June 18, 2019 | 65° F

Dellefave reflects on successful career, life after wrestling

Photo by Noah Whittenburg |

Senior 133-pounder Vinnie Dellefave lost the last two bouts of his career at the NCAA Championships. Dellefave leaves Rutgers after going 13-10 during his senior season, tallying an overall record of 58-37 for his career. Dellefave said he looks forward to life after wrestling.

Facing the NCAA Championships tournament top-seed at 133 pounds last Thursday in Oklahoma City was not ideal for senior Vinnie Dellefave, nor was coming in as the last at-large bid qualifier.

Dellefave was just happy to be in the competition, he said prior to the tournament. Whether it was an at-large or automatic qualification, it did not matter.

“It’s just another way to get in,” Dellefave said following his at-large selection. “You definitely want to qualify on your own, but since I got a wildcard I must have some pretty good luck directed at me.”

The tournament did not go as planned for Dellefave.

One-seed Joe Colon of Northern Iowa sent Dellefave to the consolation bracket early on the first day of competition.

Colon used three takedowns to aid in his 9-1 major decision over Dellefave.

After his championship first-round loss, Dellefave had to wrestle into the consolation bracket against Devon Lotito of Cal Poly.

After an early takedown and near fall in the first period from Lotito, Dellefave was unable to recover, ending his tournament and dropping a 6-1 decision.

Although he did not have had his best tournament, Dellefave is not the kind of person to stay upset or pity himself.

The fifth-year senior put the whole tournament into perspective.

“You know, it is bitter sweet [to have my season ended],” Dellefave said. “But I didn’t have my best tournament. This tournament is crazy.”

Although Dellefave may not have had the season he hoped — finishing with a 13-10 record, after compiling a 27-10 record his junior season — he proved more valuable to the Rutgers wrestling program than his win-loss record indicated.

Head coach Scott Goodale coached Dellefave for five seasons, and has known him even longer.

Goodale reflected on Dellefave’s career and impact on the Scarlet Knights’ program.

“[His career] had a lot of ups and downs. He had a really good junior season, a tough senior year, but he’s been a huge part of what we’ve been doing,” Goodale said. “He’s been here for five years and been a part of some big dual-meet wins and some big tournaments. He’s just a super kid, and we are going to miss him for sure.”

Dellefave has repeatedly made it clear he is not going to pursue any sort of wrestling career following his time at Rutgers.

With no Olympic, amateur or mixed martial arts career on his mind, Dellefave is not worried. He feels prepared for life after wrestling.

“I’m just looking towards the next thing in life, whatever the next phase of life might throw at me,” Dellefave said. “I’m going to tackle [the next part of my life] as hard as I tackled my last five years here at Rutgers. So, I’m going to heal up, get my surgery done and look forward to the next thing that life throws at me.”

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Tyler Karalewich on Twitter @TylerKaralewich. For general Rutgers sports updates, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

By Tyler Karalewich

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