The 2005-2006 Scarlet Knights can best be described as young and hungry. The team, which returns only one senior, Rudy Medini, is one that will look to overcome the injury bug that riddled its season just a year ago. The Scarlet Knights will certainly look to improve upon their 6-8 dual-meet record last year, but everything comes with time, as will the success of this youthful Scarlet Knight wrestling group. Medini returns as the captain, and he will certainly have to shake off the cobwebs from a 2004-2005 season that was cut short due to injury; however, head coach John Sacchi expects Medini to be the leader of this team, both on and off the mat. Ferrara himself had a tremendous 2004-2005 campaign after transferring to the State University of New Jersey from Wilkes University, earning 15 victories and finishing fourth at the Navy Classic last November. While improving upon last year’s record remains the number one objective for Sacchi and his team, remaining healthy may be just as important for this group, as it looks to put together a successful season in a highly-competitive Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Conference.
Ricky Ringel looks to have a strong hold on the 125-pound class. After a 2004-2005 season in which he went 9-9, Ringel is back and will have experience on his side. Ryan Jablonski, who wrestled at 133 last season, will drop down and push Ringel at the 125-pound class. Jablonski’s first season with the Scarlet Knights was up and down, but dropping to the lower weight class will push him in the right direction. Three-time state place-winner Kyle Milanese and state qualifier Joe Schmidt are two freshmen who have the ability to challenge the veteran returnees.
Andrew Cardella saw limited action in his first year with the Scarlet Knights, putting together a 5-5 record before his season was cut short due to an injury. Sophomore Dan Hilt, the potential starter in the 133-pound class before the season started, will most likely redshirt the 2005-2006 campaign. True freshman Kellen Bradley will join Cardella in the race for the starting role in the 133-pound weight class.
Sophomore Steve Adamcsik had a 12-15 record overall in 2004-2005 and his seven wins in tournament action tied him for third overall on the team. With a record of 24-20 during his time “On the Banks”, Adamcsik certainly has the experience and work ethic a productive wrestler needs. Sacchi explained it is clear that Adamcsik spent his summer preparing for this season and he looks to be at 100 percent and ready to go. Freshman Chris McIntyre will be right behind Adamcsik and should expect to see some mat time at the 141-pound class.
Junior Michael Ferrara and sophomore Kyle Poulsen return to man the 149-pound class. Ferrara, the team’s only junior, is coming off of a year in which he tied for the Scarlet Knight lead in wins with 14. Poulsen saw limited action at the 157-pound class and drops down in 2005-2006 to battle with Ferrara for mat time. The 149-pound class is one that is full of freshmen capable of making an impact. State qualifier Jack Barrett and Zubin Karimattam, along with Matthew Pletcher (third in state), will push for mat time in this strong weight class.
Joe Sacco wrestled at the 165-pound class last season, but in 2005-2006, he drops down to 157 and looks to improve upon an impressive season. Sacco went 13-13 on the year and led the Scarlet Knights with nine wins in tournament action. Jim Rosinski, who went 3-3 last year, and Jamie Lijo, who was 3-2, will compete with Sacco for the spot. Marcello Medini, who impressed with a 9-5 overall in 2004-2005, will be out for the first half of the season after undergoing surgery. Medini should recover in time to help the team during the second half of the season. Freshman and state qualifier Matthew Rigoglioso will add depth to this already solid weight class.
Robert Kaiser had a successful first season “On the Banks”. He finished the 2004-2005 campaign with a 9-6 overall record, including a 3-1 mark in duals. Kaiser should be a mainstay at the 165-pound class and because of the depth at the 157-pound class, he could be backed up by a teammate bumping up one weight class.
Michael Whalen is coming off of a year in which he only saw action in six matches. Whalen went 4-2 before being forced to redshirt due to an injury. Back and healthy, Whalen will be the starter at 174 and he will most likely be backed up by freshman Taurean Wilson, who had an impressive high school career at Burlington City in New Jersey.
Rudy Medini returns to the Scarlet Knights after a 2004-2005 season marred by injuries. Medini saw no mat time last season but returns with a vengeance to the Rutgers lineup. Medini owns a career record at Rutgers of 49-29 and enters this season ranked No. 5 at the 184-pound class by the NWCA/InterMat NCAA preseason individual rankings. Freshmen Chris Jones, a Piscataway native, and Mike Elshamy, of Brick, NJ, both state qualifiers, will battle it out to see who gets mat time behind a healthy Medini.
Coach Sacchi looks to a true freshman to man the 197-pound class. Lamar Brown, who won his district and regional titles while wrestling at Red Bank Regional in New Jersey, will most likely step into the starter role in his first year with the Scarlet Knights. Despite his highly decorated high school career, one in which he finished fourth at states, the question for Brown will be how quickly he can adjust from high school to collegiate wrestling. Freshman Taylor Gillan will challenge Brown at this spot. Freshman Abdu el Karim Mahmoud, sixth in the state, would also be in the mix, but his surgery this fall will force him to redshirt.
Sophomore Ramel Meekins has a strong hold on the heavyweight position. A member of the Rutgers football team, Meekins will return to wrestling action once his fall season comes to a close. Meekins is ranked No. 13 in the preseason NWCA/InterMat individual rankings and holds a career record of 16-11 as a Scarlet Knight. The backup position will be up for grabs for the Scarlet Knights and Sacchi expects Mike D’Amico, a transfer from Fordham, and freshmen Raleke Adibe and Zack Russo to compete for the second heavyweight spot.