PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The SKWC has a jam-packed weekend in store , as No. 13 Rutgers wrestling (2-0, 0-0) begins its 2023-24 home schedule against No. 8 Virginia Tech (1-1, 0-0) Friday night at Jersey Mike’s Arena. The out-of-conference dual is set for a 7 p.m. ET start on Big Ten Plus.
A limited number of single-match tickets for Friday’s dual – which features eight potential ranked-vs.-ranked matchups on the docket – are still available. Fans can purchase single-match tickets here. Friday night is a blackout, with fans encouraged to wear black to the match. Fans in attendance will receive a complimentary black Rutgers wrestling t-shirt while supplies last.
The Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and Rutgers Athletics are also hosting a food drive to benefit REPLENSIH at Middlesex County Food Banks. Fans will be able to drop off requested items – which includes canned tuna, canned chicken, bags of rice, dry beans, diapers, and baby wipes – at the front of the arena. Those who participate in the food drive will receive complimentary tickets to the home match on Friday, December 8 against Princeton at 6 p.m.
Last Time Out
RU delivered convincing victories in its first two matches of the season, defeating RV Cal Poly, 31-10, and Duke, 47-0, on November 3 in San Luis Obispo, California. The Scarlet Knights won 17 out of 20 bouts during their two-match sweep, which included 13 victories by bonus.
Dean Peterson (125), Dylan Shawver (133), Mitch Moore (141) and Brian Soldano (184) recorded falls. Moore, Jacob Butler (149) and Yaraslau Slavikouski (HWT) all delivered wins in their highly anticipated RU debuts after arriving over the summer as graduate transfers. Joe Fongaro (141) and Shane Cartagena-Walsh (174) also recorded wins in their varsity debuts. Anthony White (165) and John Poznanski (197) collected two tech falls apiece.
No. 13 Rutgers (2-0, 0-0)
- 125: 6/8 Dean Peterson
- 133: 15/18 Dylan Shawver -OR- Devon Britton
- 141: 15/18 Mitch Moore -OR- Joe Fongaro
- 149: 23/33 Jacob Butler -OR- Michael Cetta
- 157: 23/19 Andrew Clark -OR- Al DeSantis
- 165: 22/27 Anthony White -OR- Luke Gayer
- 174: 26/26 Jackson Turley -OR- Shane Cartagena-Walsh
- 184: 9/7 Brian Soldano
- 197: 8/13 John Poznanski
- HWT: 6/7 Yaraslau Slavikouski -OR- John O’Donnell
No. 8 Virginia Tech (1-1, 0-0)
- 125: 15/18 Eddie Ventresca
- 133: 6/5 Sam Latona
- 141: Mac Church -OR- Hunter Mason
- 149: 4/4 Caleb Henson
- 157: 5/5 Bryce Andonian -OR- Rafael Hipolito, Jr.
- 165: Clayton Ulrey
- 174: 3/3 Mekhi Lewis
- 184: 21/20 Sam Fisher
- 197: 16/18 Andy Smith
- 285: 18/19 Hunter Catka -OR- Jimmy Mullen
What to Know
- A win over the Hokies on Friday would be the program’s first against a top-10 opponent since it defeated No. 10 Wisconsin on January 11, 2019 in Piscataway.
- Including Virginia Tech, Rutgers has nine home dates on its schedule and seven duals against ranked opponents in 2023-24. The challenging slate includes top-10 matchups with No. 1 Penn State (February 12), No. 5 Ohio State (February 4), No. 6 Michigan (January 21) and No. 8 Virginia Tech (November 17).
- RU moved to No. 13 in this week’s NWCA Coaches Poll, its highest ranking since the 2021-22 season, when they
- Rutgers begins the third week of the season with all 10 of its starters ranked by Intermat. Four wrestlers are ranked within the top 10 of their respective weight classes, which includes No. 6 Dean Peterson (125), No. 6 Yaraslau Slavikouski (HWT), No. 8 John Poznanski (197) and No. 9 Brian Soldano (184).
- The Scarlet Knights have produced 14 pins this season, which included five out in California and nine at the Princeton Open on November 5 inside Jadwin Gymnasium.
- Rutgers announced its 2024 signing class last week, as Andrew Barbosa (Riverside, Calif.), Nate Blanchette (Methuen, Mass.), Ryan Ford (Mahwah, N.J.), Conner Harer (Montgomery, Pa.) and Alex Nini (Allentown, N.J.) all signed letters of intent and are eligible to compete for the Scarlet Knights next season. The five future student athletes comprise the No. 13 2024 signing class in the country, according to FloWrestling. Harer (No. 24), Nini (No. 45) and Blanchette (No. 53) all reside within the top 100 nationally.
Scouting Virginia Tech & Series History
- The Hokies enter Friday’s match after splitting its first two duals to begin the season. Virginia Tech lost a 24-12 dual to then-No. 7 Ohio State in Blacksburg before it defeated American, 39-4.
- Virginia Tech features nine ranked individuals and four ranked within the top 10 at their weight – No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (174), No. 4 Caleb Henson (149), No. 5 Bryce Andonian (157) and No. 6 Sam Latona (133).
- Lewis, a native of Somerset, New Jersey, captured the program’s first individual national title during the 2019 season. Lewis is one of seven natives of the Garden State on Virginia Tech’s roster.
- The Hokies finished 10-3 in dual action last season, which included a 4-1 mark in conference action. Virginia Tech sent all 10 of its starters to the 2023 NCAA Championships in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where the schooled secured five All-Americans.
- Rutgers is tied with Virginia Tech, 1-1, in the all-time series. The Scarlet Knights defeated the then-No. 3 Hokies, 24-7, on January 21, 2011, for one of their biggest wins in school history.
Rutgers will send a full squad to West Point, New York, on Sunday to compete in the Black Knight Invitational. The Scarlet Knights’ next dual is Friday, December 1 at Edinboro.