Perrotti earns All-American status following major decision
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Rutgers wrestling team waited over 12 years, head coach Scott Goodale waited eight seasons and the Scarlet Knights have waited their whole lives to have another Knight be crowned an All-American.
A matchup with Nestor Taffur of Boston University would stand in the way of Anthony Perrotti earning his All-American status.
With a reversal and a near fall in the second period, Perrotti took a 4-2 lead entering the third period.
The four-point second period gave Perrotti the lead that he would not surrender.
A 10-2 major decision would ensure Perrotti’s spot on the podium, the first for Rutgers in 12 years and the first under head coach Scott Goodale.
The matchup against Taffur was the third one of the season for Perrotti — Taffur had won the two bouts prior.
To say the match held significance for Perrotti would be an understatement in more ways than one.
“The third time’s a charm. I wrestled him twice this year,” Perrotti said before being congratulated and tackled by senior Vinnie Dellefave. “I had two heartbreaking losses to him. So what a better way to finish, beating him and being named an All-American,”
The match would hold equal, or greater, importance for head coach Scott Goodale.
The win solidifies his vision for the program and shows it is geared in the right direction.
“It’s good for Rutgers wrestling and Anthony Perrotti. He’s a program-type kid and he put in a lot of work,” Goodale said. “There’s a lot of people that doubted what we were doing and [New Jersey] is a really tough state to wrestle in. Hopefully we get some people off our back.”
Perrotti would not be done for the second day of competition.
He would have the opportunity to advance to the top of the consolation bracket if he kept winning.
If Perrotti were to keep winning, it would be the difference between a third or fourth seed, or a seventh or eighth seed.
The Roseland, N.J., native would find himself wrestling against second seed Derek St. John of Iowa.
Perrotti would take it down to the last second, but St. John would narrowly earn the 6-5 decision.
St. John nearly dropped the bout after Perrotti scored a takedown with five seconds and was unable to collect any back points.
After a challenge by Goodale, it would be confirmed that Perrotti did not collect a near fall.
The effort put forth by Perrotti justified assistant coach Frank Molinaro’s confidence in the sophomore.
The success is a testament to the effort put forth by Perrotti, according to Molinaro.
“He has worked extremely hard since the day I got [to Rutgers] and to today. He has come a real long way. He earned it,” Molinaro said. “He wrestled as hard as he possibly could. The biggest thing that we can take away from it is that it just goes to show that hard work and discipline, and doing the right things, will get you to where you want to go. We’re proud of him and he has taken the pressure off of the program single-handedly.”