NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – The Rutgers University wrestling team used the spirited crowd at the College Avenue Gymnasium to its advantage in rallying from an early deficit with 13-straight points in defeating Drexel Thursday night for its fourth-consecutive victory. The Scarlet Knights were playing their first home match in nearly a month following a season-long four-match road swing. Rutgers improves to 9-4 with the victory, while Drexel falls to 9-13.
Freshman Dan Hilt (Manalapan, NJ) scored a late third-period take-down to pull within one point at 4-3, but Drexel’s Rob Rebman earned the victory in the night’s opening bout at 125 pounds.
The Scarlet Knights found themselves in an early six-point hole after a loss at 133 pounds.
Senior Donnie Defilippis (New Providence, NJ) nearly erased the RU deficit in one match, coming within one point of a technical fall that would have earned RU five points. Defilippis, used a pair of near falls to post a 17-3 major decision over Chris Renninger at 141 pounds, closing the match to 6-4 in favor of Drexel. The senior, who entered the night ranked 13th in the nation, extended his winning streak to nine matches and improved his season record to 14-2.
The most exciting match of the night occurred at 149 pounds when Rutgers senior Greg Austin (Seaville, NJ) and Drexel’s Mark Cartella battled evenly throughout, taking the match to a second tiebreaker. Cartella used an escape in the second of the two 30-second tiebreakers to gain the 2-1 victory for the Dragons.
Senior Amir Khan (Voorhees, NJ) looked sharp in his fourth match back from injury, using a series of takedowns to record a 17-4 major decision over Drexel’s Ray Lamb. Khan’s fourth major decision of the season at 157 pounds sparked a 16-point turnaround that put the Scarlet Knights ahead by 11 points at 20-9.
Junior 165-pounder Chris Ressa (Andover, NJ) defeated Steve Beard, 6-2, and junior Andy Roy (Wall, NJ), ranked seventh nationally, won his 24th match of the season by forfeit. Junior Rudy Medini (Colonia, NJ) capped the run with a 9-6 decision of Pat Shufelt at 184.
Chris Jones, ranked third nationally, made things interesting for the Scarlet Knights with a pin of RU junior John Foscolo (South Plainfield, NJ) in 2:03. The six-point fall made the match 20-15 with one bout remaining, giving the Dragons a chance at the victory with a pin.
Freshman Ramel Meekins (Westwood, NJ) made sure that didn’t happen with an early take down on his way to a 7-3 victory over Chris Cowen to give Rutgers the 23-15 victory.
The Scarlet Knights will celebrate senior night next Wednesday when they host Princeton at the College Avenue Gymnasium.
Rutgers 23, Drexel 15 RU D
125 – Rob Rebman (D) dec. Dan Hilt (RU), 6-3 0 3
133 – Joe Cristaldi (D) dec. Dare Ajibade (RU), 10-4 0 6
141 – Donnie Defilippis (RU) maj. dec. Chris Renninger (D), 17-3 4 6
149 – Mark Cartella (D) dec. Greg Austin (RU), TB, 2-1 4 9
157 – Amir Khan (RU) maj. dec. Ray Lamb (D), 17-4 8 9
165 – Chris Ressa (RU) dec. Steve Beard (D), 6-2 11 9
174 – Andy Roy (RU) wins by forfeit 17 9
184 – Rudy Medini (RU) dec. Pat Shufelt (D), 9-6 20 9
197 – Chris Jones (D) pinned John Foscolo (RU), 2:03 20 15
285 – Ramel Meekins (RU) dec. Chris Cowen (D), 7-3 23 15