Rutgers aims to maintain seeds at RAC
The Rutgers wrestling team had the chance to grapple on five different occasions at the Louis Brown Athletic Center during the 2012-2013 campaign.
This season, the Scarlet Knights only have one opportunity to host a dual competition at the RAC.
The opportunity also happens to be the last home dual meet of the season for Rutgers (10-5, 6-2), which will face Drexel (7-13, 1-4) tomorrow night at 7 p.m.
Having dual competition at the RAC allows more fans to attend, something that the College Ave. Gym cannot. The Barn can only host approximately 1,200 spectators, while the RAC can fit 8,000 on a sold-out night.
While the Barn does not always provide a distinct advantage, it does have its benefits, according to senior 133-pounder Vinnie Dellefave.
“I think it’s great for us to wrestle at the RAC, although I do enjoy wrestling upstairs [at the College Ave. Gym] because the crowd is right on top of you,” Dellefave said. “But anytime you get into a big facility, a venue like the RAC, it is pretty cool.”
As great as it is to wrestle at the RAC for the first time in over a year, the final match of the season serves as one last showcase before the EIWA conference tournament that will be held March 8-9.
Head coach Scott Goodale does not want grappling at the basketball arena in Piscataway to overshadow the season’s ultimate goal.
“[The RAC is] a great environment to wrestle in. We haven’t been over there at all this season, when in the past we have been there quite a bit,” Goodale said. “We’re excited to be back there and hopefully can get a good crowd, but it’s just another match. Let’s get after it.”
Being that the Dragons are also in the EIWA conference, this last match will be the last dual-competition factor to play a vital part in seeding for the tournament.
Goodale knows not to overlook Drexel before entering postseason play.
“It’s an EIWA match, so this is huge. [I told the team], ‘Don’t lose one you’re not supposed to lose,’” Goodale said. “We are probably going to be seeded ahead of these guys at almost every weight class. We can’t give up those seeds, so these are important matches.”
For some, the last matches leading up to postseason could prove vital. They are the culmination of some grapplers’ entire season.
For junior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro, he might be heating up at the right time. The Long Branch, N.J., native came away with a 5-4 decision against Lock Haven in the Knights last dual-meat.
“I’ve pretty much trained hard the whole year. It’s just some matches it wasn’t really coming together. But lately, I feel like I’ve been pushing just that much harder and it showed in the last match,” Visicaro said. “I think the win gave me confidence and it is something I can keep building off of, this week, next week and the week after, all the way leading up to the EIWA’s. And hopefully I can get to the National Tournament like last year.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.