PISCATAWAY -- Boom.
The Rutgers University wrestling team had something to prove after losing to No. 2 Penn State last Friday. So, all the 11th-ranked Scarlet Knights (8-2) did was strung together nine-straight wins to start the match (only losing the final heavyweight bout) en route to a dominating 38-3 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Friday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway.
Rutgers freshman Brandon Paetzell got things started at 125 pounds with a bang by pinning Kegan Calkins with 1:23 left in the third period after the Phillipsburg native was up 10-1 and that was all she wrote.
“It started at '25,'' Rutgers head coach Scott Goodale said in his press conference. "That's a true freshman coming against a guy who has really beaten three of our guys in the past couple of years. It was huge for Paetzell to come out and do what he did. That gives you momentum, that gives you energy, that gives you a lot. That's what you need out of that 125-pound spot, is someone who is going to score points against a good kid and that’s what we were looking to do and that's what he did. ...And it carries all the way through. It starts at the top.”
South Plainfield native and redshirt junior Scott DelVecchio followed up at 133 pounds with a 6-2 decision over Joey Palmer of Oregon State (2-5). A 2015 NCAA qualifier, DelVecchio notched a takedown in the first period to go up 2-0 and never let up to give Rutgers a 9-0 lead. Palmer, a redshirt senior, was a 2014 and 2016 NCAA qualifier himself.
Fellow former Tiger and two-time All-American Anthony Ashnault made quick work of 2015 NCAA qualifier Jack Hathaway at 141 pounds. The No. 6-ranked Ashnault earned a takedown and a four-point near fall to take an easy 6-0 lead heading into the second period. Hathaway picked up an escape, but the 2016 Big Ten Conference champion at 141 pounds Ashnault added another takedown to take control 8-1. Ashnault would cruise to a 15-2 major decision and even earn some praise by Goodale by sticking out with his performance. DelVecchio, too.
“There’s a lot of big wins in there, but it’s funny how Anthony Ashnault is probably going to go on unnoticed tonight, but he grew up wrestling that kid quite a bit (Ashnault topped Hathaway 4-0 in last year’s duel in Oregon) and tonight was dominating Anthony Ashnault” Goodale said. “That’s the way he’s capable of wrestling. He looked really good.
“I look at DelVecchio and that’s a nationally-ranked guy (Palmer who he beat) who’s had some huge wins in his career, so that’s good for sending guys to the national tournament and qualifying for the Big Ten tournament.”
Ken Theobold kept the train moving with at 149 pounds with a 16-1 technical fall triumph in the second period over Bryce Parson. The redshirt senior Theobold is a two-time NCAA qualifier coming off a redshirt year and is ranked No. 14 in the nation.
Heading into intermission, redshirt sophomore 157-pounder John Van Brill won by decision over Abraham Rodriguez 10-3 to put the Scarlet Knights up 21-0.
After the break, Anthony Pafumi got the nod over Willie Scott at 165 pounds, and topped Rodney Williams 4-0.
Phil Bakuckas crushed Weston Dobler at 174 pounds, winning by technical fall in the second period 18-1. The redshirt senior racked up bonus points to lead 10-0 after the first period and kept it going.
Rutgers would then jump the score to 35-0 after all-smiles No. 14 Nicholas Gravina pinned Bob Coleman with 18.3 seconds left in the third period. Gravina led 15-2 after the second.
The Scarlet Knights would pick up an upset victory at 197 pounds when true freshman Matt Correnti edged No. 18 Corey Griego 3-2. Correnti shocked Griego with a takedown in the first period to go up 2-0 and led 2-1 heading into the second after Griego got a point on an escape. With the score knotted a 2-2 in the third, Correnti added a point on an escape and held off his redshirt sophomore counterpart to put Rutgers up 38-0.
“Good for Matt Correnti, that’s a huge win,” Goodale said.
At heavyweight, Rutgers’ Razohnn Gross who was the hero in the thrilling win over Illinois at the RAC back on Jan. 6 couldn’t finish a couple chances he had for single-leg takedowns as Cody Crawford prevented the goose egg with a 4-2 win for the Beavers.
Rutgers will look to make a 2-for-2 this weekend as Purdue visits Piscataway on Sunday at noon.
“This is a big test for us,” Goodale said of the 7-2, 2-1) Boilermakers. “They are a blue-collar team that reminds me a lot like us. They’re going to fight and they’re going to be in great shape. There’s going to be a lot of individual matchups that are going to be important for Big Ten seeding. National rankings are at stake. We gotta show up and be ready to go.
“We will be, but it’s going to be a really good dual meet. (Purdue) is excited to come in here and we’re in the thick of the Big Ten schedule and we need to be sharp come Sunday.”
*All rankings by Intermat
No. 11 Rutgers (8-2, 2-1) 38, Oregon State (2-5, 0-0) 3
Dual started at 125 pounds
Officials: Anthony Zullo and Kevin Tann
125: Brandon Paetzell (RU) wins by fall over Kegan Calkins (OSU), 5:38; RU leads, 6-0
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) dec. over Joseph Palmer (OSU), 6-2; RU leads, 9-0
141: No. 6/6/6 Anthony Ashnault (RU) major dec. over Johnathan Hathaway (OSU), 15-2; RU leads, 13-0
149: No. 14/16/14 Ken Theobold (RU) tech fall over Bryce Parsons (OSU), 16-1; RU leads, 18-0
157: No. 18/13/14 John Van Brill (RU) dec. over Abraham Rodriguez (OSU), 10-3; RU leads, 21-0
165: Anthony Pafumi (RU) dec. over Rodney Williams (OSU), 4-0; RU leads, 24-0
174: Phillip Bakuckas (RU) tech fall over Weston Dobler (OSU), 18-1; RU leads, 29-0
184: No. 14/13/14 Nicholas Gravina (RU) wins by fall over Bob Coleman (OSU), 6:42; RU leads, 35-0
197: Matthew Correnti (RU) dec. over No. 18/NR/14 Corey Griego (OSU), 3-2; RU leads, 38-0
HWT: No. NR/18/15 Cody Crawford (OSU) dec. over Razohnn Gross (RU), 4-2; RU wins, 38-3