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Lehigh victory highlights winter break action

<p>Senior Scott Winston takes down Iowa State’s Logan Molina in the Knights’ 19-15 loss to the Cyclones on Jan 11.</p>

Senior Scott Winston takes down Iowa State’s Logan Molina in the Knights’ 19-15 loss to the Cyclones on Jan 11.

One of the biggest benefits Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale said the team received during winter break was rest.

Goodale gave the team nine days off when finals began, a decision he felt it needed to combat the effects of a long season.

“It was important,” Goodale said. “Ever since [assistant] coach [Frank] Molinaro arrived, we have been at it since the summer with the plan. We have been on the mat for six months straight with not much of a break, so to get away from it for nine days was good.”

The Knights put their rest to good work, going 7-2 during break while remaining undefeated in the EIWA at 6-0.

In front of their home crowd at the Louis Brown Athletic Center on Friday, the Knights took down previously ranked Lehigh, 17-16, to give Goodale his first win against the Mountain Hawks as head coach. The win was also the first time Rutgers defeated Lehigh since 1950.

Beating Lehigh was one of Goodale’s personal goals.

“We’re all human,” he said. “You hear the people talking about not being able to defeat Lehigh or being able to win a big match, so it’s something I really wanted to do. It’s been personal.”

Rutgers completed the break this weekend with a sweep of Harvard and Brown.

“I’ve just been trying to get better every day, that’s the goal,” Winston said. “That’s been the goal the past couple of years. We need to keep on a straight arrow and believe what coach [Goodale] is putting us through. We need to continue to get better individually and as a team.”

Rutgers suffered a loss to Iowa State, 19-15, after returning from a three-match road trip.

The streak began with a 1-1 dual split at the Grapple at the Garden event Dec. 16 at Madison Square Garden thanks to Nebraska. Rutgers lost its match with the Cornhuskers, 22-10.

Despite the loss, Goodale said it was natural for the team to see losses at this point in the season.

“We didn’t wrestle great there, but I don’t think much has changed,” Goodale said. “We stuck to our plan and our process and trying to peak at certain times in the season. There’s peaks and valleys, and we certainly want to be good at this time of the season.”

Rutgers traveled to California after New Year’s, arriving in the Golden State for matches against CSU Bakersfield, Arizona State and Stanford. The Knights had little trouble with each school.

Senior 157-pounder Scott Winston saw the trip as an opportunity to train in a different atmosphere.

It also did not hurt that the Jackson, N.J., native went 3-0 in his three matches and was one of three wrestlers to go without a loss during the trip.

“I could have done some things better, but it was good to get out there, and it was fun,” Winston said. “We did a lot of traveling and got to see the beach right next to the mountains, so that’s cool. We saw some different campuses out there. It was a great experience.”

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

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