"That's the goal for the program," said assistant coach John Leonardis. "We want national champs and All-Americans. That's our No. 1 goal for sure. ... It would be meaningful for these guys individually. I think it would be great for our program to kind of establish us. Ultimately, that's what people are looking for."
Wrestler: Billy Ashnault
Weight Class: 141
Eligibility: Fifth-year senior
Hometown: South Plainfield, N.J.
Need to Know: Ashnault enters the NCAAs coming off the biggest win of his career in the EIWA Championships. Finishing four, Ashnault took down reigning Penn All-American Zack Kemmerer. Ashnault went 24-14 this season and leads Rutgers active wrestlers with 83 career wins.
Ashnault's Take: " Coach's Take: "I think Ashnault's wrestling his best of his career right now coming off the EIWA Tournament. ... He defeated Zack Kemmerer. In the Midlands Championships, he lost to an All-American. That was a big win for him. I think he proved he can make adjustments and has gotten better as the season [progressed]."
Wrestler: Mario Mason
Weight Class: 149
Hometown: Moorestown, N.J.
Need to Know: Mason finished one win away from All-American status in Philadelphia last season. A first-round win likely matches Mason up with No 2 Jamal Parks of Oklahoma State. Mason and Parks were set to square off earlier this season before the meet was cancelled after the tragic plane crash. Mason went 19-3 this season and finished in first place at the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational. Mason has an ankle injury, but hopes to be 100 percent before the tournament.
Mason's Take: "I'm feeling good enough to wrestler. I'm a little banged up. ... It's going to happen to everybody, so you just have to go out and fight through it and have a good tournament."
Coach's Take: "Mario Mason is super talented. There is no real hiding that. He's a technician. He's had a great season."
Wrestler: Scott Winston
Weight Class: 165
Hometown: Jackson, N.J.
Need to Know: Winston also finished one win away from All-American status last season and has a 7-6 overall record in his first two NCAA Championships. After going 19-6 this season, it is the first year Winston enters the NCAAs as an unseeded competitor.
Winston's Take: "It would be great if I could finally get that All-American status, not only for myself but for the state of New Jersey. I honestly feel like this team is New Jersey's team. Every year it becomes a little more imbedded into New Jersey wrestling fans."
Coach's Take: "He's been banged up this year a bit. He's got a tough situation, but it's a national tournament. There's no real easy spot in the bracket. He'll wrestler a kid he wrestled earlier in the year and lost to and follow it up by a five seed right after that. ... I think Scott's made some adjustments in his approach, the tactics of his match and I think that's going to help him."
Wrestler: Greg Zannetti
Weight Class: 174
Hometown: Edison, N.J.
Need to Know: Zannetti was the glue guy for Rutgers wrestling this season and the most consistent performer on the roster. He finished 30-4 this season with a first place mark in the Brockport/Oklahoma Invitational. Zannetti is the only wrestler of the five going to the NCAAs for the first time.
Zannetti's Take: "I'm excited to compete in my first national tournament. I'm just going to have some fun out there, just doing what I've been doing. Wrestler hard and just [go for] All-American."
Coach's Take: "This will be his first time at the tournament. ... He's got a chance to beat anybody. He just has to believe in himself and go out there and really let it hang out."
Wrestler: Dan Rinaldi
Weight Class: 197
Hometown: Lodi, N.J.
Need to Know: Rinaldi is headed to the NCAAs at 197 pounds for the first time after wrestling twice in lower weight classes. The fourth-year junior went 25-6 this season and has a 7-4 record against 2012 NCAA qualifiers at 197 pounds.
Rinadli's Take: "This is the whole season right here. I'm not trying to put too much pressure on it, but it would mean a lot to me to be on the podium for personal reasons. ... I think it's time to take a step up right now."
Coach's Take: "He's one of the most talented guys we have in the program and I think that he needs to believe in himself and just let it ride to the best of his ability."