PRINCETON, N.J. (March 4, 2012) – The Rutgers wrestling team placed four Scarlet Knights on the award stand in the third session of the 2012 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in Jadwin Gym on Sunday, with Billy Ashnault (South Plainfield, N.J.), Greg Zannetti (Edison, N.J.) and Daniel Rinaldi (Lodi, N.J.) putting the stamp on their automatic qualification for the 2012 NCAA Championships in St. Louis, March 15-17. Zannetti took third place at 174 pounds, while Ashnault and Rinaldi placed fourth at 141 pounds and 197 pounds, respectively.
Head coach Scott Goodale’s squad was in seventh place with 74.5 team points to conclude the session. Second-seeded Scott Winston (Jackson, N.J.), the returning EIWA champion at 165 pounds, is set to defend his title against No. 1 Brandon Hatchett of Lehigh in the event’s final session at 3 p.m. Winston’s qualification for the NCAA Championships is assured with the top four placewinners from the 165-pound class earning automatic bids.
Faced with double overtime against his weight’s top seed and his NCAA qualification already secured, Ashnault still saved his best for last. The senior Scarlet Knight reversed Penn’s Zack Kemmerer with two seconds left in the second portion of the first tie-breaker round to win by decision, 3-2. Ashnault had held off the returning Quaker All-American to a 1-1 tie through regulation and the sudden victory period.
Ashnault (24-14 overall) advanced to face third-seeded Stephen Dutton of Lehigh in the consolation finals, falling by a score of 7-3 to place fourth. The top six placewinners at 141 pounds were awarded automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships.
Zannetti cruised to his 15th bonus-point win of the season to lock up his automatic berth to the NCAA event. The 174-pound top seed scored an 8-0 major decision over No. 3 Stephen West of Columbia. In the third-place match, Zannetti (30-4 overall) won by medical forfeit over No. 2 Nathaniel Brown of Lehigh. The top four placewinners in the 174-pound division earned automatic qualification for the NCAA Championships.
Heading into the second day of competition, Rinaldi needed to win one match to clinch his spot in the 197-pound bracket of the NCAA Championships. The fifth-seeded Scarlet Knight went right to work, turning away Army’s seventh-seeded Derek Stanley by a score of 7-4. Rinaldi (25-6 overall) advanced to face No. 3 Joe Kennedy of Lehigh in the third-place match, dropping a 9-3 decision to the Mountain Hawk to place fourth. The top five placewinners at 197 pounds received automatic bids to the NCAA Championships.
Senior Dan Hopkins (Jackson, N.J.) finished his conference tournament run with a seventh-place showing at heavyweight. Hopkins (9-14 overall) used a takedown with 13 seconds remaining in the match to seal a 3-1 victory over No. 8 Daniel Mills of Army.
After all of the qualifying events have concluded, the NCAA Division I Wrestling Committee will meet in-person to select the remaining 40 at-large qualifiers, which will be announced on March 7. All weight classes will consist of 33 wrestlers. Mario Mason (Moorestown, N.J.), ranked sixth in the NCAA Division I Coaches Ranking (Feb. 21), will seek an at-large selection after injury defaulting from action at the EIWA Championships.
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2012 EIWA Championships – Rutgers Results (Day Two)
141 pounds: No. 6 Billy Ashnault (4-2, Fourth place)
Dustin Haislip (Navy) W-MD, 12-4
No. 3 Steven Dutton (Lehigh) L-D, 6-3
Casey Smith (Army) W-D, 1-0
Matt Bystol (Columbia) W-TF, 17-1 (6:34)
No. 1 Zack Kemmerer (Penn) W, D, 3-2 (TB1)
No. 3 Stephen Dutton (Lehigh) L-D, 7-3
165 pounds: No. 2 Scott Winston (3-0)
Sam Sheppard (Sacred Heart) W-F, 2:08
No. 7 Eren Civan (Columbia) W-D, 5-1
No. 6 Coleman Gracey (Army) W-D, 7-4
No. 1 Brandon Hatchett (Lehigh) Session IV
174 pounds: No. 1 Greg Zannetti (4-1, Third place)
Eric Gobin (Army) W-MD, 14-2
No. 8 Ian Korb (Penn) W-D, 3-2
No. 4 Oscar Huntley (Navy) L-D, 3-1 (SV)
No. 3 Stephen West (Coumbia) W-MD, 8-0
No. 2 Nathaniel Brown (Lehigh) W-Med. Forf.
197 pounds: No. 5 Dan Rinaldi (3-2, Fourth place)
Nicholas Mills (Columbia) W-TF, 16-1 (5:22)
No. 4 Daniel Mitchell (American) W-D, 4-1
No. 1 Cam Simaz (Cornell) L-MD, 17-4
No. 7 Derek Stanley (Army) W-D, 7-4
No. 3 Joe Kennedy (Lehigh) L-D, 9-3
HWT: No. 7 Dan Hopkins (3-2, Seventh place)
Marcos Aranda (Brown) W-D, 8-4
No. 2 Zachary Rey (Lehigh) L-F, 1:36
Alexander Henry (F & M) W-D, 2-1
No. 6 Daniel Miller (Navy) L-TF, 16-0 (5:24)
No. 8 Daniel Mills (Army) W-D, 3-1