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Rutgers wrestling opens season with three meet victories

Freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski had an impressive start to the season as did the rest of the Rutgers wrestling team, shutting out NJCU and recording wins over Cleveland State and Binghamton.  – Photo by Ryan Meyer /

It was a clean sweep of the field for the Rutgers wrestling team, who won all three of their meets at Saturday’s quad meet. The Scarlet Knights (3-0, 0-0) opened up the meet by defeating NJCU 48-0, which they followed up with a 35-3 win over Cleveland State and a 34-9 win against Binghamton.

Sunday’s quad marked the first wrestling match to be held with fans since the pandemic began, and a crowd of 3,367 was announced for Sunday’s home opener.

“I'm pleased with today's effort and with our crowd despite all of the great things that are going on around campus and our Athletic Department today,” head coach Scott Goodale said post-meet.

The quad meet saw Rutgers dominate throughout, as the Knights won 27 of their 30 matches at Jersey Mike’s Arena. Six wrestlers achieved pins. One dominant performance came from 5th-ranked 184-pounder freshman John Poznanski, who won all three of his matches on Sunday.

Fourth-ranked 141-pounder graduate student Sebastian Rivera, who comes into the season as the highest-ranked wrestler in Rutgers’ lineup, only wrestled in one match — a 9-1 decision over the Bearcats' (1-2, 0-0) Ryan Anderson. Rivera was in the lineup for the meet against the Vikings (2-1, 0-0), but that match was forfeited by the Rams.

With his first victory as a Knight, 174-pounder freshman Connor O’Neill went 2-1 on the day. He earned a comeback 14-12 decision in the second meet against Cleveland State’s Anthony Rice in what turned out to be the most competitive match of the entire day.

In his Rutgers debut, 15th ranked 197-pounder graduate student Greg Bulsak went 2-0, earning wins over 25th ranked Ben Smith (a 12-1 major decision) and a 1:23 fall over Binghamton’s Matt Kelly.

Sophomore 285-pounder Boone McDermott earned a 55-second fall over the Vikings' John Kelby before getting an injury default over the Bearcats' Joe Doyle, who came into this match ranked 28th in the country.

”I'm really happy for our guys,” Goodale said. “We've taken a lot of heat when it comes to our upper weights over the years, but they showed out today.”

Wrestling in front of fans at Jersey Mike’s Arena was particularly special for McDermott after making his debut last year in an empty arena due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) gathering restrictions.

“It was awesome, and I was excited to finally have fans in (Jersey Mike's Arena) and to get a feel for what it's really like,” McDermott said after the meet. “I felt great going into it and had a great time showing out.”

The Knights return to the mat this weekend, as they hit the road to face off against Clarion, Davidson and UT-Chattanooga in Davidson, North Carolina on Saturday.

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

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