Goodale uses flurry of wrestlers to lead Rutgers to sweep
In its first regular season event, the Rutgers wrestling team put on a show for its home fans at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC), sweeping Centenary, Fresno State and Johnson & Wales on Saturday.
The No. 13 Scarlet Knights (3-0) posted 16 wins on bonus points. Six wrestlers combined for a total of 10 pins on a day where the team’s largest victory was by 45 points.
In its wins over the Cyclones and the Wildcats, two Division III programs, Rutgers combined to outscore its opponents 86-11. Centenary sent two wrestlers to the NCAA Division III Championships, while Johnson & Wales sent seven.
By defeating the three visiting teams, head coach Scott Goodale is one win away from tying former head coach John Sacchi for the most in program history.
Here are three takeaways from the team’s first weekend of the 2018-19 season:
Ashnualt’s crowd-pleasing performance
After the announcer bellowed his name for the first time since the 2016-2017 season, No. 2 graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault won by a fall against Centenary's Logan Long 9 seconds into the match, as the RAC crowd roared in approval of his long-awaited return to the mat.
The South Plainfield, N.J. native missed all of last season due to knee and shoulder injuries but has started the season on the right foot. Ashnault won all three of his matches, including a fall in a win over the Bulldogs’ Khristian Olivas, who qualified to last year's NCAA Championships, to give the Knights a 27-6 over Fresno State.
His wins make him tied with Rick Romeri for 19th in program history with 94 career wins. Ashnault contributed to 3 of Rutgers’ 10 pins, leaving no impression of having underwent surgery earlier in the year. It will be interesting to see how Big Ten opponents face him when the conference dual meets start in January.
Transitioning from high school wrestling to college wrestling is oftentimes overlooked. There is a certain level of mental preparedness that is required to start a wrestlers’ first season. True freshman 165-pounder Stephan Glasgow and freshman 197-pounder Max Wright shined in their first matches as Knights.
Glasgow, who was ranked No. 5 at Bound Brook High School (NJ), started against all three of Rutgers’ opponents in the event. In his first match as a Knight, he defeated the Cyclones’ Haakon Mathewson in three periods, ending with a fall to give the team an early 6-0 lead. Glasgow also defeated the Bulldogs’ Brandon Martino with a takedown in a gritty 3-2 decision.
Wright captured an 8-4 result in his first match against the Cyclones. He was subbed out against Fresno State for sophomore 197-pounder Matthew Correnti but made his way back into the starting rotation, defeating NCAA Division III qualifier Michael DiNardo from Johnson & Wales.
Freshman 141-pounder Robert Cleary also earned his first victory on the Banks by defeating Centenary’s Cameron Buffy to give the team a 42-0 lead. Keep an eye on Glasgow and Wright, as they hope to continue their impressive starts to their collegiate careers.
Goodale went with several different wrestlers in each round of Rutgers’ three matches. Some, like Ashnault, junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano and Glasgow retained their weight classes’ starting role for the day. But, numerous Knights stepped up in the heavyweight and middleweight areas.
Senior 184-pounder Jordan Pagano started twice against Centenary and the Bulldogs but was then subbed out for junior 184-pounder Willie Scott. Scott defeated the Wildcats’ Khamri Thomas 12-0, a major decision, to give the Knights a 14-0 lead in their last meet.
Senior heavyweight Ralph Normandia was switched in for junior heavyweight Christian Colucci, who went 1-1 on the day. Normandia captured a 4-0 victory against Johnson & Wales’ London Leka. Goodale changed up the middleweight lineup, as well.
After starting Cleary in the day’s first meet, sophomore 141-pounder Michael van Brill was inserted in the lineup against Fresno State. He picked up a major decision, contributing to a 21-6 Rutgers’ lead.
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