By: David Bugen
This month we have a new columnist for the SKWC newsletter. Dan Seifring will be writing a monthly column discussing Wrestling Around the Country. Dan is know to many of us a New Jersey wrestling fan, a Rutgers Wrestling season ticket holder, and a SKWC NCAA Level member and Pin Pool donor. What many may not know is that he provides the D1 weight class conference rankings for Flowrestling and is partner for the D1 website www.wrestlestat.com. WrestleStat is a great free resource for D1 wrestling fans.
Dan’s initial column provides an overview of three of the eight conferences that are represented in D1 wrestling. Please reach out to Dan with your thoughts and suggestions for future articles. He can be reached at [email protected].
This month John Welch illustrates the importance of family. We are building a strong SKWC/Rutgers family among fans, parents, donors, students, educators and wrestlers. John understands the importance of family and how a tight knit wrestling family helps our athletes succeed on and off the mat. John leads the way toward ensuring the Rutgers wrestling family is not for college days alone.
John is Co-Chair of the SKWC Membership Committee, a retired educator and renowned high school wrestling coach. He is a member of the NJ Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the USA Wrestling Officials Association. At Rutgers, John was the Captain of the 1966 wrestling team. At most home matches, you can meet John at the SKWC table at the entrance to the RAC. Please don’t hesitate to contact John at [email protected].
This year Rutgers will receive a modest allocation for NCAA Tournament tickets. If you are unable to acquire tickets, the SKWC is conducting a RAFFLE to win tickets. The first prize is two Tickets in a Suite with Rutgers fans and a four-night hotel stay in Pittsburgh. Second prize is two tickets in the Diamond Section with access to a special guest area.
RAFFLE Tickets will go on sale in early January. Please look for an email announcing how to purchase RAFFLE tickets. The value of the tickets, suite, and hotel exceeds $7,000. All ticket proceeds above $7,000 will benefit the SKWC. For additional information, please contact Doug Dolan at ddo[email protected] or Harry Turner at [email protected].
Please reserve May 3rd for our inaugural NJRTC Casino Night. We are partnering with our Princeton friends to celebrate the recent success and growth of the NJRTC. The NJRTC provides a major recruiting advantage for Rutgers and Princeton as our NJRTC athletes seek to make World and Olympic Teams. It will be a night of fun, networking and you feel as if you were at a Las Vegas Casino. Perle in New Brunswick will be location for the Casino Night. Please contact Gary Rudow at gary[email protected] for sponsorship opportunities or with questions.
In addition to our victory over Rider, the match resulted in two important achievements. Coach Goodale for becoming the All-Time Winningest Wrestling Coach in Rutgers history and Nick Gravina return to the mat was recognized on one of the Top 10 Performances for the week by theopenmat.com. Coach Goodale earned his 167th career win following the Rider match. Our coach and his colleagues have clearly built the Rutgers brand. Nick’s return from what was thought to be a career ending injury was an inspiration to all fans. Congratulations to Coach Goodale and Nick Gravina!
In closing, on behalf of our student-athletes, coaches, resident athletes, and SKWC Board Members, thank you for your continuing support. May everyone enjoy a healthy and happy New Year and a great holiday season!
By: Donny Pritzlaff
Head Coach – SKWC
Associate Head Coach – Rutgers
December 23rd, 2018
As usual, last Sunday was an awesome environment inside the RAC. Our students and staff appreciate all the love from the Rutgers faithful. Our marketing and promotions staff along with our loyal fan base have truly made our home matches a special environment.
Suriano and Ashnault continued their stretches of bonus point victories and both electrified the crowd as they demoralized their opponents. As a coach, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing your athletes take the mat with supreme confidence and dominate every second! Anthony and Nick are clearly on another level and it’s the task of our staff to raise their teammates up to a similar standard.
Prior to the match Anthony Ashnault was honored for being the 17th wrestler in Rutgers history to surpass the hundred-win mark and post-match Coach Goodale was celebrated for becoming the all-time winningest head coach in Rutgers wrestling history surpassing former coach John Sacci with 167 career dual meet wins.
Sunday was a historic day for the Rutgers program. Six of the ten matches were decided by two points or less. In four of those matches our hand was raised so we are doing a good job of winning close matches but our staff would like to see our students separate themselves and score more points. When we put nearly 5000 fans inside our arena we don’t want the action to be limited. We want to put out a product where the fur is flying and our athletes are hustling relentlessly to score points and be exciting. We have some work to do and are not quite there yet!
The crowd was electrified when 184 pounder Nick Gravina took the mat. Gravina looked a touch rusty at the start but settled in nicely and one a hard fought 3-2 match. It was refreshing to see the 6th year senior take the mat and our loyal fans definitely showed him some love. The biggest win of the day came by way of Willie Scott who wrestled his former high school teammate at 174 pounds. Trailing 6-2 in the third period, Willie was able to secure riding time and a 4 point nearfall as time expired and win the match 7-6. The crowd broke out into a frenzy and this all but secured the team win!
Next up for the Scarlet Knights is a trip to Wilkes Barre, PA on Saturday the 22nd for the Rose Bowl of wrestling and then a week later at the Midlands Championship in Chicago, Illinois. We still have not settled our lineup from top to bottom so both of these events will be used as ranking competitions and development tournaments for our red-shirts and starters.
Please enjoy your holiday and have a very Happy New Year. We look forward to seeing you at the RAC in 2019 as we take on an awesome schedule. Six home dual meets left to see our Senior class compete!
Stay Tuned to our website at www.scarletknights.com/wrestling and you can follow Rutgers Wrestling on twitter @RUWrestling
Red Team Up Stream!
The Landscape of Division 1 NCAA Wrestling
By: Dan Seifring
This is my initial article for the SKWC newsletter. As we have a diverse fan base that includes seasoned wrestling veterans as well as fans who are newer to the Division 1 (D1) landscape, my first column provides a general overview of college wrestling today.
D1 wrestling consists of eight conferences with a total of 75 teams. The breakdown of teams within a conference is as follows: ACC (6), BIG 10 (14), BIG 12 (12), EIWA (16), EWL (7), MAC (8), PAC 12 (5) and SoCon (7). Rutgers wrestles in the BIG 10 conference that is unquestionably the most competitive wrestling conference. Some have stated that it is the most competitive conference of all NCAA sports. In addition to Rutgers, New Jersey has two other D1 wrestling programs. Princeton wrestles in the EIWA and Rider who competes in the EWL.
In addition to the current D1 programs, California Baptist and Long Island University are transitioning from D2 to D1. Two other colleges will be adding D1 teams in 2019-20. They are Presbyterian College who will be joining the SoCon and Little Rock who at this time has yet to announce its conference affiliation.
The balance of this column focus on three conferences: the ACC, the Big 12, and the EIWA.
Recently the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) has had increasing success in producing All Americans at the NCAA tournament. The top two teams in this season are projected to be NC State and Virginia Tech (VT). The top wrestlers for NC State include # 6 ranked Sean Fausz at 125 pounds, #4 ranked Tariq Wilson at 133 pounds, #4 ranked Justin Oliver at 149 pounds, #5 ranked Hayden Hidlay at 157 pounds, and #3 ranked Nick Reenan at 184 pounds. As a team NC State is ranked #4 in the country. While not as strong as NC State, VT brings some firepower from New Jersey natives David McFadden ranked # 6 at 174 pounds and Mehki Lewis ranked # 9 at 165 pounds. VT also has # 6 ranked Zachary Zavatsky at 184 and #8 ranked Billy Miller at heavyweight.
When discussing Big 12 wrestling the discussion begins and ends with Oklahoma State and their head coach John Smith. Oklahoma State has won a record 34 NCAA D1 Championship trophies. Rutgers fans will get to see Oklahoma State battle Rutgers at the RAC on January 13th. Every wrestler on the team is ranked in the top 20. So Rutgers will have its hands full when battling Oklahoma State. Seth Gross, a two-time NCAA finalist and returning 133 pound national champion from South Dakota State, will present a major challenge for Nick Suriano at the NCAA tournament.
The Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) returns National Champion Yianni Diakomilhalis at 141 from Cornell. Also ranked # 1 at 149 pounds Matt Kolodzik from Princeton. Matt and Anthony Ashnault have split their prior four bouts. Potential EIWA All Americans include Glory and Brucki from Princeton, Kutler and Wood from Lehigh, Dean from Cornell and Caywood from Army. There are a number of good EIWA wrestlers out with injuries. If they return, more All Americans can be expected. The EIWA team title should come down to Princeton, Lehigh or Cornell. At the current time Lehigh and Cornell are dealing with significant injuries that could open up the door for Princeton to stake a claim to the title.
Billy G’s Corner
By: Billy Garbarini ’63
SKWC Board Member
Last month it was reported that the SKWC successfully met the $30,000 challenge by hitting $2,500 per pin for the pin pool. The second part of the challenge was that we needed to have 250 supporters join the SKWC. Happily I can report that as we have 301 members and $2,678 pledged for the pin pool. With 32 pins through December 16th, including the $30,000 Challenge Grant, we have raised over $140,000 for the SKWC. This will provide the resources to engage world-class resident athletes for next year. Great job RU fans and supporters and much appreciated.
In mid-November RU traveled to Troy New York for the Journeymen Duals. Rutgers opened the with a strong win over Appalachian State by a score of 26-9. Led by our two “hammers”, Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault, with a forfeit and tech fall, respectively, the Knights pulled away to a decisive win. Shane Metzler started off with a victory followed by wins from Stephan Glasgow, Joe Grello, Jordan Pagano and Christian Colucci. Next up was Utah Valley and RU had a lackluster effort and was soundly defeated by a score of 24-14 for their first dual meet loss of the year. RU started the match in fine style with Shane Metzler scoring a major decision followed by a major decision by Nick Suriano. Anthony Ashnault had a fall against ranked Matt Ontiveras to make the score 14-6 as it looked like RU was on its way to another victory. However, the wheels came off the bus as the team lost the next 6 bouts to go home with a split for the day and a bad taste in their mouths.
RU did not have to wait long to get back on track as 6 days later they travelled to Long Island to face Hofstra. Again Nick Suriano, Anthony Ashnault and Joe Grello led the way with pins to lead RU to a dominating 40-3 victory. As Coach Goodale said, “We obviously weren’t happy with how we wrestled last weekend, so we had a mantra all week to wrestle really hard and to score. We saw a lot of that for the most part, so overall we were really prepared and came out strong. Now we get a little bit of a break before Vegas”. Peter Lipari wrestled at 141 making his first dual meet appearance for RU scoring a 6-2 victory. Glasgow continued to impress with a 5-3 win. John Van Brill received a forfeit win and Willie Scott and Christian Colucci closed out the evening with victories for RU. Now on to Vegas!
The Cliff Keen Invitational is a 2-day tournament people have called the closest to the NCAA championships in March. RU had Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault in the semifinals. Suriano faced John Erneste of Missouri and Ashnault faced Mitch Finesilver of Duke. John Van Brill faced KeShawn Hayes of Ohio State in the consolation semis. After the first day RU was in 10th place with 42.5 team points.
Suriano earned a hard fought victory over Erneste and then dominated Micky Phillippi of Pitt 11-3 in the finals. Ashnault earned a 12-4 major over Finesilver enroute to a matchup with Micah Jordan of Ohio State in the finals. Ashnault opened a 10-1 first period lead with a quick takedown and 2 four point near falls. After a scoreless second period, Jordan stormed back with 4 takedowns in the final two minutes. However, Anthony scored a 14-10 victory to take the title. What a match! These two will likely see each other at the Big Ten Championship and possibly the NCAAs. They are ranked #2 and #3 in the country. RU finished 9th as a team with 66.5 points. While we had 2 individual champions, we had many wrestlers go 0-2 for the tournament that was not a good sign. We had to re-group with a 2-week break before facing state rival Rider after a 6-year break from having them on our schedule.
The RAC was rocking for the Rider match with 4,726 fans in attendance. There were several highlights to the RU 28-6 victory. Suriano collected his 10th bonus point win of the season defeating a two-time NJ state champion in the process. Ashnault collected his 7th pin and 10th bonus point win of the season. He has now accumulated over 100 career victories as he tries to become the all-time leader in total career wins at Rutgers.
Willie Scott, wrestling at 174 pounds for the injured Joe Grello, won a thrilling 7-6 victory over his former teammate at Brick and NCAA qualifier, Dean Sherry. Scott scored 4 back points with a tilt in the last few seconds as Goodale and the crowd went wild. Coach Goodale became the all-time leader in wrestling victories with 167 surpassing John Sacchi. Goodale’s record is now 167-63-1 for his career. This win was the 6th consecutive win by RU over Rider. Nick Gravina made his 2018 debut after shoulder surgery and defeated Fagg-Davies 3-2 who was an NCAA
qualifier last year. It is good to have another big gun back in the line-up. The two Van Brills, Matt Correnti and Christian Colucci rolled to victories to close out the event.
On December 10th, Nick Aguilar and Billy Janzer showed that they will be future contributors by claiming individual titles at the George Mason Patriot Open. Malcolm Robinson had a strong 2nd place finish. Jake Benner finished 6th, John Ciaramella finished 7th, and Luke Ecklof finished 8th.
RU is now 6-1 in dual meets and showed toughness and aggressiveness pushing the pace. We need to continue these efforts as a team as we begin to face the strength of our schedule. Our next tournaments are the Wilkes Open on December 22 and the Midlands on December 29-30. After the New Year we are at # 9 Minnesota January 6. This will be a big test as future Big Ten opponents await us as well as archrival Princeton and Oklahoma State. Now, the real grind begins!
By: John Welch
SKWC Board Member
A Family is an important group. Some say the most important group. Outside of the immediate family there are many kinds of families. There are families connected to religious organizations, schools, golf, the arts, music, travel, Facebook, and political organizations. In New Jersey, wrestling is one big family. While members may support their favorite high school or college team, they all connect to New Jersey wrestling and form a unique bond.
A wrestling family that is growing and expanding is the Rutgers Wrestling Family. When I wrestled at Rutgers there were about 100 people in the College Avenue Barn. Admission was free; the matches weren’t promoted; the “barn” was quiet. Our family was small. Now Rutgers wrestles at the RAC. This year over 3,000 season tickets have been sold and last year average attendance at the RAC was over 5,000 per dual. The Big 10 had an impact. Most importantly, the commitment that Rutgers made to wrestling made the big difference.
My son, Pete, is the wrestling coach at the McDonogh School in Maryland. Following a recent match, he wrote to his wrestling family, “.the turnout was tremendous! We so appreciate the attendance and show of support from our former wrestlers and families of many generations.” … he went on to say: “…as you know, wrestling is an underdog sport and we must battle for everything we earn. The sport is not easy, nor does it attract the public attention other sports receive. Yet, these unique challenges make the sport and those that compete stronger. We are all stronger and better people because we wrestled…” Pete is building the McDonogh wrestling family.
The SKWC Family
At Rutgers, we are growing and expanding our wrestling family. The Scarlet Knights Wrestling Club (The SKWC, Inc.) is the non-profit organization that connects the Rutgers wrestling family. Our mission is to support Rutgers wrestling and grow amateur wrestling in New Jersey. We have many events for the Rutgers wrestling family and hope you will participate and help us expand our family. There are opportunities to attend pre-match Skull Sessions, post match Socials, golf outings, a casino night this May, tailgates at home football games, gatherings at the NCAA tournament, SKWC Membership meetings with the coaches, and the annual team banquet. When the opportunity exists, please attend an event and invite your wrestling friends to a match so they can become an active member of the Rutgers Wrestling family. We need ideas and suggestions to grow our special family.
AD Pat Hobbs, Deputy AD Sarah Baumgartner, and the entire Rutgers Athletic Department have embraced our family. They have spoken at membership meetings, participated in golf outings, attended socials and cheered loudly at matches. Both Pat and Sarah have been in attendance when our wrestlers earned All- American honors at the NCAA tournament. They recognize the commitment our coaches and wrestlers make to succeed. We have seen them with an arm on the shoulders of our winners and losers alike. They know it’s family.
SKWC Home Match Welcome Table
This season the SKWC, Inc. has a new initiative to grow the family. At every home match we will have a table in the lobby of the RAC. SKWC board and committee members as well as former wrestlers will be present. We encourage you to stop by to chat, ask questions, volunteer, give us advice, or just to say hello. Let us know your ideas on how we can expand our family. Would you attend a trip to an away match, attend an away match watch party, go to a weekday luncheon with a coach, or participate in a summer picnic? We need your input. Ever have an extra ticket? Please bring a friend to a match. The match day environment is a guarantee that they will return and hopefully enjoy our family.
Thanks for all your support in helping to expand the Rutgers Wrestling Family. Feel to email me at [email protected] with any thoughts, ideas, and questions. See you at the SKWC Welcome Table next match!
Happy New Year
Go Knights !