Suriano, DelVecchio highlight historic Championships for Rutgers
When the final whistle blew at the end of the 125-pound title match at the NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio on Saturday night, the approximately five-month season for the Rutgers wrestling team came to a close.
The Scarlet Knights entered the ultimate tournament in the sport with six wrestlers, and left with two All-Americans, a championship match appearance and the best team finish in program history.
Here are two major highlights from the NCAA Championships last weekend.
Suriano suffers first loss of the season at worst time possible
Sophomore 125-pounder Nick Suriano entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 4 seed after finishing the season as the No. 1 ranked wrestler at 125-pounds, but dropped out of the Big Ten Championships in the semifinals due to a medical forfeit.
Suriano entered the championships with a 20-0 regular season record and didn’t slow down once he made it to Cleveland. Suriano rattled through the competition for four consecutive wins to bring him to the 125-pound title match, which guaranteed him at least second place — already the highest finish in Rutgers history.
After taking out No. 1 seed Darian Cruz of Lehigh, 2-0, Suriano was met in the championship match by No. 3 seed Spencer Lee of Iowa, who had just defeated No. 2 seed Nathan Tomasello of Ohio State. Suriano just didn’t look the same in the title match, compared to the rest of the season and even the prior matches at the championships.
There was no attack out of him, just the typical head bobbing, pushing and arm wrap ups that usually separated Suriano from the field. At the end of the first period, Lee secured a takedown on Suriano for the first points given up over the weekend. After trading reversal points out of the bottom position at the start of the second and third periods, Lee got one more takedown as the two scrambled on the ground for a few rolls before the whistle finally blew.
Even though this was Suriano’s first loss of the season, all was not lost. Suriano walked away as the NCAA runner-up in the entire nation, as well as an All-American, nothing to be down on oneself about.
Last weekend was Suriano’s first championships appearance after being unable to participate due to another injury last year, so this was really his first go around even though it was his second year.
DelVecchio caps off his career on high note
After an up-and-down season that saw him move in and out of the top-20 wrestlers in his weight class, fifth-year senior 133-pounder Scott DelVecchio qualified for the NCAA Championships but came in unseeded.
After dropping the first match of the championships to No. 14 seed Korbin Myers of Edinboro, DelVecchio went on a tear in the wrestlebacks. DelVecchio ran through the competition, winning five straight matches — two by falls — to reach the semifinals.
DelVecchio met fellow unseeded opponent Tariq Wilson of North Carolina State in the semifinals and was just one win away from the third-place title match, but Wilson brought his momentum from the main tournament with him into the wrestlebacks.
Wilson defeated DelVecchio by a 13-3 major decision after he defeated No. 4 seed Kaid Brock of Oklahoma State before falling to No. 1 seed and eventual national champion Seth Gross of South Dakota State.
Despite the loss, DelVecchio walked away from the sport as an All-American for the first and final time of his career. With his come-from-behind win over No. 7 seed Austin DeSanto of Drexel clinching his All-American status, DelVecchio became just the fourth Knight since 1979 to go from being unseeded to an All-American.