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Rutgers wrestling wraps up season with 2 All-Americans at NCAA Championships

Graduate student 141-pounder Sebastian Rivera won All-American honors at this weekend's NCAA Championships. – Photo by Samantha Cheng

The Rutgers wrestling team walked away from the NCAA Championships with two All-Americans, as graduate student 141-pounder Sebastian Rivera finished third, and graduate student 197-pounder Greg Bulsak finished eighth in Detroit this weekend.

The Scarlet Knights (16-5, 3-5) as a team finished 20th in the overall team score, tied with Northern Iowa.

"Everyone that we brought won at least a match, and I don't think we've ever done that since I've been here,” said head coach Scott Goodale. “The national tournament is a very unfriendly place, so I'm proud of all of these guys."

For Rivera, the chance at a national title was snapped in the quarterfinals, where sixth-seeded Cole Matthews of Pittsburgh upset him in a 7-5 decision. Rivera rallied to win the next four straight in the consolation bracket, capped off by a 6-5 decision over Oregon State eighth-seed Grant Willits.

Rivera’s third-place finish was the first for a Rutgers wrestler since 1960.

"I was able to show everyone in my dad's club and everyone around New Jersey that it's possible to come home and win,” Rivera said. “We have the right staff, and you can get it done at home."

Bulsak finished 4-3 overall in the tournament, dropping out of the main bracket after a second-round defeat to Nebraska’s third seed, Eric Schultz. He followed up with three straight in the consolation bracket, including an 8-0 major decision over Navy’s Jacob Koser, before falling to Iowa State’s Yonger Bastida 4-3 and to Schultz 3-2 in a rematch for seventh place.

"I knew all of my hard work and everything I did would pay off sooner or later,” Bulsak said. “I just believed in it, and it worked out. It's a great feeling."

Also finding some success in the postseason were freshmen 125-pounder Dylan Shawver and 184-pounder John Poznanski.

Shawver dropped his first match to Northwestern’s Michael DeAugustino in a 3-1 decision before two straight wins in the consolation bracket. He exited the tournament in the third consolation round, dropping an 8-4 decision to Missouri’s Noah Surtin.

Poznanski also finished 2-2, dropping his first-round match to Maryland’s Kyle Cochran 7-3 before winning back-to-back decisions over Wisconsin’s Chris Weiler and Minnesota’s Isaiah Salazar. The 2021 All-American was eliminated in the third consolation round with a 9-4 decision to Cornell's Jonathan Loew.

The remaining three qualifiers all finished 1-2 in the tournament. Freshman 133-pounder Joseph Olivieri’s only win came in the first consolation round, a 7-3 decision over Lehigh’s Malyke Hines. Junior 149-pounder Michael VanBrill lost in the first round, earning his only win in a 7-4 decision over Kent State’s Kody Komara.

Freshman 174-pounder Connor O’Neill won a match with a 2:15 pin on Dominic Solis before dropping two straight pins to top-seeded Carter Starocci and Nick Incontrera.

The 2022 postseason was the seventh straight in which the Knights have left the NCAA Championships with two or more All-Americans and marked the first top-three finish for Rutgers since Anthony Ashnault and Nick Suriano both won national titles in 2019.


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


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