No. 12 Wrestling, No. 11 Lehigh Collide in NWCA National Dual Championship Series

Feb. 15, 2017

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – No. 12 Rutgers wrestling and No. 11 Lehigh will re-match in the 2017 NWCA National Dual Championship Series, presented by The United States Marines Corps and Theraworx, this Friday at 7 p.m. in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The dual will be streamed live by Trackwrestling and covered on the radio by WRSU 88.7 FM.

Last season, RU defeated No. 7 Lehigh at the RAC, 18-15, in a thrilling NWCA National Duals showdown that came down to a heavyweight victory from Billy Smith to seal the dual win.

Match Notes - Dual #17Get Acrobat Reader

No. 11 Lehigh Mountain Hawks (9-4, 7-1 EIWA)
Date Friday, Feb, 17
Time 7 p.m. ET
Location

Bethlehem, Pa.  | Leeman-Turner Arena at Grace Hall

TV N/A
Live Stream Trackwrestling
Radio WRSU 88.7 FM
Statistics Rutgers | Lehigh
Live Updates Twitter - @RUWrestling

Despite trailing in the all-time series, RU has won two of three duals against the Mountain Hawks. Rutgers has never prevailed on the road against Lehigh.

Lehigh is the sixth ranked opponent RU will face this season. The Scarlet Knights are 1-4 against ranked foes, with three of the team's four losses this year coming against top-10 opponents.

Five individuals are ranked by Intermat entering Friday's dual, including No. 5 Anthony Ashnault (141), No. 13 Nicholas Gravina (184), No. 14 Ken Theobold (149), No. 17 John Van Brill (157) and No. 19 Jordan Pagano.

RU closed the regular season with a 28-6 thrashing of Northwestern last weekend at the RAC. It completed the first unbeaten season at home for the program since 2013-14.

Ashnault has won 11-straight matches entering this weekend. Seventeen of Ashnault's 23 wins (74 percent) have come by bonus points this season. Ashnault has six major decisions, four falls, and seven technical falls.

No. 12 Rutgers Projected Competitors

Wt.

Name

Yr.

Hometown

Overall Record (Dual)

125

Brandon Paetzell

Fr.

Phillipsburg, N.J.

14-7 (6-4)

133

Scott DelVecchio *

R-Jr.

South Plainfield, N.J.

17-10 (7-5)

141

No. 5 Anthony Ashnault **

R-Jr.

South Plainfield, N.J.

23-3 (15-1)

149

No. 14 Ken Theobold **

R-Sr.

Toms River, N.J.

18-6 (11-3)

-OR-

Anthony Giraldo *

R-So.

Guttenberg, N.J.

16-6 (3-2)

157

No. 17 John Van Brill

R-So.

Mullica Hill, N.J.

20-8 (11-3)

165

Willie Scott

R-Fr.

Brick, N.J.

15-8 (4-4)

-OR-

Anthony Pafumi

R-Sr.

Westfield, N.J.

9-12 (1-3)

-OR-

Dylan Painton

R-Jr.

South Plainfield, N.J.

9-8 (0-2)

174

No. 19 Jordan Pagano

R-So.

South Brunswick, N.J.

23-7 (5-1)

-OR-

Phillip Bakuckas *

R-Sr.

Hammonton, N.J.

12-6 (6-5)

184

No. 13 Nicholas Gravina *

R-Jr.

Allendale, N.J.

17-7 (10-5)

197

Matthew Correnti

Fr.

Delran, N.J.

13-10 (8-6)

HWT

Razohnn Gross

Jr.

Franklin Park, N.J.

11-8 (6-6)

-OR-

Ralph Normandia

R-So.

Somerset, N.J.

4-2 (0-1)

*denotes previous NCAA Championships qualifications

No. 11 Lehigh Projected Competitors

Wt.

Name

Yr.

Overall Record (Dual)

125

No. 5 Darian Cruz**

Jr.

21-2 (12-1)                 

133

No. 9 Scott Parker*

So.

11-2 (6-1)

141 

No. 16 Randy Cruz***

Sr.

