Rutgers takes down Maryland in dominating Big Ten opener at High Point Solutions Stadium
The Rutgers wrestling team got off to a hot start as it rolled through Maryland, taking the Terrapins down by a score of 27-9 on Saturday at High Point Solutions Stadium.
From the onset, the energy exuberating through the stadium was all the No. 12 Scarlet Knights (1-0, 1-0) needed to get going. That energy only grew once sophomore 125-pounder Nick Suriano stepped onto the mat and won by technical fall with a score of 24-7, giving Rutgers a quick 5-0 lead over its visitors.
“I mean the energy was through the roof," Suriano said. "I had a ton of support behind me, I felt it.”
For No. 12 Suriano, it was also his Knights wrestling debut and a long-awaited homecoming for the Paramus, New Jersey native who transferred from Penn State.
Despite the new environment — Suriano’s first experience wrestling outdoors — his game plan never changed, as evidenced by his score.
“(It was) great, I mean, that’s what I expect — to dominate,” Suriano said. “I train so hard. I train at a high level, high pace. I was just getting started in the third honestly, but the people here are what motivated me, and I feel it out there.”
After Suriano’s quick start, fifth-year senior 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio kept Rutgers’ momentum going with a dominating win of his own by a score of 11-5, to put the Knights up 8-0.
Redshirt freshman 141-pounder Michael Van Brill tried to keep the shutout intact but ultimately fell to No. 14 Ryan Diehl in a nail-biter, 10-9.
But Van Brill’s teammates would pick him up with three straight wins to put the match to bed early. Fifth-year seniors, 149-pounder Eleazar DeLuca and 157-pounder Richie Lewis, as well as Van Brill’s older brother junior 165-pounder John Van Brill, all cruised to victories with scores of 10-4, 13-4 and 15-0, respectively, giving Rutgers a commanding 20-3 lead.
“I just love our team this year man,” No. 8 Lewis said. “It’s easy to be excited when you’re around people who have great energy and do the right things.”
The Terrapins’ Josh Ugalde upset junior 174-pounder Jordan Pagano with a score of 8-3, perhaps the Knights' most disappointing loss of the dual, especially for No. 16 Pagano.
Rutgers popped right back up though, once fifth-year senior 184-pounder Nicholas Gravina stepped onto the mat.
Early in the first period, No. 10 Gravina suffered a dislocated shoulder after falling in an early 2-0 hole. After his trainer popped the shoulder back in, Gravina finished the match by outscoring Maryland’s Jaron Smith 10-2 and earning the victory.
“It was awesome just because it’s a huge switch in team points,” Gravina said. “If I were to not have continued, that’s 6 points to Maryland, but since I continued to wrestle the match (and won) it was 3 points for us so that’s a 9-point switch right there so I was really happy about it.”
The dual concluded with a convincing 11-2 win by Knights' redshirt freshman 197-pounder Kevin Mulligan and a tough 7-1 loss by senior 285-pounder Razohnn Gross.
“Good win, good start to the Big Ten season opener,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “Let’s just keep getting better moving forward and that’s what we’re gonna do, that’s what we plan on doing.”
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