PISCATAWAY, N.J. (Dec. 7, 2012) – Rutgers wrestling head coach Scott Goodale announced Friday the signing of six future Scarlet Knight student-athletes that will begin wrestling “On the Banks” in the fall of 2013. The group has been ranked as the 11th-best signing class in the nation, according to Amateur Wrestling News (AWN).
Four wrestlers from the group have received Top 100 national recognition during their high school careers. The class includes two wrestlers from New Jersey, two from Pennsylvania and one each from Florida and Ohio.
The class consists of 141-pounder Anthony Ashnault (South Plainfield, N.J.), 184-pounder Garrett Conner (Centerville, Ohio), 141-pounder Tyson Dippery (Central Dauphin, Pa.), 157-pounder Nick Gravina (Northern Highlands, N.J.), 184-pounder Taylor Jackson (The Villages, Fla.) and 125-pounder Joshua Patrick (Ligonier Valley, Pa.).
Ashnault has been recognized as one of the top wrestlers in the nation heading into his senior season at South Plainfield High School with an unblemished 130-0 record and three NJSIAA State Championships individual titles. He was selected as the No. 10 overall wrestler in the 2013 class by Intermat. A five-star recruit according to AWN, Ashnault received billing as the nation’s No. 28 overall recruit in the magazine’s Top 100. The younger brother of former RU standout and current director of wrestling operations Billy Ashnault, he could become the “Garden State’s” first-ever four-time, undefeated state champion. Ashnault has claimed the state’s top honors at 103 pounds, 112 pounds and 126 pounds in his career. He was ranked as the fifth-best 145-pounder in the nation by W.I.N. Magazine. He has also excelled in the freestyle and Greco-Roman arenas, notching multiple All-America honors at the FILA Cadet and Junior Nationals in Fargo, N.D. Ashnault is coached scholastically by former Scarlet Knight Kevin McCann.
Conner placed fifth at 195 pounds at the 2012 OHSAA Championships after achieving national recognition with a NHSCA Freshman Nationals title at 189 pounds in 2010. He notched a fifth-place finish at 195 pounds at the junior edition of the NHSCA event in 2012. The “Buckeye State” grappler additionally posted an impressive 12-1 record during the 2012 Disney Duals at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla., this past summer. Conner was additionally a standout linebacker for his Centerville High School squad. He was coached scholastically by Alan Bair.
Dippery was selected as a Top 100 recruit according to Intermat and AWN with respective No. 41 and No. 55 rankings. He has held a strong presence on the national level over the last two seasons, claiming championships at the NHSCA Nationals as a sophomore and junior. He also placed at the PIAA Class AAA State Championships during those seasons. As a junior, Dippery took state runner-up honors at 126 pounds. He has compiled a record of 136-12 in his first three seasons at Central Dauphin High School. AWN additionally tabbed Dippery as a four-star wrestler. He has placed third at the nationally renowned Beast of the East Tournament three years in a row. He was ranked as the 11th-best 138-pounder in the nation by W.I.N. Magazine. Dippery is coached scholastically by Jeff Sweigard.
Gravina, a Top 100 recruit according to Intermat with with a No. 91 ranking, has twice placed at the NJSIAA State Championships. Last season, he scored a fourth-place state finish at 145 pounds, while also placing third at the NHSCA Nationals. In 2010, he placed fifth in the state at 125 pounds. He was ranked as the 15th-best 152-pounder in the nation by Intermat. He is coached scholastically by Rick Babitts.
Jackson has claimed two FHSAA Class 2A State Championships individual titles for Citrus High School, climbing as high as No. 95 overall in the country according to Intermat. He has additionally garnered attention on the national stage with an All-America performance at the FILA Cadet Nationals in Fargo, N.D., and an All-America finish at the NHSCA Nationals as a sophomore. He was ranked as the 12th-best 182-pounder in the nation by W.I.N. Magazine. Jackson was named the Citrus County Chronicle Wrestler of the Year after last season’s state title-winning performance. He is coached scholastically by Chris Kelly.
A NHSCA Nationals champion last season at 113 pounds, Patrick has twice placed at the PIAA Class AA State Championships. He has compiled an 83-18 record through the first three years of his high school career. Patrick is coached scholastically by Brian Matson.
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