NEW YORK, N.Y. - The No. 23 Rutgers wrestling team closed out 2014 with a pair of wins Sunday at the Third Annual "Grapple at the Garden." The Scarlet Knights got things started with a 24-13 win over Army before dominating Davidson, 46-3, at Madison Square Garden. South Plainfield 2013 graduates Anthony Ashnault and Scott DelVecchio both went 2-0 in the dual meet.
The Scarlet Knights (9-0, 0-0 Big Ten) improved upon the best start in program history with the wins, sweeping the "Grapple" for the first time in three years and setting the stage for a Big Ten showdown on Jan. 2 at the RAC against No. 1 Iowa (2-0, 1-0 Big Ten).
"We've been preparing and training all along for January 2," said head coach Scott Goodale. "Our cycle was that we would go as hard as we possibly good, then taper a little bit - wrestle these matches and take a much needed rest. I don't know if the results really showed it today, but I'm pleased with the way we wrestled through final exams. I'm happy we got through it and now it's on to Iowa."
Redshirt junior 285-pounder Billy Smith (Wantage, N.J.) put the exclamation point on both of RU's matches, winning by fall twice in his first action since Nov. 2 at the Rutgers Duals. The No. 9/NR/12 grappler is 5-0 heading into the Iowa match.
Four other Scarlet Knights posted 2-0 days in "The World's Most Famous Arena."
Junior 149-pounder Ken Theobold (Toms River, N.J.) recorded a decision in his first bout and followed with a pin against No. NR/20/NR Kevin Birmingham (Davidson). He is now 13-3 on the season.
Redshirt freshman 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield, N.J.) posted a 2-0 mark to bump up his season record. Ashnault, ranked No. 11/7/11 last week, picked up an 11-5 decision over Logan Everett (Army) and a fall over James McCord (Davidson) to improve to 13-2 this season. He is unbeaten (9-0) in dual action.
Redshirt sophomore Sean McCabe (Ronkonkoma, N.Y.) and classmate Scott DelVecchio (South Plainfield, N.J.)each went 2-0 with forfeit wins. DelVecchio picked up an 11-2 major decision over Anthony Elias of Davidson in his second match, his first major in dual action this season.
Redshirt freshman 165-pounder Nicholas Gravina (Allendale, N.J.) and redshirt sophomore 184-pounder Anthony Pafumi (Westfield, N.J.) went 1-0, posting wins against Army and Davidson, respectively. Seeing action at 165 pounds against Davidson, redshirt junior Ethan Orr (Branchville, N.J.) went 1-0, as well, scoring a 14-5 major decision against Patrick Devlin.
Bouncing back from losses in their first matches were No. 8/10/10 157-pounder Anthony Perrotti (Roseland, N.J.) and No. 19/14/NR Phil Bakuckas (Hammonton, N.J.). Perrotti secured a fall while Bakuckas recorded a tech fall, as both closed the day 1-1.
The Scarlet Knights wrestle next at the RAC on Jan. 2 against No. 1 Iowa in the team's first Big Ten Conference dual match. The match will be broadcast live in front of a national audience on BTN and is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m.
Rutgers 24, Army 13
Dual started at 125 pounds
125: Sean McCabe (RU) decision over Sean Badua (ARMY), 8-1; Rutgers leads, 3-0
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) wins by forfeit; Rutgers leads, 9-0
141: No. 11/7/11 Anthony Ashnault (RU) decision over Logan Everett (ARMY), 11-5; Rutgers leads, 12-0
149: No. NR/NR/18 Ken Theobold (RU) decision over Andrew Mendel (ARMY), 3-1; Rutgers leads, 15-0
157: No. 20/13/15 Russell Parsons (ARMY) decision over No. 8/10/10 Anthony Perrotti (RU), 3-2; Rutgers leads, 15-3
165: Nicholas Gravina (RU) decision over Chandler Smith (ARMY), 6-5; Rutgers leads, 18-3
174: Brian Harvey (ARMY) decision over No. 19/14/NR Phil Bakuckas (RU), 4-2; Rutgers leads, 18-6
184: Austin Wilding (ARMY) decision over Hayden Hrymack (RU), 3-1; Rutgers leads, 18-9
197: Bryce Barnes (ARMY) major decision over Ralph Normandia (RU), 11-3; Rutgers leads, 18-13
285: No. 9/NR/12 Billy Smith (RU) wins by fall over Mason Kumashiro (ARMY), (3:00); Rutgers wins, 24-13
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / The Open Mat / WIN Magazine (Dec. 16)
Rutgers 46, Davidson 3
Dual started at 125 pounds
125: Sean McCabe (RU) wins by forfeit; Rutgers leads, 6-0
133: Scott DelVecchio (RU) major decision over Anthony Elias (DC), 11-2; Rutgers leads, 10-0
141: No. 11/7/11 Anthony Ashnault (RU) wins by fall over James McCord (DC), (1:41); Rutgers leads, 16-0
149: No. NR/NR/18 Ken Theobold (RU) wins by fall over No. NR/20/NR Kevin Birmingham (DC), (3:28); Rutgers leads, 22-0
157: No. 8/10/10 Anthony Perrotti (RU) wins by fall over Alex Palinsky (DC), (1:03); Rutgers leads, 28-0
165: Ethan Orr (RU) major decision over Patrick Devlin (DC), 14-5; Rutgers leads, 32-0
174: No. 19/14/NR Phil Bakuckas (RU) tech fall over Nathaniel Powers (DC), 17-1; Rutgers leads, 37-0
184: Anthony Pafumi (RU) decision over Scott Patrick (DC), 6-5; Rutgers leads, 40-0
197: Ian Solcz (DC) decision over Ralph Normandia (RU), 4-3; Rutgers leads, 40-3
285: No. 9/NR/12 Billy Smith (RU) wins by fall over Ed Isola (DC); Rutgers wins, 46-3
Rankings (-/-/-): InterMat / The Open Mat / WIN Magazine (Dec. 16)
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