Hole at 197 remains unfilled

<p>Junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenburg missed the Knights’ last four matches, but will return to the starting lineup Friday. He has gone 4-6 in dual meets this season after wrestling at 184 pounds the year before.</p>

Junior 197-pounder Dan Seidenburg missed the Knights’ last four matches, but will return to the starting lineup Friday. He has gone 4-6 in dual meets this season after wrestling at 184 pounds the year before.

With three weeks to go before the start of the EIWA Tournament, Rutgers head wrestling coach Scott Goodale said the biggest thing he wants to see is consistency throughout the lineup.

The emergence of junior 133-pounder Vincent Dellefave and redshirt freshman heavyweight Billy Smith has provided for some, but injuries and spotty performances have the Scarlet Knights facing questions late in the season.

One position that needs to be addressed is at 197 pounds, where Dan Seidenburg has appeared with irregularity.

The junior can credit most of that to what Goodale calls a “shoulder problem,” an injury that has been bothering Seidenburg all year.

“Yeah, I’m not going to lie, it does get real frustrating,” Seidenburg said. “Going out there and getting hurt 30 seconds through the match and then having to battle through it, but you kind of just have to deal with it.”

The scenario was evident during the Knights’ 17-16 victory against Lehigh on Jan. 18, when Seidenburg fell to the Louis Brown Athletic Center floor in pain early in his match against the Mountain Hawks’ John Bolich.

The Red Bank, N.J., native finished with only a 4-2 loss, but Goodale decided to rest Seidenburg in the Knights’ last four matches.

Freshman Hayden Hrymack filled in for Seidenburg, but his inexperience has shown.

Rutgers went 3-1 in those matches, but Hrymack has a 0-4 record during that span, surrendering two pins and a major decision along the way.

Goodale has been clear he likes to give his younger wrestlers time to develop, but Seidenburg’s injury has forced Hrymack into the lineup.

With the EIWA Tournament fast approaching, Goodale understands the importance of a healthy Seidenburg in a starting role.

“When he’s in there, he has been solid, but he hasn’t been in there enough,” Goodale said. “He has had periods where he has been out of the lineup and can really help us. For us to do well in that tournament and these next three meets, we need to do something at 197, and he understands that. If he can win up there, it would be huge for us.”

Seidenburg has gone 4-6 in dual matches this season, but showed his value to the lineup during Rutgers’ winter break West Coast trip. He went 2-1, with his only loss coming against Arizona State’s Jake Meredith, then the No. 7 wrestler in his weight class.

“He needs to be healthy and wrestling well to have confidence,” Goodale said. “He has to do it, and time is running out. There has got to be a point where he has to wrestle through these injuries, and we need to get the most out of that weight.”

Goodale said the short-term goal for the Knights is to win the EIWA Tournament, held on campus for the first time in program history.

A factor in doing so lies with Seidenburg’s performance in the next three weeks of the regular season.

“For an individual and team standpoint as well, it is really important,” Seidenburg said. “It is very important for me to do well at that weight. That’s why I am really focused at trying to get healthy. If I go in there feeling healthy and feeling good, then I’m confident I can do really well and surprise a lot of people.”

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

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