Rutgers sweeps opposition, finishes duals undefeated
The Rutgers wrestling team has high expectations for this season.
With two All-Americans already on the roster, the No. 18 Scarlet Knights hope that more wrestlers can capture that title in the overall quest to become a top-10 program. One of the wrestlers that the Knights believe has All-American potential is redshirt freshman Anthony Giraldo.
Giraldo began his Rutgers wrestling career by competing in the second match of his team’s season opener. The blue-chip prospect wouldn’t have to stay on the mat for long as he captured a dominating first period 18-0 technical fall victory. The impressive start to Giraldo’s career was indicative how the Knights began their 2015-16 campaign.
Rutgers (3-0) dominated its debut performance with a clean sweep of the second annual Rutgers Duals by a total tally of 131-0. In all three meets that the Knights competed in at the College Avenue Gymnasium on Sunday, they did not concede a single match.
“That was our goal all week. We didn’t want to lose a match,” said senior 165-pounder Anthony Perrotti. “Coming out here and beating teams 40-nothing, it’s exciting. Get the season off on the right foot, no one’s got a loss under their belt … Definitely what we wanted.”
Rutgers began the quad-meet with a 46-0 victory against Division III opponent Centenary. The biggest highlight of the match was Giraldo making his debut and picking up his first victory in impressive fashion.
Giraldo won his next two matches as well.
“It feels great. I love putting the 'R' on my chest,” Giraldo said. “Going out for the first time was exciting, it was something special.”
The Knights then went on to record their second shutout of the day with a 47-0 victory over Division I foe Franklin & Marshall.
The meet featured the most anticipated matchup of the day with two All-Americans in the 141-pound weight class pitted against each other, with No. 8 Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers going up against No. 9 Rick Durso of Franklin & Marshall, according to rankings on InterMat Wrestling.
In what turned out to be the highest-intensity match at the Rutgers Duals, Ashnault took down Durso with a 7-1 decision victory.
“I felt pretty good,” Ashnault said. “I still feel like I could’ve put more points on the board, but I definitely felt really dominant and I feel like it’s a good way to start the season … Six-point win, that’s huge. I think I opened some people’s eyes to how good I can be. Still moving forward and trying to get better everyday, but it was definitely a good start.”
The meet with Franklin & Marshall featured two debuts for the Knights.
First, Richie Lewis made his Rutgers debut by capturing a victory by way of pin fall.
The junior college transfer from Iowa Central set the tone for a familiar face in a new place.
It was also the debut of All-American senior Anthony Perrotti wrestling at the 165-pound weight class. Perrotti, who previously wrestled at 157 pounds, followed up Lewis’s performance with a pin fall victory of his own. Hayden Hyrmack also tallied the Knights’ third pin fall of the round.
The most competitive matchup of the quad-meet for Rutgers overall was their final one of the day against Division I opponent Binghamton.
Although the Knights shut out the Bearcats by a score of 38-0, the individual matches had much closer scores than the previous two meets. In this meet, Perrotti recorded his second pin fall of the afternoon. Rutgers will see Binghamton again this Sunday in their next meet at the Binghamton Open.
Overall, head coach Scott Goodale was satisfied with the way his team completely swept a quad-meet that contained a number of close matches.
“There were a lot of close matches, which I think is really good for us this time of the year. It’s what we wanted,” Goodale said. “That Binghamton team, they’re going to be good down the road — it’s a very young team. So I like the way we won some close matches — I thought that was really, really important. Still got a lot of work to do, still got a lot of work to do.”
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