RU struggles in Friday action in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA — Although seven Rutgers wrestlers advanced to the second day of the NCAA Championships, things fell apart quickly Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.
Sophomore Joe Langel won two bouts before falling in the consolation bracket to Virginia's Matthew Snyder to end his season.
Senior Darryl Cocozzo also won a pair of matches, but the 10th-seeded 157-pounder lost to Johnny Greisheimer — a sophomore at Edinboro, where Cocozzo wrestled before joining the Scarlet Knights.
Sophomore Dan Rinaldi lost in the consolation bracket after falling to Lehigh's second-seeded Robert Hamlin for the third time this season. Rinaldi wrestled the national runner-up close, but fell in a 3-2 decision.
"You can't put the guy in any better spot — tied at one, in on a single leg late in the match," head coach Scott Goodale said of Rinaldi. "You can't relax. I don't know if it's immaturity or not believing. I look at that match, and I think it's a feeling of not believing you can win there. The kid's got his number, but you can't be in a better spot."
In addition to Cocozzo and heavyweight DJ Russo, senior Alex Caruso saw his career end in Philadelphia. The Lehigh transfer lost two bouts but advanced one round due to a forfeit by Lehigh's No. 11 seed Austin Meys in the consolation bracket.
Meys beat Caruso in a February dual meet but also forfeited in the EIWA Tournament.
Three New Jersey wrestlers won national titles wrestling for Michigan, Nebraska and Lehigh.
Blair Academy product Kellen Russell won the 141-pound title for Michigan, Nebraska's Jordan Burroughs won his second national title and first at 165 pounds, while Hopatcong product Zach Rey won the heavyweight title for Lehigh.
Burroughs previously won a title at 157 pounds but moved up a weight class and dominated the competition, including Rutgers sophomore Scott Winston.
"New Jersey wrestlers are always the laugh in the Midwest, saying New Jersey is the greatest wrestling state in the nation, but we turn out champions year after year," Burroughs said.
The Winslow Township product hinted former Rutgers football commit Andrew Campolattano could join the Cornhuskers.
The Bound Brook senior won four state titles, is the top-ranked wrestler at 215 pounds and de-committed from the Rutgers football team to pursue wrestling.
Penn State won the national team title and had three representatives in the championship bouts, but Arizona State was the only team with two champions.
Coaches voted Anthony Robles as the Tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler after he capped an undefeated season with a 125-pound title.
Robles became a fan favorite for his success despite being born without a right leg, but teammate Bubba Jenkins provided an equally intriguing story.
Penn State head coach Cael Sanderson, who won four national titles and an Olympic gold medal, told Jenkins to transfer from PSU, and the Sun Devil pinned Nittany Lion freshman David Taylor in the championship bout at 157 pounds.
"Not towards David. Definitely towards Cael," Jenkins said when asked if it was personal. "He didn't think I was good enough or the right kid to win it … and he got rid of me. One man's trash is a whole country's treasure."