Rutgers coach Scott Goodale learned a lesson in 2011 when the Scarlet Knights wrestled in Philadelphia at the NCAA national level. Four years later, there is a stronger plan at Madison Square Garden and 10 qualifiers ready for action.
Goodale, who took over the Rutgers wrestling program in 2007, leads 10 qualifiers into the NCAAs with former All-Americans Anthony Ashnault and Anthony Perrotti as headliners. Ashnault has national title aspirations after he won a Big Ten championship two weeks ago and Rutgers, as a team, plans to represent itself well in New York.
"We made a mistake in 2011 as a staff where we went down, we stayed [at Rutgers] as long as possible and then went down late Wednesday night and showed up on the arena floor Thursday morning," Goodale said. "We're not going to do that. ... We'll have plenty of time where we're at the Garden training and getting prepared. ... We made that mistake in 2011 thinking that it would be better to stay home and stay out of the atmosphere, but we're going to put these guys right in the middle of it and I'm sure they'll handle it."
Rutgers qualified nine wrestlers through Big Ten action and 125-pound Sean McCabe hauled in an at-large bid last week.
"For him to get in, to have 10 guys in, you sit back a little bit and think 'wow,'" Goodale said. "We're one of three programs with Oklahoma State and Nebraska. It's a cool thing but that's all it is. Ten guys qualified. How you do when you get there, that's another message we sent. It's about winning matches there."