Rutgers takes 2 victories in California


After sending some of its student-athletes down Route 1 South for the Princeton Open two weekends ago, the Rutgers wrestling team embarked on a two-day trip to California to take on Fresno State and California State Bakersfield.

Returning to the dual slate, the Scarlet Knights (5-0) allowed 13 and 12 points to the Bulldogs (0-4) and the Roadrunners (0-3) en route to a road sweep, their first appearances away from the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC).

The last time Fresno State wrestled against Rutgers, the Knights came out victorious with a 24-point victory at last season's home quad meet in Piscataway. This time, the Bulldogs secured more individual wins on their home court.

No. 19 fifth-year senior heavyweight Christian Colucci started the weekend off with a major decision over Fresno State's Randy Gonzales. The win was 1 of 2 victories for Colucci, who also took down California State Bakersfield's Jarrod Snyder in a tight 3-2 outing. 

Redshirt freshman 125-pounder Nicolas Aguilar made his anticipated debut in a scarlet and white singlet. Aguilar, a Gilroy, California native, took down the Bulldogs' Robert Garcia IV for his first career fall. 

Aguilar's match against Garcia IV was the only time he would take the mat. Redshirt freshman 125-pounder Malcolm Robinson appeared at the lowest weight class on Saturday against the Roadrunners, defeating Alejandro Hernandez-Figueroa in an 8-2 victory. 

No. 20 true freshman 133-pounder Sammy Alvarez, who jumped into the national rankings after defeating two ranked opponents in Troy, New York, earlier this month, split his two matches over the weekend. He handled Fresno State's Gary Joint 9-1 before Chance Rich of California State Bakersfield pinned him on Saturday. 

True freshman 141-pounder JoJo Aragona suffered his first collegiate defeat at the dual meet level over the weekend, losing to DJ Llehman 4-2. Aragona did not compete in the second event, as junior 133-pounder Zach Firestone wrestled up a weight class to take his spot against the Roadrunners.

Firestone lost 18-12 to Angelo Martinoni on Saturday. Against California State Bakersfield, Rutgers won by 12 points en route to a 24-12 victory.

Redshirt freshman 149-pounder Gerard Angelo captured a major decision against No. 18 Russell Rohlfing. Fifth-year senior 184-pounder Willie Scott wrestled in place of junior 174-pounder Joseph Grello's place, who was injured during the RU Quad Meet during the first weekend of November. Scott captured a technical fall over Josh Annis of the Roadrunners.

Scott also wrestled on Friday, but lost to the Bulldogs' No. 15 Jackson Hemauer in the 174-pound weight class. 

Junior 157-pounder Michael Van Brill and redshirt freshman 184-pounder Billy Janzer secured 2-0 records over the weekend. Van Brill, who wrestled at 141 pounds last season, defeated Jacob Wright of Fresno State and Wyatt Gerl of California State Bakersfield. 

Janzer held the Bulldogs' Dominic Kinkaid without any points en route to a 4-0 win. The Elk Township, New Jersey native also scraped by the Roadrunners' Josh Loomer in a 1-0 win. 

Janzer started the season with three consecutive wins at the quad meet back on Nov. 2 at the RAC. He had a major decision, a win by forfeit and a regular decision win in his first appearance this season.

Junior 197-pounder Matthew Correnti, who was a national tournament qualifier back in 2017, defeated Dom Ducharme of California State Bakersfield. No. 15 graduate student 197-pounder Jordan Pagano, who also competed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, beat Fresno State's Ryan Reyes 1-0. 

Pagano bolsters a 4-1 record while Correnti is unbeaten through four matches. Pagano missed the majority of last season due to injury and is wrestling in his final season of eligibility. 

The Knights will head down I-95 to participate in the Navy Classic in Annapolis, Maryland. Rutgers did not compete in the Navy Classic this past season. The last time the Knights wrestled at a service academy was during the 2017-18 season, when they traveled to West Point, New York, for the Black Knight Invitational.


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