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Rutgers crowns 2 champions at Navy Classic

 – Photo by The Daily Targum

On Saturday, the Rutgers wrestling team hit the road for the third consecutive weekend. This time, the Scarlet Knights (5-0) stayed on the East Coast and visited Annapolis, Maryland, for the Navy Classic.

Rutgers finished fifth in the 18-team field with 83.5 points. The Knights and Michigan State were the lone Big Ten schools competing at the event.

Virginia Tech took the crown home with Campbell following in second place and the Spartans rounding out the medal spots. Lock Haven came in fourth place with Rutgers rounding out the top five.

Navy, the hosts, finished in seventh place, the highest of all the service academies. Air Force finished in 10th while The Citadel came in last place.

The Knights started the event off with three wins at the 125, 133 and 165-pound weight classes. After redshirt freshman 125-pounder Nicolas Aguilar secured a pin in his first appearance in a dual match on Nov. 15, he downed Campbell's Korbin Meink 15-4 at the Navy Classic.

Aguilar, a No. 6 seed in the 125-pound bracket, then advanced to the quarterfinals after holding Bucknell's Brandon Seidman scoreless in the round of 16. He then won two matches en route to a 125-pound title.

In his first non-redshirt season, Aguilar has a 10-1 record. He competed in his first dual matches last week against Fresno State and California State Bakersfield.

Rounding out Rutgers' individual champions of the day was No. 15 graduate student 197-pounder Jordan Pagano, who narrowly defeated Colin McCracken of Kent State on a takedown. Pagano's four wins on Saturday give him a 9-1 record. 

Also competing in the 197-pound weight class was junior 197-pounder Matthew Correnti, who qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2017 along with Pagano. Correnti vaulted into the a major decision in the first round and a pin in the second round

No. 15 true freshman 133-pounder Sammy Alvarez, who beat two ranked opponents at the Journeymen Classic earlier this month, earned a fall over American's Daniel Kidd into his first match of the day. Like Aguilar, Alvarez advanced to the quarterfinal round before losing 6-2 to Garrett Pepple of Michigan State.

Falling to the wrestle backs, Alvarez camped away with a sixth-place finish. He defeated Collin Gerardi of the Hokies in the first round of the consolation. No. 2 bracket true freshman 165-pounder Jackson Turley, who bolstered a 4-1 record coming into Annapolis, Maryland, pinned Michael Lewis of the Eagles. Turley was the third Knight to pin his opponent in the opening round after Alvarez and No. 23 redshirt freshman 149-pounder Gerard Angelo.

Angelo had early success of his own in the 149-pound bracket. He advanced all the way to the quarterfinals without giving up a point to his opponents. Angelo, wrestling as a No. 3 seed, was upset by Alec Hagan of Ohio. 

Turley lost in the second round to the Spartans’ Austin Hiles 12-5, a match where the true freshman only earned his points from a takedown and several escapes. In the consolation bracket, he defeated Edinboro's Derek Ciavarro in the first round while securing pins over his next two opponents.

Redshirt freshman 184-pounder Billy Janzer, who is ranked at 30th in his weight class by Trackwrestling, was 4-2 at the tournament. One of his wins was a major decision.

Junior 157-pounder Michael Van Brill finished with a 3-2 record on the day. After suffering a lost in the first round, Van Brill earned a fall and then another victory. He lost in the consolation rounds, later on in the bracket.

While the event took place on Saturday, Rutgers' first two NCAA Champions, alumnus 149-pounder Anthony Ashnault and Olympic redshirt Nick Suriano, went to the White House where the pair visited President Donald J. Trump.

Ashnault and Suriano visited the White House along with the rest of the 2019 NCAA wrestling champions. All competed at the national tournament and won their respected weight class titles in Pittsburgh earlier this year.

The Knights will break for Thanksgiving before hosting Maryland on Dec. 7. The dual match, which will be the sixth of the season, will mark the beginning of the Big Ten season at the Rutgers Athletic Center (RAC). 

After that home matchup, Rutgers will head to Chattanooga, Tennessee, for the Southern Scuffle, a two-day tournament, on Jan. 1, 2020.

For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.

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