Rutgers hosts first quad at home in season opener
This will be the first time in years that the Rutgers wrestling team hosts a quad meet at home, and the first time many of the Scarlet Knights’ grapplers have wrestled in one since high school.
But with the shift in conferences from the EIWA to the Big Ten and a renewed mindset overall after head coach Scott Goodale’s first All-American, things are changing around for the Rutgers program.
So with the Knights set to host the Rutgers Duals this Sunday, it offers a chance for a few new things to the start of the season. But most importantly, it offers a chance to wrestle someone who is not wearing the same singlet.
“I haven’t wrestled a quad meet since high school. It’s going to bring back the high school days memories,” said sophomore 174-pounder Phil Bakuckus. “I’m pretty pumped to actually wrestle three matches and get in the zone a little bit instead of just wrestling one match and being done. I can keep going, work on my moves a little bit and get better. I’m looking forward to it.”
Still, as exciting as it is to grapple with another program for the first time in a season — in the case of Sunday, Rutgers will wrestle against three Division III programs — it still serves in other ways, too.
While the wrestle-offs are exciting and offer a chance to prepare for dual-competition in a sense of weighing in, planning the day and scrapping in front of a crowd in a way that training in the wrestling room cannot still falls short in the realm of competition.
When going up against a teammate, wrestlers become anxious and may hold something back, head coach Scott Goodale admitted about the wrestle-offs. But he said this Sunday brings a whole different atmosphere.
“It’s another chance to get down to weight, and it’s not a stressful situation — it’s three dual-meets against three Division III schools,” Goodale said. “I think it will get our guys the opportunity to wrestle some other people and not just put them right in an open tournament — which, believe it or not, can be a meat grinder. We felt our guys were getting beat up by that, so we just wanted three dual-meets where they are guaranteed three matches and just get ready for the season.”
The three schools that will come to New Brunswick this weekend are Centenary, Delaware Valley and Stevens Institute of Technology. Rutgers will have the opportunity to wrestle all three schools at various times during the day at the College Avenue Gym.
“The Barn” will have two mats, as opposed to the usual one-mat setup. The Knights will wrestle Centenary at 10 a.m., Delaware Valley at noon and Stevens at 2 p.m.
With all three dual-meets going on in one day, junior 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti is optimistic to open up the season on a high note against some lower-caliber opponents.
“It’s going to be important, a nice tune up and we can wrestle in front of some fans,” said junior 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti. “We can get used to going out on the mats and wrestling another opponent. I think it’s going to be pretty fun and it’s going to be good. We’re looking to win all these matches, every single one of them.”
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