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No. 15 Rutgers makes statement with dominant 24-12 win at No. 18 Oregon State

<p>Nicholas Gravina all but secured No. 15&nbsp;Rutgers' 24-12 win over No. 18 Oregon State. The sophomore 184-pounder won a 5-3 decision to propel the Knights to a 21-6 lead and advance his overall record on the year to 6-1.</p>

Nicholas Gravina all but secured No. 15 Rutgers' 24-12 win over No. 18 Oregon State. The sophomore 184-pounder won a 5-3 decision to propel the Knights to a 21-6 lead and advance his overall record on the year to 6-1.

Last week, the Rutgers wrestling team rose to No. 15 in the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll to tie its highest placement in the rankings in four seasons.

Following their performance in Corvallis, Oregon, over the weekend, the Scarlet Knights might expect a further climb up the national polls.

The Knights (7-1) had secured their third consecutive victory ranked-opponent victory before the final two individual matches against No.18 Oregon State had even taken place. Rutgers finished on the plus side in 7 of the 10 individual matches, scoring bonus points in three of those wins, on its way to a dominating 24-12 victory over Oregon State. Their three wins against ranked opponents this season ties a high-mark for the Knights in head coach Scott Goodale’s nine-year tenure.

In their second, and final, match of the dual meet, the Knights handily defeated Utah Valley, 30-9.

“A lot of fight, man. A lot of fight, a lot of hustle,” Goodale said. “We came out west, it was a business-trip type attitude and they showed up and they wrestled hard. We won a lot of close matches, we beat a lot of good guys, scored a lot of points, which is exactly what you want your team to do. We’re pretty fired up about it.”

Junior 125-pounder Sean McCabe dropped the first match of the day in a 6-3 decision to No. 10 Ronnie Bresser, which put Rutgers in an early 3-0 hole. 

But that was the only time the visitors trailed the Beavers. 

In the following match, redshirt-freshman Anthony Giraldo defeated Joey Palmer at 133 pounds in a 12-2 major decision to give the Knights their first lead of the day and they never looked back.

After each team traded the next two bouts, junior Richie Lewis, senior Anthony Perrotti and junior Phil Bakuckas won three consecutive decisions for Rutgers. Sophomore Nicholas Gravina followed up those three victories with a 5-3 decision win of his own to give the Knights a 21-6 lead, securing a victory over Oregon State with still two matches to go.

Senior Hayden Hyrmack won Rutgers' fifth consecutive match with an upset, 5-3 decision win over No. 15 Cody Crawford in the 197-pound class.

“Feels good — big to go out on the west coast, with the whole time difference and able to go out there and wrestle our best,” Hyrmack said. “We were able to go out there and fight, show how we do in practice and get some big ‘W’s.”

The Knights’ second match of the dual meet against Utah Valley was very similar to the first. The only time Rutgers trailed in the match was after dropping the first individual bout, but used bonus points in six of their seven individual victories for another lopsided win. Sophomore Anthony Ashnault and Lewis each secured their second victories of the duals to move to 7-0 on the season and remain as the only undefeated Knights.

“These are just things that are excepted of us,” Lewis said on dominating against an opponent. “We go out there, and it’s all apart of the preparation and apart of the training. We had a little break in between, which was a little different, but you go out there and you wrestle tough and you wrestle consistent good things will happen.”

Rutgers had the opportunity to take down yet another ranked opponent next weekend at the “Grapple at the Garden." The Knights hit the mats against No. 8 Cornell and George Mason at Madison Square Garden. 

Sunday’s dual meet in New York City will be the Rutgers’ final tune-up before it begins Big Ten conference competition.

“We just got to keep getting better,” Goodale said. “It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon the season, and we just got to keep getting better week to week. Our guys get fired up for these dual meets, and we know Cornell is a great program. They’re probably ranked fifth in the country, so it’s a great opportunity for us at Madison Square Garden and we’ll be up for it and we’ll wrestle extremely hard.”

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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