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It was not the most comfortable situation when Anthony Ashnault faced Tyson Dippery last weekend in the Clarion Open. “It was awkward,” Ashnault said. “As teammates, it’s always kind of weird when you wrestle.” The freshman 141-pounders wrestled to a 4-3 decision in favor of Ashnault, one of the many tests Dippery will face this season wrestling unattached.
Freshman 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault will will be one of Rutgers’ redshirts to compete in the Binghamton Open.
When the Rutgers wrestling team took the mat last weekend in Hempstead, N.Y., 10 wrestlers donned their singlets for the first time this season. All were ready except for senior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave, who wore street clothes with a wrist injury. “It is just a ligament sprain in the wrist,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “It won’t heal itself, but with rest, scar tissue will build around it and stabilize it. We don’t want to push him to return too quickly since it is a long year.”
Senior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave sat out of Rutgers’ 22-21 victory Sunday against Hofstra. Redshirt freshman Sean McCabe took over, avoiding a major-decision loss, which allowed Rutgers to win a tiebreaker.
A season full of agony because of a shoulder injury left Rutgers wrestling senior Daniel Seidenberg with an important decision to make. He had to either go through with surgery on his shoulder, or rehab extensively and avoid the average recovery time of four-to-six months needed after the procedure. Seidenberg chose the latter.
Head coach Scott Goodale said 184-pounder Dan Seidenberg “is too valuable” to lose because of injury.
Senior 184-pounder Dan Seidenberg experienced an injury-plagued campaign last season. Seidenberg chose rehab instead of surgery and is one of only two seniors returning for Rutgers this season.
Heavyweight Billy Smith did not realize the significance when he pinned Hofstra’s Michael Hughes. “I wasn’t really thinking about that,” Smith said. “All week long I knew we needed bonus points up top, we talked about it with the coaches and stuff. Once the match started going I didn’t really think about it.” The pin in the 5:17 mark of the heavyweight bout gave the Rutgers wrestling team a 2-1 advantage in pins.
Redshirt fresman 174-pounder Phillip Bakuckus, right, collected a 3-0 decision for the Knights Sunday against Hofstra. The win was one of four straight for the Knights against the Pride.
Junior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro, right, dropped his bout to Hofstra’s Joe Booth, 11-7, which was one of five individual Rutgers losses.
Junior 165-pounder Nick Visicaro is one of just three NCAA qualifiers returning this season for the Rutgers wrestling team. In his first full season in head coach Scott Goodale’s lineup, the Long Branch, N.J., native posted a 15-11 dual record en route to making the NCAA Championships. The taste of qualifying is not enough for him. “Last season didn’t really go as planned on a personal standpoint,” Visicaro said.
“Murderer’s row” was not supposed to continue in college. “Honestly, I have no idea [how this happened],” said freshman 133-pounder Corey Stasenko. “This was not supposed to happen at all.” The nickname, given to the lineup of Stasenko, Anthony Ashnault, Scott DelVecchio, Dylan Painton and Troy Heilmann at South Plainfield (N.J.) High School, symbolized the five’s career dominance for the Tigers.
One by one, eight wrestlers from each weight class navigated up the podium March 23 in the darkness of the Wells Fargo Arena. In all, the PA system announced 80 names at the 2013 NCAA National Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, as 17,000 screaming voices echoed off the walls. Then-junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellafave was not even in the building to hear the noise that night.
Vincent Dellefave barely raised his voice last season when the Rutgers wrestling team featured eight seniors. Those guys — which included four NCAA qualifiers — are all gone now, leaving the Toms River, N.J., atop the Scarlet Knights’ roster in terms of seniority. “I don’t really talk to much,” said Dellefave, who is one of just two seniors for Rutgers. “So when the guys started asking me stuff and I have to start being vocal, it’s a little out of my game.”
Redshirt freshman 174-pounder Phillip Bakuckus will be one of potentially four new starters when Rutgers takes the mat Sunday at Hofstra. Head coach Scott Goodale said Bakuckus has improved from last year.
Sophomore heavyweight Billy Smith is one of three returning NCAA qualifiers for Rutgers. Smith posted a 17-3 dual record last season.
Wrestle-offs serve as a way of seeing how wrestlers measure up to each other for the season. For the Rutgers wrestling team, wrestle-offs showcased its new freshman class. Nine true freshmen competed for the first time in a Scarlet Knights uniform Saturday morning at the College Ave. Gym. Rookie 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault, the nation’s seventh-best grappler out of high school, headlined the 13th-best recruiting class in the nation, according to InterMat.
Freshman 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault, bottom, attempts a move on sophomore Ken Theobold on Saturday.
In the media room of the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Feb. 24 — after the Rutgers wrestling team’s 34-0 loss to Penn State — senior 157-pounder Scott Winston was asked where he felt the program would be in five years. “I think we’ll be national champions. I really believe that,” Winston said. Before the Scarlet Knights can worry about having their first national championship in program history, head coach Scott Goodale is just focused on producing the Knights’ first All-American since 2002.
DES MOINES, Iowa – In the tunnels of the Wells Fargo Center on Friday night was the podium where the top-eight wrestlers in each weight class stood upon the following night when crowned All-Americans. Head coach Scott Goodale stood close by — a metaphor that represents the Rutgers wrestling team’s distance from just competing at the National Championships to having one of their own stand among the top.