Fifth-year senior Gravina hopes to lead Knights into top 10 nationally
Over the last five years, Rutgers University has seen many things change, but there has been one specific thing that’s been a constant, the will and power of the wrestling team's 184-pounder Nicholas Gravina.
The fifth-year senior has spent his college career with the No. 11 Scarlet Knights (3-0, 1-0) building both his resume and the resume of the growing program. Gravina was ranked No. 10 overall in his weight class in the preseason and is still holding on to that spot after beginning the season 3-0.
“I think we’ll be way better than last year and it’s going to be a good all-around experience,” Gravina said. “I think we’ll be a top-10 finish, and I think we have the potential to be top five by just doing what we’re doing.”
The son of Vincent and Stacey, and brother to Deb, Ashley and Iliana, Gravina grew up in Allendale, New Jersey where he was a four-time district, region and county champion at Northern Highlands Regional High School.
Gravina produced a 148-12 record over his four years, capturing NHSCA All-American honors during his freshman and junior years.
“Right now I look at the film of myself and just try and look at some technique for myself to be a better wrestler,” Gravina said.
After redshirting his first year on the Banks, Gravina ended his freshman campaign with a 7-4 record overall and a 4-3 dual mark. Gravina went 3-0 in his first piece of action at the Rutgers Duals and placed second at the Wilkins University Open with a 3-1 record.
Gravina improved significantly in his sophomore season, improving in his second time around with a 22-11 overall record and 13-4 mark in duals. After coming in fourth at the Big Ten Championships, Gravina went 0-2 in his first NCAA Championships appearance.
Once he added an extra win for a 23-11 overall record, Gravina powered his way through the Big Ten Championships, coming in ninth place to secure an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships.
Gravina captured a seeded victory over Chattanooga’s No. 15 Bryce Carr and went 3-2 overall at the NCAA Championships, making it through to the round of 12 before his season came to a close.
In the first match of this season, Gravina came out a bit slow in front of the High Point Solutions Stadium crowd and eventually found himself locked up with Maryland's Jaron Smith.
As the grappling continued, Gravina’s shoulder was dislocated and the match was stopped. After his coaches tended to him and his trainer popped the shoulder back into place, Gravina immediately got up and waited at the center of the mat, his eyes as unmoved as stone.
“I’ve dislocated my shoulder a bunch of times, I think it’s happened probably like five times in matches all of which but one I kept going through,” Gravina said. “The immediate feeling is just trying to get it back in and when it finally went in, I was like 'alright now I gotta make this up, I gotta do it.'”
Gravina came back from the early deficit and defeated Smith 10-4 to secure his first victory of the season. Gravina went on to capture two more victories last weekend against Oklahoma and Virginia, giving him another 3-0 start to the season as he looks to move up the 184-pound rankings and bring Rutgers into the top 10 as soon as possible.
The three wins captured so far this season for Gravina give him a 55-26 overall record so far in his career, as well as a 31-12 record in duals and an 11-8 record in Big Ten matches.
“I’m super excited about this season,” Gravina said. “It’s going to be a fun one.”
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