Food for thought: Reflecting on Rutgers' 12th straight winning season with Goodale
Under head coach Scott Goodale, the Rutgers wrestling team had secured 12 straight winning seasons and bolstered five All-Americans since he took over the helm in 2007.
After the No. 18 Scarlet Knights (12-6, 5-4) secured 6 of 10 bouts against Maryland in College Park, Goodale can now add the 2018-2019 season to his resume of increased success on the Banks and the All-Americans number will likely increase in March.
This season, Rutgers has the opportunity to send several wrestlers to the NCAA Championships in Pittsburgh. No. 1 graduate student 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault and No. 4 junior 133-pounder Nick Suriano are among the most notable Knights that have the potential to advance in March.
Before getting ahead to March, it is important to recognize that this Rutgers team has only surpassed a .500 conference dual record twice prior to the start of the past season.
Here are several takeaways from the Knights’ fifth season in the Big Ten conference and what the long road in March has in store for the team.
Wrestling is different from other collegiate sports in that a student athlete can be with a team for over four, sometimes five years. This allows for the wrestler to leave an impact on the program while inspiring the underclassmen to commit to the program’s expectations.
This season, three of Rutgers’ veteran wrestlers will finish their careers on the Banks. Aside from Ashnault, No. 16 graduate student 157-pounder John Van Brill and 184-pounder Nick Gravina have consistently been the go-to guys for Goodale in the starting lineup.
Van Brill, a two-time national qualifier, has surpassed 70 wins and compiled a 17-11 overall record this season. He finishes his time on the Banks with a 71-45 record after earning a technical fall over the Terrapins’ Adam Whitesell.
But, Van Brill’s last regular season dual bout wasn’t handed to him. Thirty seconds in, while leading 3-2, the consistently ranked top-20 wrestler sustained a cut to his forehead in the first period.
He proceeded to outscore Whitesell 17-0 in his second technical fall of the season. Despite having a hot-and-cold trend of trading wins and losses in his final year on the Banks, Van Brill has continued to cement himself as someone Goodale can rely on.
Gravina was unable to start the season due to shoulder surgery but battled through his final road Big Ten match, handedly defeating Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski in a 8-0 major decision. The win was his fourth of the season, as he has only competed in six matches for the Knights.
Goodale had also moved up junior 174-pounder Willie Scott up to take Gravina’s 184-pound spot throughout the season but can see more time next season.
The Allendale, New Jersey native finished his career on the Banks with a 75-34 record. He could make a run in the NCAA Championships, given that he qualifies, as he collected two wins at last year’s NCAA's.
The arrival of true freshman 165-pounder and Bound Brook, New Jersey native Stephan Glasgow to the Banks is just one prime example of how Goodale has recruited more local wrestlers to compete for the Garden State’s Big Ten school.
Goodale has been impressed with Glasgow’s athleticism, leading the coach to start him in the season’s first stretch of matches at the Rutgers Quad Meet.
In front of the Rutgers faithful’s 4,242 numbers at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC), Glasgow exceeded expectations by delivering a pin on Centenary’s Haakon Mathewson in his first match donning the Knights’ singlet.
After starting his first season 5-1, Glasgow suffered a leg injury and was inserted in and out of Goodale’s lineup. He did not travel with the team when they competed on the road against Indiana and Purdue back on Feb. 8 and Feb. 10.
Despite finishing with a 6-7 record, Glasgow has a bright future ahead of him and can potentially be ranked at 165 pounds further down the road in his career.