By: David Bugen
(RC ’70, RBS ’72)
SUMMER UPDATE FROM PRESIDENT DAVID BUGEN
Our upperclassmen and fourth ranked freshman class arrived on campus in late August with excitement. Last March, the wrestling team finished 9th at the national tournament and we had our first two National Champions. This success resulted in WIN magazine naming Scott Goodale Coach of the Year. In May, SKWC athletes, Patrick Downey and Tyler Graff, lead by NJRTC Coach Reece Humphrey earned spots on the American World Team. The RWJ Barnabas Athletic Performance Center (APC) opened in mid-September. The students are overwhelmed by this world-class facility. Many team members live in walking distance of the facility and can spend most of the day at the APC studying, training, lifting, eating, and receiving health care. Without question, Rutgers has a state of the art wrestling facility. It should be a game changer.
In this newsletter, Reece Humphrey provides highlights of the recently completed World Championship where Tyler Graff finished 5th and Patrick Downey finished 9th in the World. Coach Pritzlaff discusses important program updates and Billy Garbarini provides insights on our freshman class. We also welcome Coach Kyle Kiss as our new recruiting coordinator and answer the question we frequently receive, “what’s the difference between the SKWC and Rutgers wrestling?”
Finally, in case you have not heard Coach Goodale’s podcast with Jon Newman and Danny Breslauer of Scarlet Spotlight, here is the link: Coach Goodale’s Podcast
Associate Head Coach Donny Pritzlaff
It’s been awhile since I made an entry into the SKWC newsletter so there is much to cover.
We have hit high marks in many areas of our program with NCAA Champions, a 3.0 team grade point average, record attendance at the RAC, two academic All Americans, twelve academic All Big Ten athletes, and a program best season ticket holder numbers. Our arrow is pointing up and many more great times will be ahead of us with the young men we have working tirelessly in our new facility.
We officially moved out of College Avenue Gymnasium. There are many great memories from our time in the basement and our alumni sure have many stories but it was time for a program upgrade and our administrators and donors stepped up big time.
The cornerstone of our program is mental and physical toughness so we don’t want to take the grittiness of College Ave away from our team. The sophistication of the RWJ Barnabas Athletic Performance Center is incredible and it truly is a first class facility with all the functional bells and whistles we need to be an elite program.
Our staff and students are extremely grateful for the new facility and we take great pride in making all Rutgers faithful proud of the Rutgers athletic department, specifically wrestling.
Being able to walk in to the RWJ Barnabas Athletic Performance Center every morning to work and train is a true privilege. We take our responsibility very seriously and look forward to achieving greater results this season!
Tyler Graff and Pat Downey added immensely to the success of our freestyle program as they became the first two senior level SKWC athletes to compete in the world championships last week in Kazakhstan. Both wrestlers represented themselves, their families, New Jersey and the USA with class and toughness. Congratulations to both Pat and Tyler for placing 9th and 5th respectively in this year’s World Championships.
Season tickets for 2019-20 have jumped out to a great start and we are just shy of 3000. This year, more than ever, it’s important to get your tickets. We have an exciting group with a great home schedule and every season ticket holder account will have access to four Big Ten Championship tickets. The 2020 Big Ten championships are coming to NJ for the first time and all attendees will be thrilled by the action from the greatest conference in the country. Don’t miss your opportunity- buy season tickets.
Thanks for all of the support from all our loyal fans, family, donors and supporters.
Red Team Upstream!
NJRTC at the World Championships!
Coach Reece “Highlight” Humphrey
In our first full year as an RTC we did what everyone said couldn’t be done! We went from one full time athlete to six and two of our athletes made the World team! Tyler Graff at 61kg and Pat Downey at 86kg put it on the line vs. the best in the world representing the United States of America in Kazakhstan at the World Championships!
The World Championships are the pinnacle of our sport. Each country wrestles their top athletes for a chance to be the best wrestler on the planet.
The NJRTC started off the tournament 4-0 with Graff tech falling Korea 10-0 and dominating 7-0 over China while Downey got a tech fall against Armenia 10-0 and beat Poland 8-4. In the quarterfinals Graff dropped a heart breaker to Georgia 3-1 on a late takedown to the eventual the World Champion and Downey lost his round of 16 bout to Germany.
Graff’s opponent made the finals and he was pulled back into the wrestle backs where he defeated Moldova 13-2. This advanced him to the bronze medal match! He ended up losing the bronze medal bout to India. This was a tough loss as he was so close to earned a world medal. We’re so proud of Tyler’s 5th place finish in the World and Patrick’s 9th place finish!
The points that Graff and Downey scored helped push Team USA to a 3rd place finish as we edged Iran 94-93!
The training leading up the event was incredible! Graff brought NJRTC athlete, Bryce Meredith, and Downey brought NJRTC athlete, Nate Jackson, as training partners! We started in Ramstein, Germany where we trained for a week at the Air Force military base. We took a team trip to the Swiss Alps to get a break from the stresses of competing. It was breath taking to say the least! Be sure to look out for our Swiss Alps Vlog coming soon! We then moved to Nur Sultan, Kazakhstan for the Worlds. We trained for 5 days, acclimated to the time change and competed. We were overseas for a total of 17 days and we are all very happy to be back in the States with our families!
The NJRTC started off with a bang and we aren’t stopping!
Grab NJRTC gear in link below and watch our latest vlog as well!
Billy G’s Corner
The Freshman Class William N. Garbarini ‘63
The coaches have welcomed a heralded incoming freshman class that was ranked # 4 in the Nation by Flo Wrestling. What may be different about this class is that none of these youngsters entered RU with the idea of redshirting. They are all excited to be here and wrestle. They want to compete for starting spots and have set their sights on the person in front of them. These student have the mentality of, “I am coming for you” so it will be very interesting what develops. Coach Goodale has stated that the best person will wrestle.
