By Joe Kania/ For The Star-Ledger
152-pounder, Nick Gravina of Northern Highlands, has given a verbal agreement to wrestle for the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. Gravina, the fifteenth ranked wrestler in the nation at his weight by Intermat, had offers from the University of North Carolina, Oklahoma State University, Brown and Rider, just to name a few, but the appeal of wrestling so close to home helped Gravina make his decision. “A lot of things influenced my decision, but the two biggest influences that made me choose Rutgers were the facilities and the schedule. Having most of my matches within a driving distance of my home was really important to me”, told Gravina.
VIDEO: Nick Gravina earns 100th career victory and gives Northern Highlands a 31-29 team victory
Wrestling at 152lbs in the night’s final bout, Northern Highland’s Nick Gravina defeated Anthony Duncan of Wayne Valley 5-0. The win was the 100th of his career and also gave Northern Highlands the 31-29 team victory. (Video by Michael Monday/The Star-Ledger)
The standout has been on Rutgers’ radar for quite some time. “Gary Mezzacapo, the coach of Iron Horse, gave coach Goodale a ring, and let him about me real early. When they saw the close match I had with BJ Clagon, we started to talk a little bit. Coach Goodale later convinced me to check the school out and it is a lot nicer than I had expected.”
Head coach Scott Goodale, along with assistant coaches John Leonardis, Joe Pollard, and the Scarlet Knights’ new assistant and 2012 NCAA champion, Frank Molinaro, made the north Jersey stud feel right at home at Rutgers. “The coaches are great. During the practice, I saw they were on the mat the entire time. I find that really important. They also seem to have a genuine interest in each particular kid, which is hard to come by. When I walked into Rutgers, almost every kid knew me or knew of me. I loved that feeling. It just makes you feel like you belong.”
The senior is a vital piece of Rutgers’ impressive recruiting class that includes undefeated, three-time state champion, Anthony Ashnault. Fourth in the state at 145 pounds a year ago, Gravina is the favorite to capture the 152-pound state title in 2013.
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