The Rutgers wrestling team is set to begin its season with a quad meet on the West Coast against Cal Poly and Duke on November 3. The Scarlet Knights are looking to build off a 2022-2023 campaign that saw seven players qualify for the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
No. 14 Rutgers returns many key wrestlers from last season, including sophomore 184-pounder Brian Soldano and junior 125-pounder Dean Peterson. Soldano and Peterson both won more than 20 duals last season and reached Session III of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.
Peterson spoke on the team's attitude for the upcoming season.
"It just seems like everybody is kind of rallying around each other," Peterson said. "It seems like everybody is, like encouraging each other to get better."
Despite only being a freshman last season, Soldano has already competed in national tournaments and described what the team needs to be successful this season.
"Everything we're building on is our confidence," Soldano said. "Our team can be a top-five finish if we just have our confidence on us."
Junior 184-pounder John Poznanski made headlines when he earned All-American honors as a freshman in the 2020-2021 season. Last season, Poznanski had an 8-1 record but missed most of the season after suffering an injury. Poznanski used his time off to recover and come back stronger. He has high goals for himself and the team for this upcoming season.
"This year, I feel really healthy now. I took the year to get stronger, to get bigger, to get better mentally and I'm really excited to wrestle this year," Poznanski said. "I really do believe this year I could be a national champion. I really feel that this is going to be a really good year for me and the team."
The Knights were also active in the transfer portal, adding graduate student 285-pounder Yaraslau Slavikouski from Harvard, graduate student 141-pounder Mitch Moore from Oklahoma and graduate student 149-pounder Jacob Butler, who is also from the Sooners.
Slavikouski had a 30-6 record last season and is a two-time NCAA Qualifier. He won a bronze medal at the 2023 EIWA Championships and is also a member of the Belarus National Team.
Moore is a four-time NCAA Qualifier who has 80 collegiate wins throughout his career. Moore touted the experience he brings to the team.
"I feel like I bring a good amount of experience to the room," Moore said. "I just hope these young guys pay attention to it, see the stuff that I do and it rubs off on them."
Butler is an NCAA Qualifier who has earned 37 collegiate wins during his time with Oklahoma.
Head coach Scott Goodale returns for his 17th season on the Banks and expressed excitement regarding the team he has for this upcoming season.
"We return a lot of guys, and we bring in a lot of experience," Goodale said.
Rutgers will look to start its season on the front foot in a quad meet against Cal Poly and Duke in San Luis Obispo, California, on November 3.
"What's the next step for this program," Goodale rhetorically asked the press. "Knocking off one of the big four, knocking off the Big Ten powers," Goodale answered himself.
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