Rutgers explodes in commanding win with bonus points
The way things started for the Rutgers wrestling team this season, one would expect things to be closer than they actually were against Hostra.
Four of the first five bouts going into the intermission were decided in the final period or in the final seconds.
But that’s all that it was for the Scarlet Knights: close in the first five bouts.
Coming out of intermission, the Knights exploded for a flurry of bonus points led by junior 165-pounder Ethan Orr, who got things going with a win by fall at the outset of the second period.
The Pride’s Nick Terdick took down Orr in the first period. When the second period started, Orr chose down and immediately earned an escape.
When Terdick went back to his move he used earlier in the bout, Orr was ready and credited his hips to the pin.
“He hit me with a throw-by in the first period and took me down. So, then we went into the second period — and I was feeling good — so I got out right away [with an escape],” Orr said. “He got in on another shot and I just felt like I had better hips than him, so I rolled and I ended up on top.”
Orr’s fall started a four-match slate coming out of intermission that resulted in bonus points for Rutgers, giving the Knights back-to-back falls, followed by a tech fall by Anthony Pafumi at 184 pounds and a major decision at 197 pounds by Hayden Hrymack.
And a burst of bonus points is rare coming out of the lull of intermission, according to head coach Scott Goodale. Goodale was quick to credit the resilience of Orr, who lost his spot at the beginning of the season and grappled due to an injury in the lineup.
“You don’t expect that,” Goodale said on coming out of intermission with a string of bonus points. “What Ethan Orr did for this team — he was going to the East Stroudsburg Open to wrestle at 174 — and then we had an injury, so he came in and got to work. He’s a team player and that was huge for us.”
While all the bonus points excited in the second half of competition, the first five bouts held their own enthusiasm. Rutgers shot out to a 12-3 lead prior to going back to the locker room, but it wasn’t an easy four decisions.
Junior Ken Theobold dropped his decision at 149 pounds, while the matches at 133, 141 and 157 pounds were all decided in the final period after each grappler trailed.
Redshirt freshman 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault 16/19/20/14 (Intermat/TheOpenMat/WIN/AWP) was not himself today, by his own admission. But he would rebound in a big way.
Ashnault was tasked with wrestling No. 18/16/16/24 Jamel Hudson, and the match more closely resembled a faux wrestling league.
A head-butt bloodied Ashnault, then dust from the clear stitches got in his eye. A comeback ensued for the South Plainfield, New Jersey, native after he was taken down three times in the first two periods.
Ashnault recorded two takedowns in the third period, and a near-fall as time expired to earn the comeback 10-7 decision against Hudson, which allowed the entire College Avenue Gym to rise to its feet.
“I was really tentative in the first period — I didn’t take any attacks. I didn’t feel like myself,” Ashnault said. “The third period came around and it was like I had to score. I needed three points and it was time to go, and I just kept going. I was a little nervous, but once I got my movement going and got to my one shot, I knew I was better than this kid and could take him down.”