NEW BRUNSWICK - The magic of three-time All-American Anthony Ashnault was a key reason why the Rutgers wrestling team is one of the hottest tickets in collegiate wrestling.

While Rutgers struggles to attract football fans, in comparison to other Big 10 teams, the Scarlet Knights are strong on the mat, finishing fourth in average home attendance for the 2017-18 season.

The team averaged 4,680 fans for its seven matches this past season and averaged 5,070 for its six home duals at the Rutgers Athletic Center. In total, 32,764 fans watched Rutgers wrestle in Piscataway this season, a program record.

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The Scarlet Knights finished within the top-5 in home attendance for the third-straight season, with only Iowa (8,996), Penn State (7,693) and Ohio State (6,681) drawing more.

Five thousand or more fans packed the RAC for three of RU’s duals, as the program reset its home RAC attendance record twice in 2017-18. A then-record crowd of 6,754 watched RU take on Iowa on Dec. 8, 2017 before 8,321 fans watched the Scarlet Knights wrestle No. 1 Penn State on Jan. 28. 

Wrestling sold more than 2,000 season ticket packages for this past year’s campaign, the third-straight year the program sold the most season tickets in its history, university officials said. Fans interested in 2018-19 season tickets can join the waiting list; click here.

Rutgers returns three national qualifiers from this past season after the Scarlet Knights produced its best team finish at the NCAA Championships in 2018, finishing 11th with 42.5 points. The historic result also included the program's first national finalist in Nick Suriano as well as a sixth-place finisher in Scott DelVecchio, as the Scarlet Knights earned multiple All-Americans for the third consecutive year under Goodale.

Ashnault also returns to the lineup in 2018-19 after he was granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA last week. In total, six wrestlers with NCAA championships experience will be available for head coach Scott Goodale next season.