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Senior duo’s bond aids in title goals

<p>Senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi rides Rider’s Clint Morrison during Sunday’s match. Rinaldi won by decison, 4-0, for his second win of the night.</p>

Senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi rides Rider’s Clint Morrison during Sunday’s match. Rinaldi won by decison, 4-0, for his second win of the night.

Senior 184-pounder Dan Rinaldi best described the relationship he and 174-pounder Greg Zannetti share.

“It’s a huge bromance going on. We catch a lot of heat for it,” Rinaldi said laughing. “Me and him are really close, so we have a good thing going.”

Zannetti echoed the same feeling.

“Once we got here, we started hanging out,” Zannetti said. “We just got along well. It’s just worked.”

Rinaldi and Zannetti met before they were even members of the Rutgers wrestling team when both attended a clinic held by head coach Scott Goodale in South Plainfield, N.J.

“We started wrestling there, and I could tell he was a great wrestler and even a better person,” Rinaldi said. “So right away we just hit it off well.”

Goodale and the rest of the program joke around with both about their friendship, but Goodale knows how valuable they are to each other.

Goodale said both train year round together, which allows them to avoid distractions that could affect how they perform on the mat.

“They are two kids who love to train,” Goodale said. “They like to wrestle and don’t get caught up in the night life here — it is not that important to them. They are very, very good people and are the type of kids you want to bring around your family.”

Rinaldi and Zannetti agreed that their ultimate goals are to win a national championship.

The goals continue in the right direction thanks to their performance in the early portion of the Scarlet Knights schedule.

Both are ranked in their respective weight classes, according to Amateur Wrestling News — Zannetti the No. 10 174-pounder and Rinaldi the No. 13 184-pounder.

They also hold identical individual records this season at 14-1.

In dual meets, Rinaldi credits Zannetti’s consistency in securing victories for his success, as Zannetti wrestles before Rinaldi.

“Him going right before me, he is always going to put up points and is going to win a lot,” Rinaldi said. “It is always good seeing him have success on the mat, and it kind of rolls onto me a little bit. Seeing your best friend doing well gives you a little extra pep.”

The support system extends to the bench, where both take seats next to each other to offer tips on each other’s performances.

“We just try to keep it light,” Zannetti said. “In the match, if something is going on, we help each other out and keep each other calm. If one of us is getting nervous, the other one will be there to say ‘take it easy.’”

Goodale’s mentality is to take each match one step at a time.

But the thought of both sharing hardware in March at the NCAA Championships is something he knows would be special for both.

If it happens, their bond will be a big reason why.

“They are both very hungry to win,” Goodale said. “Greg talks about winning the national title, so they train. … They are both motivated to win. One does not let up if the other loses. They’re tight.

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow Bradly Derechailo on Twitter @BradlyDTargum.

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