Rutgers Wrestling Hunts History in NCAAs

Rutgers wrestling's historic 2015-16 season reaches its apex this weekend in the hunt for national championships at Madison Square Garden's NCAA Championships. Coach Scott Goodale and his wrestlers are locked in after a strong showing and the first Big Ten title in program history two weeks ago.

Rutgers is beyond the "happy to be there stage." Ten NCAA qualifiers is a special accomplishment for wrestling coach Scott Goodale but qualifying means nothing if his wrestlers do not grapple up to expectations Thursday through Saturday at the NCAA Championships.

Whether it is championship contender Anthony Ashnault at 141 pounds or at-large 125-pound Sean McCabe, there are high expectations.

"One of the first things we’ve sent to recruits is a picture of all 10 of our guys going to the national tournament,’’ Goodale said. “At the end of the day, it’s about our guys. It’s about the 10 guys who did it. A lot of the guys we’re recruiting are friends with guys on our team."

Sending 10 to the tournament means a lot to Rutgers, but not as much as a potential weekend winning streak.

"I wasn't thinking about me," Ashnault on his win at the Big Ten Championships. "It was just excitement for my brothers here. We had nine guys going, and that's great. Then it was all hoping that [Sean McCabe] got in, and we're ready."

Goodale was not happy with the last performance in front of the local crowd -- a 2011 showing in Philadelphia. In the world's most famous arena, Goodale feels more prepared.

"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 National Competitors




Hometown/ High School

2015-16 Overall Record (Dual)


Sean McCabe


Ronkonkoma, N.Y./ Connetquot

14-14 (10-9)


No. 16 Anthony Giraldo


Guttenberg, N.J./ North Bergen

17-14 (11-9)


No. 4 Anthony Ashnault


South Plainfield, N.J./ South Plainfield

28-2 (18-1)


Tyson Dippery


Harrisburg, Pa./ Central Dauphin

18-13 (13-8)


No. 9 Richie Lewis


Toms River, N.J./ Toms River East

25-6 (16-1)


No. 7 Anthony Perrotti


Roseland, N.J./ West Essex

21-4 (18-2)


Phillip Bakuckas


Hammonton, N.J./ Hammonton

18-13 (10-9)


No. 15 Nicholas Gravina


Allendale, N.J./ Northern Highlands

21-9 (13-4)


Hayden Hrymack


Point Pleasant, N.J./ CBA

17-14 (11-9)


No. 12 Billy Smith


Wantage, N.J./ High Point

27-8 (17-4)

*rankings denote NCAA Championships seeding

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