This class hails from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Virginia. Five of the wrestlers have won state titles and one, Jackson Turley, was a National Prep Champion. The class has a good blend up and down the lineup. Below are my thoughts on the class.
- Gerard Angelo 149 pounds—Gerard is a redshirt freshman with 4 years of eligibility as he took a “grey shirt” year wrestling for the Finger Lakes Wrestling Club. He never enrolled in Cornell. Angelo wrestled for Bergen Catholic where he was a state champ and 4-time place winner. He is freakishly strong and very athletic. He is dangerous and can score back points from anywhere. Gerard is a very good student, personable and everyone likes this young man.
- Sammy Alvarez 125-133 ponds—Sammy is a late addition to the class coming as the state champ while wrestling at St Joe’s of Montvale. In winning the state championship, he beat Penn State commit, Rob Howard who was ranked # 1 in the nation. Sammy is long, lean and very slick. He has a high wrestling IQ and is a student of the sport. He comes from Garfield NJ and the sky is the limit for him.
- Jo Jo Aragona 141 pounds—Jo Jo is ranked a top 10 overall recruit and # 1 in the country at 138 pounds. He is a 4-time place winner in New Jersey and was a state champ and Beast of the East Champ in 2019. Jo Jo is a hard-nosed, blue-collar kid who is passionate about being successful in this sport and in life. He is physical, fast and powerful. He hails from Pope John and comes from a great family.
- Devon Britton 133 pounds—Devon wrestled for Northampton in Pennsylvania and was ranked the #81 overall prospect by FloWrestling. Last year, he battled injuries. But when healthy, he is a terror. Devon is a short, stocky young man whose style is being stingy. He has a great work ethic and is a positional wrestler. He has a good high crotch and attacks both sides of the body. He can develop at RU as he comes from a great wrestling environment at Northampton.
- Richard Halal 125-133 pounds—Rich is another latecomer from Bergen Catholic and is the epitome of a great student-athlete. He is focused and driven with great intellectual prowess. He is a multiple state qualifier and a walk-on. He won’t wow you but is dependable, on time and great for the team culture. He can develop.
- Cody Harrison 157 pounds—Cody is a 3 time state place finisher and collected over 80 victories at Phillipsburg. He is very physical, explosive and consistent with a strong work ethic. He is best on his feet in neutral position. Cody is very inquisitive and can be developed. The more he is here the better he will be.
- Robert Kanniard 157-165 pounds—Rob is another multiple state place-winner and won a state championship last March. He was undefeated as a senior with 46 wins. Rob can best be described as competitive and a grinder. He is a tough, blue collar, nice young man who has all of the tools to be very successful at RU.
- Jackson Turley 165-174 pounds—Jackson is a 4 time VA state champ and National Prep champ so big things are expected from him. He will compete for a starting spot with his funky style. Being very athletic, Jackson wrestles outside the box with his go for broke style. He will remind folks of the John Van Brill philosophy. Stay tuned for some fun times with this young man.
- Ryan Vulakh 149-157 pounds—Ryan was a late addition to the class from Lansdale Pennsylvania. In my opinion be could be the best of the class. Ranked # 3 in the country at 152 pounds, he was undefeated last year and won the PA title, Beast of the East, Powerade, and Escape the Rock. Ryan is “legit”. He too is very stingy and hard to score on. He is short, thick and powerful. He has many offensive attacks and is multi-faceted. Ryan will create excitement while at RU.
We have a very impressive incoming freshman class with great diversity of style. Get your tickets to watch these kids because they are going to bring it!
What’s the Difference Between the SKWC and Rutgers Wrestling?
As the momentum builds around the wrestling program, we have received many questions about the difference between the SKWC and Rutgers wrestling.
Both Rutgers Wrestling and the SKWC seek to advance Rutgers wrestling and grown amateur wrestling. The SKWC and Rutgers are separate entities with the SKWC funding many staff members and activities that Rutgers is not allowed or able to fund. In most cases contributions to Rutgers wrestling and the SKWC are tax deductible.
Rutgers provides essential multi-levels of support including the maximum NCAA permitted scholarships, academic advisors, a world class facility, a first class medical staff, nutritional programs, a state of the art strength and conditioning program, a leadership academy, the costs related to team travel and meals, and salaries for Coaches Goodale, Pritzlaff, and Leonardis.
The SKWC funds 100% of the salaries for Tyler Graff, the Rutgers Volunteer Coach, Kyle Kiss, the Rutgers Director of Recruiting, and Resident Athletes Patrick Downey and Anthony Ashnault. In addition, the SKWC shares with Rutgers the salary of our Director of Operations, Joe Pollard.In combination with the Princeton wrestling club we support Reece Humphrey’s salary.While salaries represent over 80% of our costs, the SKWC also supports trips to the Olympic Training Center, International trips, mentoring programs, and clinics in the community.
Winning a national championship will require that Rutgers and the SKWC row the same direction. The recent success reflects a great partnership between the Rutgers administration and the SKWC.
We thank everyone who has and continues to support Rutgers and the SKWC. You are having a direct impact on results. Please email David Bugen with questions.
Win Two Mat-side Tickets to a Match of your Choice
Everyone joining the BOOM CLUB before October 23rd will be entered into a drawing to win two mat-side tickets to a match of the winner’s choice.
Contributions to the BOOM CLUB will only be used to pay staff not paid by Rutgers including our Resident Athletes, our volunteer coach, the director of recruiting, and the Head Coach of the New Jersey Regional Training Center.
To join the BOOM CLUB and support the SKWC, please click here: (link to SKWC Donate page)
Thanks go to all our supporters. The team cannot do it without you!