No. 12 Rutgers easily handles No. 19 Oklahoma, Virginia at Journeymen Duals
Knights take 14 of 20 matches on day, defeating Sooners, Cavaliers by almost identical scores
The Rutgers wrestling team started off the season with quite the statement, as it has its eyes on crossing into the top-10 rankings as soon as possible. The No. 12 Scarlet Knights (3-0, 1-0) showcased that thirst on Saturday, as they defeated two teams on the same day.
Rutgers faced a powerful No. 19 Oklahoma (1-2) who seemed no match for its stacked lineup. The Knights defeated the Sooners, 22-9, after winning seven of the 10 matchups on Saturday morning.
Shortly after, Rutgers matched up with Virginia (0-2) for another bout, seeing a very similar 21-9 result, sweeping the Journeymen Duals and remaining undefeated in the early season.
The Journeymen Duals were held at Shenendehowa High School in Clifton Park, New York.
A familiar sight kicked off the day’s matches for the Knights, as No. 2 sophomore 125-pounder Nick Suriano gained the first-match victory. Suriano kept Oklahoma’s Christian Moody in tap for the majority of the match and came out with the 4-2 victory to get Rutgers off to a good start.
Rutgers proceeded to rattle the competition with three straight victories from there, at the hands of No. 12 fifth-year senior 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio, freshman 141-pounder Michael Van Brill and fifth-year senior 149-pounder Eleazar DeLuca. The trio combined for a 27-10 point line, giving the Knights a 13-0 lead out of the gate.
“Overall, I thought we wrestled really well,” DelVecchio said. “That first matchup against Oklahoma felt really good. We had a tough match against UVA, but we showed a lot of heart pulling it out.”
Junior 165-pounder John Van Brill, fifth-year senior 184-pounder Nicholas Gravina and senior heavyweight Razohnn Gross added the three remaining victories for Rutgers over a solid Sooners squad that just couldn’t handle the Knights' deep roster.
Rutgers switched its focus to the Cavaliers in the second dual of the day and saw very similar results all around. Suriano, DelVecchio, Van Brill and DeLuca opened things up again with four straight victories from the first whistle, giving the Knights an early and comfortable 12-0 lead.
Gravina and Gross were able to sweep their competition in their second matches as well, but John Van Brill was injured during his match and ultimately lost 9-2. Freshman 197-pounder Kevin Mulligan secured his second victory of the season against Virginia’s Jay Aiello, giving the Knights another 7-3 matchup win.
“I think we wrestled really tough today,” Gravina said. “I know our coaches are expecting us to go out there and meet up with teams and do as well as we did. So that was super exciting to see everybody show their skills out there and put up a good effort.”
DelVecchio moved up Rutgers' all-time win list after Saturday’s two victories, as his 66 wins are now good for 43rd all-time.
Both team victories were significant ones for the history of the wrestling program at Rutgers. Saturday was the first victory over Oklahoma since 2014 and was also the second all-time win overall against the Sooners, who now hold a 7-2 record against the Knights. Rutgers tied the series with the Cavaliers at four wins apiece after Saturday’s triumph.
The Knights will try to remain undefeated as they move on to the Army Invitational in West Point, New York next Saturday.
“We’re just trying to keep it rolling, cause it’s always a great feeling to win,” Gravina said.
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