September 22, 2019 | 69° F

Major decision sparks Knights against Rider

Photo by Alex Van Driesen |

Junior 165-pounder Scott Winston, top, scored a takedown on Rider’s James Brundage with 7.7 seconds left in the third period, giving the Jackson Memorial High School product two points and major decision. The Scarlet Knights won the next three bouts.

LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. —Head coach Scott Goodale’s yelling reminder emanated through the otherwise mellow Alumni Gymnasium in the closing moments of junior Scott Wintson’s 165-pound bout. The No. 16 Rutgers wrestling team faced a two-point deficit midway through its match with Rider.

It looked to regain the lead as Winston clung to a seven-point lead in his bout with 7.7 seconds on the clock.

Goodale’s shouts of “We need a major” from the Rutgers bench soon followed, and a last second takedown by Winston gave him the points he needed for a major decision.

The Scarlet Knights (5-1) ran away with the match with victories in the next three bouts, besting Rider, 21-12, in a day’s sweep of New Jersey programs.

“It’s what we’re stressing: scoring points late in matches, scoring points at the end of periods. When you get your hammers to do it, everybody else has got to follow,” Goodale said. “Those are our guys. [Mario] Mason scored late for a major, Winston for a major, [Greg] Zannetti for a major. That’s huge, and that’s what we’re stressing. We have to continue doing it.”

For Winston, the match was a matter of showing Rider which school ruled supreme in the state.

“I’ve been fired up about this match all week,” he said. “You hear a lot of these guys saying they can hang with us [and] beat us. I really don’t believe it, and I don’t see [Saturday night] how they think that.”

Junior 174-pounder Zannetti was already plenty motivated prior to his matchup with Rider’s Jim Resnick, but watching Winston score late likely provided an extra spark. Resnick, ranked No. 11 by Intermat, marked yet another ranked foe for Zannetti to take down.

Zannetti did so convincingly, scoring an 11-3 major decision on a last-second takedown following Winston’s momentum swinging bout.

The Edison, N.J., native and onetime Rider recruit had some fits in the opening two rounds, when a disputed call sent assistant coach John Leonardis to the scorer’s table to argue a point. Goodale quickly called Leonaridis back to the bench to allow Zannetti to do his work.

“I knew [Resnick] was getting tired,” Goodale said. “When Greg gets his motor running and he starts feeling confident, that’s going to happen. I didn’t want to stop that match. John, more so than anyone, understands that.”

A major decision by junior 149-pounder Mason earlier in the match gave Rutgers a 7-6 lead before Rider’s Ramon Santiago handled redshirt freshman Anthony Volpe in the 157-pound bout.

But four bouts later with two major decisions, a decision and a double-overtime victory, the Knights erased any questions concerning who would win the match.

A stalling call on Clint Morrison in the 184-pound bout brought the score to a tie and gave sophomore Dan Seidenberg new life and a subsequent 5-3 win. Junior Dan Rinaldi did not favor suspense in the next bout, defeating Rider’s Donald McNeil in the 197-pound match.

“We were winning all the close matches basically because our endurance is better,” Seidenberg said. “I think we were out-conditioning the other teams, so going into that overtime I had that thought in my mind.”

The Knights handled Route 1 rival Princeton to start their day. Rutgers dropped only two bouts in the contest and coasted to a 29-7 victory, highlighted by three major decisions and a Mason tech-fall victory.

“It’s been great. Mason’s a leader, he’s training. It’s the way he’s training and the way he’s preparing,” Goodale said. “He’s got bigger goals in mind, for sure. That’s what we expect out of him, for sure.”

Beside the trash talk Winston heard earlier in the week, he said he also overheard Goodale’s screams for a major decision with less than eight seconds in his bout.

But Winston can tune out the noise after another season of New Jersey dominance. He certainly does not need to say anything else.

“They’re good teams, but we want to smack these teams up pretty good,” Winston said. “Put it in everybody’s head that this is Jersey’s team — you come and support us.”

By Anthony Hernandez

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