PISCATAWAY, NJ – Behind a heroic victory from freshman Mike D’Amico (Kenilworth, NJ) at the heavyweight spot and a major decision from senior Rudy Medini (Colonia, NJ) at 184-pounds, the Rutgers University wrestling team defeated the Princeton Tigers and earned its first victory over an EIWA opponent this season on Friday evening at the College Avenue Gymnasium.
After freshman 197-pounder Lamar Brown (Red Bank, NJ) lost his match to Princeton’s Jake Butler, the Scarlet Knights trailed 19-21 heading into the evening final contest. D’Amico and Princeton’s Ian Roncoroni battled back and forth for the first two periods of the final match but at the 1:08 mark of the third period, D’Amico converted a two-point takedown that sealed the victory for the Scarlet Knights.
After splitting the first two matches of the night, 141-pound junior Steve Adamcsik (Chester, NJ) helped the Scarlet Knights regain the lead by defeating Eric Marcotulli of Princeton by way of a 3-1 decision. After a loss by sophomore Kyle Poulsen (Piscataway, NJ) in the 149-pound class, sophomore Jamie Lijo (Hopatcong, NJ) pinned Matt Piselli at 1:18 and gave the Scarlet Knights a jolt of energy.
Princeton followed Lijo’s victory by winning two consecutive bouts of its own and took the lead heading into the final three matches of the evening. Medini helped the Scarlet Knights keep pace by dropping Logan Lowe by an 11-2 major decision and despite Browns’ loss at 197, the Scarlet Knights came away victorious because of D’Amico’s heroics.
Coach John Sacchi credited sophomore Ryan Jablonski (Norristown, PA) and Lijo for earning pins over their respective opponents.
“The name of the game is pins and we got two of them and that was the difference,” Sacchi said. “Princeton was really up for this match and they came after us but our kids hung in there and they did what they had to do. We’ve just got to look ahead to tomorrow.”
D’Amico’s fortitude down the stretch pushed the Scarlet Knights to their first EIWA victory of the season, yet it was nothing new for the transfer-freshman.
“I have been in that position my entire life,” D’Amico said of competing in the final match of the night. “At the heavyweight spot, you have to be able to be aggressive, especially knowing that your team can win or lose, depending on the outcome of my match.”
With their respective victories, Medini and Adamcsik are tied for the team-lead in victories with 13 apiece.
The 2-2 Rutgers University wrestling team continues its three-match home stand when it hosts Franklin & Marshall, Wagner and Delaware State on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 12:00 p.m. at the College Avenue Gymnasium