Dellefave duplicates at-large selection for NCAAs
At the 2013 EIWA Championships held at the Louis Brown Athletic Center, Vinnie Dellefave drew the top seed at 133 pounds but was disappointed in finishing third, needing an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
At this past weekend’s EIWA Championships, Dellefave started out with less recognition given to him than the year before, drawing a fourth seed at 133 pounds.
The senior took his first decision by a score of 5-3 and followed it up with a 4-3 first tiebreaker victory to advance to the semifinals.
“[The tiebreaker victory] was a barnburner, and I was trying to stay as calm as I could with the coaches going nuts in the corner. I knew if I kept wrestling I would win the match,” Dellefave said after his first day of competition. “[With] 2-0 so far in this tournament and no losses … I’m excited to keep moving forward and make it to the tournament.”
Although he made it to the semifinals, he would find himself fighting for the top of the consolation bracket similar to a season ago.
Dellefave dropped his semifinal bout, 2-1, against top-seeded Mason Beckman of Lehigh.
After regulation, two sudden victories and the first tiebreaker would not decide the match, as Dellefave and Beckman entered the second round of tiebreakers.
Beckman started down and escaped to go up, 2-1. Dellefave started down after that, but could not find his way out of Beckman’s hold.
While the fourth-place result was worse than the previous year, Dellefave still feels the same disappointment and hopeful optimism that he would retain an at-large bid.
Dellefave waited three days after the conference tournament to find out his fate.
Yesterday at 5 p.m., Dellefave learned that he had qualified for the NCAA Tournament on an at-large basis.
The feeling was satisfying for the ultimate goal of making it to the podium, the fifth-year senior said.
“It feels great. You have to be in it to win it, so I am happy that I made it,” Dellefave said after being selected.
The selection for Dellefave was justified for head coach Scott Goodale.
“It is great for Dellefave to get in. He had some really big wins during the course of the season and proved that the regular season does matter,” Goodale said. “Now the expectations for him are to go there and place.”
After a successful season and a more productive conference tournament, Dellefave was not too worried about the selection.
After having to wait to find out, the 23-year old was composed no matter the outcome.
“I wasn’t really too worried. Everyone else — all my family and coaches — they were stressing out over it and asking what I was thinking,” Dellefave said. “I was playing it cool. If I got in, then I got in, but if I didn’t then there’s always another plan for me. I wasn’t too nervous, but I’m happy to make it.”
An at-large bid was not the worst thing for the Toms River, N.J., native.
“It’s just another way to get in. You definitely want to qualify on your own,” Dellefave said. “But I’m not going to complain. I got my second wildcard, so I guess I have some pretty good luck.”
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports.