By: David Bugen
(RC ’70, RBS ’72)
SUMMER UPDATE FROM PRESIDENT DAVID BUGEN
While the collegiate season ended in March, the SKWC, the NJRTC, and the Rutgers coaches remained hard at work. This update includes a review of our incoming freshman recruiting class. Wrestling savant and SKWC Member, Dan Seifring, highlights what many consider the best recruiting class in Rutgers’ history. He also teases us with the 2020 verbally committed recruits, NJRTC Coach Reece Humphrey, speaks with pride of our two World Team Members. Reece has been called the RTC coach of the year for his success with two athletes who had never made a World Team. In one short year, the NJRTC has received national recognition. In addition, the NJRTC has enabled our qualified student athletes to train with the best American at
As you enjoy the summer, I encourage you to participate in one or both of our golf outings. The Forsgate Outing will be held on August 26th and the Spring Lake Slab and Cab is on September 4th. If you are not a golfer, consider attending the lunch at Forsgate or the Steak and Cabernet dinner at Spring Lake. As these are two of our major fundraisers, sponsorships are appreciated and available.
Please see the links to registration below:
Finally, the BOOM CLUB is coming!
The BOOM CLUB is designed for passionate fans to support the SKWC and receive premier access to the coaches and team. The BOOM CLUB will support the Resident Athlete program. Every recent national championship team had highly competitive World Class Resident Athletes that contributed to the team’s success.
A passionate donor kick-off the BOOM CLUB with a significant contribution so Anthony Ashnault could remain with the SKWC. Members will receive unique BOOM CLUB gear and based on contribution level the opportunity to travel with the team, dine with the coaches, attend match day activities, and participate in a team picnic/barbecue.
We expect to debut the BOOM CLUB in August,
Have a great summer and I hope to see you at one of the golf outings.
Head Coach Reece Humphrey
Tyler Graff, Rutgers Volunteer Coach and NJRTC Athlete, on World Team!
Two NJRTC Team Members on World Team in First Year of the NJRTC
On June 15th at FINAL X in Lincoln Nebraska, Tyler Graff came from behind to join Pat Downey, his NJRTC teammate, as a member of the US World Freestyle Team. Downey (86kg) and Graff (61kg) will compete for World titles on Sept. 20th-22nd in Nur Sultan, Kazakstan.
Downey qualified for the World Team on June 8th at Rutgers when returning World Champion, David Taylor, withdrew as result of an injury. Graff, who was coached in college by Donny Pritzlaff, faced Joe Colon, the returning world medalist who was ranked #2 in the World. Tyler is a 30 year old who had never made a team.
Graff lost his first match 6-4 to Colon. When this occurs negative thoughts can creep into the athletes head. But, Graff stayed positive and remained focused. Graff dominated the 2nd match 9-2 and followed up with a 12-2 technical fall to win the series and make the World Team at 61kg!
This was the perfect ending to the domestic season as the NJRTC now has 2, yes 2, World Team members! We started this RTC in hopes to build Jersey wrestling and create an environment for senior level athletes to fulfill their potential and we are off to a phenomenal start!
I am so appreciative to coach committed wrestlers and have the complete support of the Rutgers and Princeton coaching staffs. There could not be a better partnership. I am also confident that the qualified wrestlers from both Princeton and Rutgers will continue benefit from the opportunities to-train with our elite Resident Athletes.
Both Downey and Graff thanked the NJRTC and the coaches for believing in them. While they had always believed in themselves, they credited the coaches and environment at the NJRTC with making the difference. It is truly amazing that 20% of American’s freestyle team is represented by NJRTC athletes.
The lineup for the USA will be:
- 57kg: Dayton Fix
- 61kg: TYLER GRAFF
- 65kg: Zain Retherford
- 70kg: James Green
- 74kg: Jordan Burroughs
- 79kg: Kyle Dake or Alex Dieringer
- 86kg: PAT DOWNEY
- 92kg: J’den Cox
- 97kg: Kyle Snyder
- HWT: Nick Gwiazdowski
- Let’s keep the positive energy flowing and support our guys and Team USA!
Follow our journey @NJRTC on Instagram and @TheNJRTC on Twitter.
Rutgers 2019 Recruiting Class
The Scarlet Knights continue to build on recent success with a highly ranked incoming freshman class. Success on the mat, a rabid fan base, and the new RWJBarnabas Health Athletic Performance Center resulted in Rutgers’ best recruiting class.
FloWrestling ranked Rutgers #4 in their 2019 Wrestling Recruiting Class Rankings. Willie Saylor, a FloWrestling recruiting analyst, stated, “Rutgers brings in their best recruiting class ever. Rutgers is bringing in legitimate Big Ten level bangers.” This class is comprised of nine wrestlers hailing from New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Five of the wrestlers have won state titles and one, Jackson Turley, was a 2019 National Prep Champion.