18-5 (10-3)

149

No. 12 Laike Gardner**

Sr.

16-7 (8-4)

157

No. 4 Jordan Kutler

Fr.

13-1 (7-0)

 -OR-

Drew Longo

Jr.

9-6 (3-3)

165

No. 15 Mitch Minotti**

Sr.

15-3 (3-1)

-OR-

Cole Walter

Fr.

17-6 (1-1)

174

No. 4 Ryan Preisch*

So.

19-2 (11-1)

184

Andrew Price

Fr.

8-9 (1-3)

197

Thomas Murray

So.

7-10 (0-2)

HWT

No. 16 Doug Vollaro*

Sr.

14-6 (8-4)

*denotes previous NCAA Championships qualifications

Scouting Lehigh
Lehigh and the Scarlet Knights meet in the NWCA Dual Championship Series for the second-straight year. This season's edition of the Mountain Hawks enter the dual 9-4 overall and 7-1 in EIWA action. Lehigh's only loss in conference came against Cornell, 21-20.

Eight Lehigh wrestlers sport top-20 rankings ahead of Friday's match, three of which are All-Americans.

No. 5 125-pounder Darian Cruz earned All-America status by finishing seventh at NCAAs in 2014. No. 16 141-pounder Randy Cruz finished seventh at NCAAs last season for his first All-America honor. No. 15 165-pounder Mitch Minotti is the only two-time All-American in the lineup, finishing sixth in 2014 and eighth in 2015.

Other Mountain Hawks ranked include No. 9 133-pounder Scott Parker, No. 12 149-pounder Laike Gardner, No. 4 157-pounder Jordan Kutler, No. 4 174-pounder Ryan Preisch and No. 16 heavyweight Doug Vollaro.

Lehigh and Rutgers have wrestled four common opponents with the same results this season. Like RU, Lehigh also beat Princeton and fell to Cornell, Penn State and Michigan.

Series vs. the Mountain Hawks
Rutgers and Lehigh have wrestled 45 times since 1941, with Lehigh owning a 42-3 all-time advantage. The Scarlet Knights have won two of the last three meetings, most recently last season in the NWCA Dual Championship Series.

Last year, RU defeated No. 7 Lehigh at the RAC, 18-15, in a thrilling NWCA National Duals showdown that came down to a heavyweight victory from Billy Smith to seal the dual win.

Prior to last season's meeting, Lehigh topped Rutgers by a 27-9 margin at home on Feb. 8, 2014. In 2013, RU pulled out the upset, 17-16, with a decision at heavyweight from Billy Smith for its first victory over the Mountain Hawks since 1950.

Rutgers goes for its first win at Lehigh in series history Friday.

Rutgers Rematch
Ashnault is 2-0 all-time against Randy Cruz. Ashnault won last year's dual meeting, 9-2, at the RAC and earned All-America status in 2015 with a 3-2 win over the Mountain Hawk.

NWCA National Dual Championship Series
The full schedule of NWCA National Dual Championship Series matchups is listed below.

Friday, February 17
#12 Rutgers at #11 Lehigh, 7 p.m. Eastern
#16 Michigan at #7 NC State, 7 p.m. Eastern
Purdue at #17 South Dakota State, 7 p.m. Central

Saturday, February 18
#3 Iowa at #24 Edinboro, 7 p.m. Eastern

Sunday, February 19
#4 Ohio State at #8 Cornell, 1 p.m. Eastern
#2 Penn State at #1 Oklahoma State, 3 p.m. Central
Indiana at #20 Appalachian State, 3 p.m. Eastern
#6 Nebraska at #5 Virginia Tech, 7 p.m. Eastern

Follow Rutgers Athletics on Facebook (www.facebook.com/RutgersAthletics) and Twitter (@RUAthletics) for all of the latest news and updates. For specific updates regarding Rutgers wrestling, follow the program on Twitter (@RUWrestling) and Instagram (@RUWrestling). Fans can receive timely information, including special offers and giveaways throughout the year on our social media outlets along with www.ScarletKnights.com.


 

 

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