RU’s 6-8 dual meet record is deceiving as the Scarlet Knights felt the effects of a depleted roster with injuries riddling the program throughout the season. The loss of key figures in the Scarlet Knights’ dual starting lineup set the stage for determined underclassmen, who came through with impressive efforts in several matches during the season against more experienced opposition. As the season wore on, so did the line in the trainer’s office, but several unheralded freshmen and sophomores stepped in, replacing veterans with admirable performances.
With the dual season complete the focus turned to the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships where Roy and fellow senior Chris Ressa powered Rutgers to an eighth place finish in the highly-competitive conference tournament.
Roy completed his stellar career at Rutgers as the first Scarlet Knight ever to qualify for the NCAA Championships all four seasons of eligibility. For the second-straight year, he fell just one match short of earning All-America status, but completed one of the most decorated careers of any Scarlet Knight in program history. Roy finished with a 25-5 overall record as a senior and completed his second-consecutive perfect dual meet record this past winter. Roy ended his career with an outstanding 102-27 record as a Scarlet Knight, which ranks him ninth on the Rutgers all-time wins list. He was a three-time EIWA Championship finalist. He ranked near the top of the 174-pound weight class throughout his career at Rutgers, culminating as the ninth-ranked wrestler in his weight class at the end of his career.
Ressa earned his first trip to the NCAA Championships this season after placing third at 184 pounds at the EIWA Championships. The senior ended the 2004-05 season with 19 victories, finishing his career with 80 wins, placing 21st on the RU all-time wins list.
Fellow senior John Foscolo has been the regular starter for the Scarlet Knights at 197 pounds the past two seasons. He was victimized by injury throughout the season, limiting him to just 16 matches this year.
All three seniors displayed the true meaning of the phrase “team player” bumping up weight classes at various points during the season to prevent the Scarlet Knights from forfeiting the weight class and surrendering valuable points to the opposition. Foscolo made a decision to sacrifice the 197-pound weight class to compete in the 285-pound weight bracket in his final EIWA Championships so the Scarlet Knights would have an opportunity to score in all 10 weight classes in one of the most important events of the season. Although his performance did not result in a bid to the NCAA Championships, it was an example of the dedication every member of the program made several times throughout the season to help Rutgers achieve its best possible team result.
The Scarlet Knights welcomed Foscolo’s decision to compete in the 285-pound weight class as they had been left crippled at the weight class following the loss of sophomore 2003-04 NCAA qualifier Ramel Meekins and freshman John Slevin early in the season. Meekins was one of two of RU’s three returning NCAA qualifiers, joining senior Rudy Medini, to red-shirt the season with injuries.
Sacchi looked to his young group to step in and fill holes with nine freshmen and sophomores seeing time in dual action. Several individuals were impressive throughout the season, highlighted by red-shirt sophomore Gene Zannetti and newcomer Mike Ferrara.
Coming off a red-shirt season in 2003-04, Zannetti assumed the starting duties at 157 pounds, replacing NCAA qualifier starter Amir Khan who graduated last season. Zannetti was sharp all season, opening the year with a pair of second-place finishes at the Brockport and Navy tournaments. He finished fourth at the EIWA Championships, earning a spot as an alternate for the NCAA Championships. Zannetti compiled a 16-10 record in 2004-05 with a team-best four technical falls.
Ferrara, the sophomore transfer from Wilkes University, finished with 15 wins this season, including a fourth-place finish at 149 pounds at the Navy Classic in November.
Several other individuals shined for Rutgers at various points during the season, showing the resiliency of the Scarlet Knights faced with a depleted roster throughout the 2004-05 campaign.
The effect of a talented, well-respected senior class will be felt for sometime, but the promise of a young, healthy squad returning next winter brings high hopes for Sacchi and the Scarlet Knights.