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'I'm going to be a national champ': John Poznanski has been crucial to No. 13 Rutgers wrestling's success

Junior 197-pounder John Poznanski has made an immense impact during his time with the Rutgers wrestling team. – Photo by Elliot Dong

Junior 197-pounder John Poznanski has been key to the Rutgers wrestling team's recent success. Poznanski is in his fourth season with the Scarlet Knights (10-3, 3-2) and has made an immense impact during his time on the Banks.

Poznanski, who hails from Colonia, could not be any happier with his decision to wrestle at No. 13 Rutgers.

"All my friends and my family are able to come watch me wrestle, and (I) just get to wrestle in front of all the New Jersey fans," Poznanski said. "We have the best fans in the country, I believe, and being able to wrestle at Jersey Mike's Arena in front of all those people is awesome."

During his time at his alma mater, Poznanski recorded 164 wins and was a 2020 state champion for his respective weight class.

Once Poznanski came to wrestle for the Knights, he had a breakout freshman campaign, finishing fourth at the NCAA Championships for the 184-pound weight class and earning All-American honors.

Poznanski built off his success the next season, earning nine ranked wins and qualifying for the NCAA Championships once again. He finished the season with a 20-8 record.

Poznanski started off the 2022-23 season with a strong 8-1 record but ultimately suffered a season-ending injury. He used the time off to recover, get stronger and move up to the 197-pound weight class.

"I think this year going up a weight class really helped me. I was able to put more muscle on, I feel stronger (and) my technique feels better," he said. "Just moving up a weight class and taking that year of redshirt to build mentally, get healthy physically, just helped me overall in all aspects."

This season, Poznanski owns a 12-1 record and has defeated four ranked opponents. Despite the impressive record, Poznanski does not let it affect his preparation for each match.

"The next match is my next match. I'm 0-0, that’s how I think of it," he said. "My preparation is really key, I'd say. Day before, two days before, three days before, taking care of my body, being able to be prepared for every match — that's something that has led me to where I am now, and I'll continue through the rest of the year."

Head coach Scott Goodale, who is in his 17th season with Rutgers, has helped Poznanski improve throughout his collegiate career.

"(Goodale is) a great coach," Poznanski said. "He knows how to work with these guys."

Poznanski does not change his play style against ranked opponents but instead focuses on sticking to the same mindset heading into every bout.

"I focus more on myself than the other guy. If I can get on their legs first, that means they're not on my legs," Poznanski said. "So, being able to do what I do and control the match — working my hand fight, get to their legs, get to my wrists on top, all those little things — I know I'll win, and I’ll open on top."

With the 2023-24 season coming to a close, Poznanski has all eyes set on March.

"I'm going to be a national champ — that's my goal," he said. "I wanna be a Big Ten champ. Let's do it again next year, and do it again the year after that, but every year starts with right now."

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

To view more of Matthew Mangam's work, follow @matthewmangam on X.

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