mention the competitive spirit of their sister, Carly Ashnault, who serves as the team’s manager. She can be seen firing up out of her chair to help coach up a wrestler in the middle of his match.
The passion and drive for wrestling is a central part of the Ashnault family and involves every member.
“[In training], we really stick to the roots of loving the sport and focusing on technique,” Billy Ashnault said. “Overall, we love to work out and do all the extra stuff to get in there and do the work to become a champ. [Anthony and Carly] used to roll it out a little bit. I don’t think she really had a choice, but if she got thrown around she would fight back.”
For head coach Scott Goodale, there is no question what both Ashnault brothers bring to the table.
“It’s a great wrestling family. They are the type of people you want to surround yourself with,” Goodale said. “That’s why I hired Billy. He’s a great person and a tireless worker. As far as the little guy, [Anthony], he’s a tremendous competitor. He wrestles anybody and everybody, and will go wherever he’s got to go do it. The dad will drive them all over the country to wrestle.”
Billy Ashnault, the director of wrestling operations for the Scarlet Knights, is one of the more successful wrestlers to grapple under Goodale.
The alumnus graduated in 2012 after falling one victory shy of being an NCAA All-American, going 3-2 at 141 pounds in the NCAA Tournament.
While Anthony Ashnault has yet to wrestle attached to the program in his redshirt season, his high school credentials speak for themselves.
The redshirt was the first ever undefeated, four-time New Jersey state champion. He also is one of only three, four-time New Jersey state champions.
While the competitive gene runs in the Ashnault family, one cannot help but wonder if there is an actual sibling rivalry between the brothers.
Older brother Billy Ashnault believes there is no such thing.
“Nah, there is no sibling rivalry. I beat him still to this date!” Billy Ashnault said. “Obviously it will change in the future, but up until now I still have the upper hand.”
While a sibling rivalry may not exactly exist, Billy Ashnault serves as everything from a mentor to a sparring partner for younger brother Anthony Ashnault.
“The special thing is that he gets to be my coach and it’s pretty unique. I’m really grateful for it,” Anthony Ashnault said. “He’s like a guardian angel that makes me work a little bit harder. I look over and see my brother in the room and it makes me want to push a little bit harder. It makes you give a little bit extra because your family is there and you don’t want to disappoint them.”
While wrestling unattached this season, Anthony Ashnault placed third Nov. 3 in the Clarion Open, going 7-1.
Anthony Ashnault also went 3-2 in the Bearcat Open on Nov. 10 before getting injured, and still has yet to grapple outside of the wrestling room.
Despite staying out of competition since, Anthony Ashnault made it seem like he had a simple objective for his Rutgers career.
“My goal is just to be a four-time NCAA champ, starting now. I got banged up this year and now I’m back in the room working harder than ever,” Anthony Ashnault said. “I want to be at the top, but I’m just taking baby steps right now to get there. It’s a mutual goal between [Billy and I]. If I accomplish it, I feel like he accomplishes it.”
Goodale still thinks the best is yet to come for the younger Ashnault, but knows it is still a mystery.
“The chapter he writes? We don’t know that yet,” Goodale said. “But we’ll know it soon.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.