Following last weekend’s Garden State Grapple sweep that included the first ranked win of the season over UNC, the Rutgers wrestling team opens up its dual meet season on Friday with a road matchup against American.
The Scarlet Knights (8-0, 0-0) enter the matchup ranked as high as No. 12 in the country, remaining in the top 15 after earning their first ranked victory since a win over Northwestern in 2020.
The team’s hot start has been powered by a lineup with several ranked wrestlers, with two wrestlers sitting in the top five this week: Graduate student 141-pounder Sebastian Rivera is ranked as high as third in the country, while freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski is ranked fifth in the nation. Sophomore 133-pounder Sammy Alvarez checks in at the top 10, as he’s a consensus No. 10. All three wrestlers are undefeated this season.
This weekend’s projected lineup has 8 of 10 wrestlers ranked. Freshman 125-pounder Dylan Shawver is set to start on Friday, with Alvarez listed at 133 alongside freshman Devon Britton, who is 6-2 on the season. Rivera and sophomore Michael VanBrill are at 141 and 149 respectively, while freshman 157-pounder Robert Kanniard is also slated to start.
The 165-pound and 174-pound slots are both listed as undecided in the projected lineups. At 165, sophomore Gerard Angelo is split with freshman Andrew Clark. Angelo won his first match of the season, while Clark is 6-7. At 174, freshman Connor O’Neill is listed alongside No. 15/16 sophomore Jackson Turley — O’Neill is 4-3, while Turley is 0-1.
Poznanski starts at 184, as he looks to climb further up the rankings and build on an 8-0 start to his season. The last split of the lineup is at 197, where No. 13/17 ranked graduate student Greg Bulsak is listed next to freshman Kyle Epperly. Freshman heavyweight Boone McDermott rounds out the lineup for the Knights.
The deep Rutgers lineup will add another potential contender after this week, as NJ Advance Media reported yesterday that freshman heavyweight Kyonte Hamilton is slated to join the team with football season coming to an end.
Hamilton was given a week off in between the end of football and the start of wrestling. Hamilton is coming off his first football season on the banks, where he broke into the depth chart as a defensive lineman.
After tomorrow’s meet against the Eagles (0-3, 0-1), the Knights will return to Jersey Mike’s Arena on Livingston campus for their first home dual of the season, with a matchup against Army slated for next Friday night.
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