Scarlet Knights history was made this weekend at the Big 10 Wrestling Championships tournament in Minneapolis. For the first time in Rutgers progam history, two Scarlet Knights made it to the tournament's final round, and both of them came out on top to take first-place finishes. South Plainfield native Anthony Ashnault took home the first place title at 149-pounds, and Nick Suriano won the championship at 133-pounds.
In the 149-pount title match, Ashnault, the tournament top-seed and consensus No. 1 ranked wrestler at 149, took on a familiar foe in second-seeded and No. 2 Micah Jordan of Ohio State. The two previously met in the finals of the Cliff Keen Invitational, and Ashnault came out on top with a 14-10 decision in a frenetic, back-and-forth, matchup. The Big Ten final was a bit more tactical than their previous meeting, especially in the first two periods, but the result was the same.
Ashnault drew first blood by scoring a takedown off a counter on a shot by Jordan in the second period. Jordan managed to even up the score 4-4 with a two third period takedowns, but Ashnault took a 6-4 lead off a reversal with 50 seconds left, and then clinched the match by using a cradle to secure a takedown with 21 seconds left to make it an 8-6 decision win.
The win makes Ashnault a three-time Big 10 Champion, one of only 73 in NCAA history, and gives the South Plainfield native his 118th career collegiate win, making him Rutgers' all time-leader.
Suriano, third-seeded and No. 4 in the country, won his first Big 10 title by defeating Luke Pletcher 4-1 of Ohio State in the 133-pound title match. Suriano landed a takedown late in the first period, and scored one point off a second period escape, and another from a minute of riding time.
Senior Nick Gravina took sixth at 184-pounds Peter Lipari took ninth at 141 and Joe Grello took ninth at 174. Gravina and Ashnault became the fifth and sixth Scarlet Knights to become four-time NCAA qualifiers.