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NCAA Championships: Dylan Shawver, Yaraslau Slavikouski earn All-American honors

Graduate student 285-pounder Yaraslau Slavikouski of the Rutgers wrestling team defeated Yonger Bastida in his 8-3 decision to become an All-American for the first time in his collegiate career.  – Photo by Evan Leong

It was a busy Thursday and Friday for the Rutgers wrestling team, who competed in Sessions I, II, III and IV of the NCAA Championships at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Scarlet Knights (12-5, 4-4) had two wrestlers earn All-American honors. 

With the final session on Saturday, here's a rundown of how No. 14 Rutgers has performed thus far at the tournament.

Session I

No. 33 seed junior 149-pounder Michael Cetta started the day with a pigtail bout against No. 32 seed Jeff Boyd. Cetta got the 8-5 decision win in tiebreakers to advance to the first round of the championship bracket.

No. 16 seed junior 125-pounder Dean Peterson quickly followed up with a match against No. 17 seed Brett Ungar. The bout was tied at 1-1 after three periods of wrestling, but Ungar secured the 2-1 win to drop Peterson into the wrestlebacks. 

Big Ten champion No. 4 seed junior 133-pounder Dylan Shawver then took on No. 29 seed Jace Koelzer in a highly-anticipated contest. Shawver earned the 10-0 major decision shutout victory to move on to round two.

No. 15 seed graduate student 141-pounder Mitch Moore went up against No. 18 seed Cole Matthews and won 7-2. 

The Knights continued their positive start, as No. 16 seed senior 174-pounder Jackson Turley defeated No. 17 seed Max Maylor with a 7-3 decision. Turley pinned Maylor at the Big Ten Championships earlier this month. 

Rutgers suffered a scare in the next bout, as No. 21 seed sophomore 184-pounder Brian Soldano was injured and had to medically forfeit from the tournament. Soldano is currently being treated for his injuries and is in stable condition.

No. 14 seed junior 197-pounder John Poznanski and No. 13 seed graduate student 285-pounder Yaraslau Slavikouski ended Session I with 4-2 decision wins over their respective opponents.

Session II

The Knights did not perform as well in Session II.

Peterson defeated No. 33 seed Tristan Lujan with an 8-1 decision. 

Shawver kept his national title hopes alive as he fought for a narrow 1-0 win over No. 13 seed Kurt Phipps. It was a tight affair from start to finish, but Shawver secured the riding time point to get the job done. 

Moore's toughest test of the season was facing off against No. 2 seed Beau Bartlett. Moore was ultimately pinned in the second period to fall into wrestlebacks. 

It was tough sledding for Cetta against No. 1 seed Ridge Lovett. Lovett landed a pin in the first round, but Cetta was not out yet. He then took on No. 16 seed Kelvin Griffin and dominated in his 7-1 victory to move to round two of the consolation bracket.

Rutgers closed out Session II with losses from Turley, Poznanski and Slavikouski, as the three dropped into the consolation bracket. 

Session III

With only Shawver left in the championship bracket, Peterson began Session III with a second-round consolation bout against No. 2 seed Luke Stanich. Stanich showed his dominance with an 8-1 decision, ending Peterson's season. 

Shawver then had a challenge against No. 5 seed Dylan Ragusin in the quarterfinals. After falling to Ragusin twice earlier in the season and then defeating him 23-8 in the Big Ten title match, it was the fourth meeting this season between the two. Ragusin got the 9-3 win to advance to the semifinals, as Shawver dropped into the Blood Round. 

It was win or go home for Moore against No. 25 seed Cleveland Belton. Moore suffered a 6-3 defeat, ending his six-year collegiate career.

Cetta and Turley both lost in their consolation round two matches to end their seasons. 

The Knights would turn things around at the end of the session, as Poznanski and Slavikouski secured wins to advance to the Blood Round.

Heading into Session IV, Shawver, Poznanski and Slavikouski needed to win their next matches to earn All-American honors. 

Session IV

Shawver opened Session IV against No. 15 seed Brody Teske, which was the second meeting between the two this season. Shawver previously defeated Teske 12-6 in the semifinals of the Big Ten Championships. This time, Shawver won 6-3 to become an All-American for the first time in his collegiate career. He is the 26th All-American in program history and 18th under head coach Scott Goodale. 

"It means a lot, I put a lot of hard work for this moment," Shawver said. "When I was little, I probably never thought I was gonna be here, but now I'm here."

It was Poznanski's turn to tussle for the All-American laurel against No. 8 seed Stephen Buchanan. The bout was level at 1-1 after three periods of action. The tie could not be broken in sudden victory and headed to tiebreakers. Buchanan ultimately emerged victorious with a 2-1 decision to end Poznanski's weekend. 

Slavikouski had a difficult match against No. 2 seed Yonger Bastida in order to earn All-American honors. Slavikouski landed a second-period takedown and took a 3-1 lead and built off of that to hand Bastida his second defeat of the season, winning 8-3. Slavikouski achieved All-American status for the first time in his collegiate career. 

Shawver's night was not finished, as he took on No. 8 seed Evan Frost. Shawver trailed 4-3 after two periods but was able to make it a 6-6 affair, sending the bout to sudden victory. Shawver fell 9-6 but will compete in the seventh-place match in Session V.

Slavikouski ended Session IV with a clash against No. 6 seed Zach Elam. Slavikouski fell 2-0 but will wrestle for seventh place in Session V.

Rutgers will compete in Session V at 11 a.m. on Saturday, and the session will be broadcast on ESPN+ and 88.7 WRSU-FM.

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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