Sophomore streaks into match with top-five foe
Dan Seidenberg says it took him some time to readjust to wrestling every weekend. Workout partner Scott Winston believes it took Seidenberg some time to figure out what works at the college level.
Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale has another theory.
“Honestly, I think he probably got tired of getting beat on a little bit,” Goodale said. “Last year he got beat on a little bit, early this year he got beat on a little bit. Now he’s the man [at 184 pounds] so there’s expectations of being in the lineup, so he has to step up his game a little bit.”
Seidenberg has in recent weeks.
He redshirted last season, meaning the beatings Goodale says he took came in the practice room with partners Winston, Mario Mason and Dan Rinaldi, each of whom spent significant time as ranked wrestlers.
Then Seidenberg took over as the Scarlet Knights’ 184-pounder to start the season. He won his first two matches, then lost five in a row.
The final loss came in a dual meet against Old Dominion’s Billy Curling.
“He wasn’t competitive,” Goodale said of the match. “He couldn’t get off the bottom, couldn’t breathe out there.”
Seidenberg faced Curling again last weekend at the Virginia Duals.
“He totally dominated in every position,” Goodale said.
The redshirt sophomore turned a 5-1 loss Dec. 3 into a 5-1 decision that is part of a six-match winning streak. Curling’s point was the only one scored against Seidenberg in Virginia, where he won four matches by a combined score of 22-1.
“Lately I’ve been going out there and forgetting about winning and losing, just scoring points,” Seidenberg said. “The wins have been falling into place.”
He will need that mentality Friday at Lehigh, where he will face last year’s runner-up at 184 pounds in the NCAA Tournament, Robert Hamlin.
Hamlin started this season as the top-ranked wrestler in the weight class, but sits at No. 4 now after dropping a 2-1 decision to No. 3 Steve Bosak of Cornell.
“We’re a little undermanned, but you can’t think that way,” Goodale said of Rutgers’ matches at 184 pounds and heavyweight. “I’ve seen crazier things happen, you just have to give yourself an opportunity. That’s the focus with those guys: Give themselves an opportunity, keep themselves in the match and you never know.”
Seidenberg shares the sentiment, saying he will take the mat at Stabler Arena embracing the experience and unconcerned about the result.
That is the same mindset he took into each of his past few matches, though.
“[Goodale] doesn’t want us going out there to win or lose, he just wants us constantly going, never letting up at any point of the match,” Seidenberg said. “If you’re constantly on top, constantly pushing the pace, you have nothing to worry about.”
Seidenberg’s best wrestling of late has been on top.
Goodale believes it is Seidenberg’s best position and told him to stress it, refusing to allow any opponents to escape. None did in Virginia, where Goodale says Seidenberg also turned every opponent onto their back, picking up near-fall points.
“He’s wrestling really good,” Goodale said. “He’ll probably have the nothing-to-lose mentality, which can be good. He can wrestle free with no anxiety, no pressure, just wrestle hard. That can be dangerous. But he can’t go out there in survival mode. He has to take it to him and wrestle the way he’s been wrestling.”