Continued success at premium for Rutgers

<p>Senior heavyweight DJ Russo (top) has delivered two consecutive
victories for Rutgers via pinfall in the final bout.</p>

Senior heavyweight DJ Russo (top) has delivered two consecutive victories for Rutgers via pinfall in the final bout.

Rutgers wrestling head coach Scott Goodale has spoken all year about the peaks and valleys that his team would have to go through this season. This week, the Scarlet Knights will begin their preparation for the season's highest peak.

In the final week of their 2008-09 campaign, the Knights will try to improve its already school best 20-5 record by wrestling Drexel Wednesday and Bloomsburg Friday.

"We should start the peaking phase now," Goodale said. "I think they're wrestling really, really well, but right now we need to start peaking. So I'm looking for all 10 guys to do a good job this week."

RU's dual meet Wednesday will be their first Wednesday match of the season. Goodale is hoping the conditions will simulate what his wrestlers will face in March.

"It's important for our guys to be able to make weight in back to back days and still perform at a high level," Goodale said. "That's what [the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association] and the national tournament are all about, so that's why we set it up this way."

The preparation will be especially beneficial for all four Knights currently on the verge of an NCAA Championship bid. As each of them have never been to the national tournament, they are using this week to get a taste of what the conditions on the biggest stage in college wrestling might be like.

"It is important that we finish our dual meets on a high note," said senior Matt Pletcher, who is currently No. 28 in the country at 165 lbs. "I'm not about cruising into the national and EIWA tournaments├č."

Other Knights, such as sophomore heavyweight DJ Russo, are hoping their late season surges will help them wrestle their way into the National Tournament through the EIWA Tournament.

Wrestling-wise, RU will be seeing a Drexel team that they beat 21-15 at the Lock Haven Duals on Dec. 14.

While the wrestling will be tough, it will be nothing like what the Knights have faced and beaten in the last two weeks against American and Navy.

"We just want to work out some of the kinks," Goodale said. "We want to wrestle at a high level, and we want to maintain our weight."

Of course, after watching his team overachieve week after week this season, Goodale knows that wrestling at a high level has yet to a problem for his team.

In fact, he thinks his team his team is right where they should be heading into the seasons final week.

"I do," Goodale said. "We're 20-5, we've beaten some teams that, probably, we shouldn't have beaten. And it's a pretty good feeling in our wrestling room right now. We think we should win every time out. So I'm excited with where we are."

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