The coaching staff did a great job of building much needed depth in the middle of the lineup. The wrestlers that are coming in will battle right away for starting spots. However, I expect most will redshirt and benefit from getting acclimated to the college lifestyle on and off the mat. In the coming years this class will push each other, not only for starting spots but for the goal of being on the podium in March.
Below are the nine wrestlers that will join the team in September.
- Gerard Angelo (149 Pounds) – Angelo is actually from the graduating class of 2018. He originally committed to Cornell and took a “Grey Shirt” year wrestling for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. Since he never officially enrolled at Cornell, he will enter Rutgers as a redshirt sophomore and have 4 years eligibility remaining . Gerard graduated from powerhouse Bergen Catholic where he was a 4X NJSIAA placer with a first place finish.
- JoJo Aragona (141 Pounds) – All the major wrestling publications have JoJo ranked as a top 10 overall recruit in the class of 2019. He is the #1 ranked 138 pounder in the country. Aragona is a 4X NJSIAA placer finishing 3rd as a freshman, 2nd sophomore, 3rd junior and a State Champ this past season. He collected 43 wins last season with no losses and won a title at the prestigious Beast of the East tournament. He will have an immediate impact either as a starter or pushing our starters as he redshirts. Look for JoJo to initially wrestle at 141 pounds and maybe move up to 149 pounds toward the of his career. He is fun to watch and the RAC is going to love him.
- Devon Britton (141 Pounds) – Hailing from Northampton High School in the Lehigh Valley, Britton is a two-time PA placer taking 3rd as a junior and 6th this past season. This year he battled injuries and if healthy, I believe, he would have been on top of the podium. FloWrestling’s Willie Saylor on Britton, “one of my favorite under-the-radar pickups”. He is a guy that is going to immediately improve the room when he steps on the campus with his work ethic. He should have a positive impact as Rutgers seeks to recruit other students from the wrestling rich Lehigh Valley.
- Zach Delvecchio (197/285 Pounds) – Zach was a late Rutgers commit, as he had to decide whether he wanted to play football or wrestle in college. The last name should be familiar to RU fans as Zach’s brother Scott was a three-year starter and All American for Rutgers at 133 pounds in the 2018 season. Zach, the bigger of the brothers is a 3X NJSIAA place winner taking 7th as a freshman, 4th as a sophomore and winning a title this past season at 220 pounds. Zach was injured during his junior season and missed the postseason. He is not very tall so we will see if he makes the cut to 197 or stays up and wrestles 285.
- Joshua Gobencion (149 Pounds) – Josh was a starter at 145 pounds for Blair Academy, the No. 1 ranked school in the country. He entered the National Prep tournament as the 4th seeded wrestler. He dropped a blood round match just missing placing at the National Prep Tournament.
- Cody Harrison (149/157 Pounds) – Harrison was a 2X NJSIAA placer finishing 3rd this season after taking 4th as a junior wrestling for Phillipsburg High School. Harrison had 40 wins on the season and was ranked #1 in NJ at 152 pounds during the season.
- Robert Kanniard (157/165 Pounds) – Kanniard comes to Rutgers via Wall High School where he was a 3X NJSIAA placer taking 4th as a sophomore, 2nd as a junior and becoming a State Champion this past season. He ended this season undefeated winning 46 matches during the year with 34 of the matches ending in either a fall or tech fall. Kanniard might see the starting lineup right away. If not, we see in the lineup for years to come.
- Jackson Turley (174/184 Pounds) – Turley will head north as he wrestled for St. Christopher’s in Virginia. He committed to Rutgers over Virginia Tech, Iowa State and others. While he wrestled at 182 pounds last year, he is looking to compete at 174 pounds in college. Turley was a 4X VA State Champ and a 2019 National Prep Champion beating Blair’s Peyton Craft in the finals. He placed 2nd at both Walsh Ironman and Beast of the East tournaments this past season. At the Beast he avenged his loss from Walsh Ironman. Turley wrestles real hard and will remind Rutgers fans of Nick Gravina and Anthony Perrotti with his hard nose go after it style.
- Ryan Vulakh (149/157 Pounds) – Ryan was the team’s final recruit and jumped us from a top 10 recruiting class to #4 class. A 3X placer in PA, he finished his career as the #3 ranked 152 (FloWrestling) in the country. He was undefeated this past season, winning titles at Beast of the East, Powerade, and Escape the Rock before closing out with a PA State Title. He won the championship bout in dominant fashion with a 20-5 tech fall. Vulakh visited Penn State and other power programs before signing with Rutgers.
This is a great recruiting class and fans can expect to experience the RAC to rock in the coming years. I can’t wait to watch them take on Big Ten competition.
With recruiting over for the 2019 season, the coaches are focused on the high school graduating class of 2020 . To date they are off to a good start having secured four verbal commits that are ranked in the Top 100. As they are verbal commits we are unable to list them by name. Stay tuned for announcements when letters of intent are signed in the fall.