This Saturday and Sunday, the U23 and United World Wrestling (UWW) Junior Nationals will be held at the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska. The Rutgers wrestling team will be sending 14 of their wrestlers to the event and will be playing in their first match of the season there.
All of the wrestlers will be competing to earn spots for the 2021 senior and junior freestyle team trials.
The list of Scarlet Knight wrestlers that will be going for the U23 includes senior 165-pounder Brett Donner, junior 285-pounder Alex Esposito and sophomore 285-pounder Boone McDermott. They are all looking to earn spots on the freestyle team trials teams.
Rutgers will be looking to get production from all three of these wrestlers, both Esposito and Donner have experience with Big Ten wrestling, but the outlier of the three may very well be McDermott.
McDermott, who transferred from Iowa Central Community College (ICCC), will have three years of eligibility left starting this season. McDermott was the number one junior college 285-pound recruit, according to InterMat Wrestling, and will be looking to start off his career on the Banks this weekend.
During his time at ICCC, he was the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) heavyweight champion with a 36-1 record in 2019-20. He will look to bring that success to his time with the Knights.
The rest of the Rutgers wrestlers will be UWW Junior Wrestling participants, and the squad will mostly be made up of freshmen and sophomores who are looking to further establish themselves in the Knights' wrestling program.
In preseason polls, Rutgers, who is led by head coach Scott Goodale, is ranked 11th in the country by Win Magazine.
Last season, the Knights were able to produce five NCAA qualifiers, which made it their sixth year in a row having five or more wrestlers who qualified for NCAA championships. Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, Rutgers wrestlers did not get a chance to compete.
This year, they have the chance to compete and try and replicate what they did to get themselves to that point all starting this upcoming weekend.
Coming into this year, the Knights have four top 100 recruits, but they also will get a boost from graduate student 141-pounder Sebastian Rivera, who wrestled at Northwestern during his time as an undergraduate. During his time there, he was a two-time All-American, two-time Big Ten Champion while coupling a total of 73 victories.
Recently, Rivera earned preseason rankings from FloWrestling (number two) and The Open Mat (number four) having him ranked at 141 pounds.
The schedule for the weekend is:
Saturday, November 14 (All Times Eastern)
Session 3: U23 Men's Freestyle
10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Session 4: UWW Junior Freestyle
4:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Sunday, November 15
Session 5: U23 Men's Freestyle and UWW Junior Freestyle
10:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Session 6: U23 Men's Freestyle and UWW Junior Freestyle
3:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
For updates on the Rutgers wrestling team, follow @TargumSports on Twitter.