Head coach John Sacchi completed his 16th season as the leader of the Rutgers wrestling program and guided a youthful and exciting Scarlet Knight team to a seven win season. Sacchi has consistently been able to get the most out of his wrestlers and with junior Steve Adamcsik's trip to the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City, OK, Sacchi delivered a qualifier to the NCAAs for the fourth straight season, and during his 16 years, RU has sent competitors to the NCAA Championships in 12 of them.
The 2005-2006 Scarlet Knight wrestling team featured a savvy veteran in fifth-year 184-pound senior Rudy Medini, up-and-coming stars in 141-pound junior Steve Adamcsik and 157-pound redshirt-sophomore Jamie Lijo and surprise contributors in freshman starters 174-pounder Mike Whalen, 165-pounder Matt Pletcher, 197-pounder Lamar Brown, 133-pounder Kellen Bradley and heavyweight Mike D'Amico.
RU had the daunting task of replacing impact performers in graduates Andy Roy and Chris Ressa; however, the emergence of Adamcsik and Lijo and the addition of the four starting freshman gave Rutgers the chance to see pieces of the program's bright future during the 2005-2006 season.
Rudy Medini returned from an injury and in his return to the mat, the senior capped off his career with an impressive tournament and season record. Medini wrestled to a record of 23-7 in this his final season on "the Banks" and stands alone in 22nd place all-time on the Rutgers career victories list with 72. Medini took first-place honors at the 2005 Navy Classic and was the runner-up at the 2005 Brockport-Oklahoma Gold Classic. Medini was Rutgers' lone representative at the prestigious Midlands Championships in late December, wrestling to a 2-2 mark.
Medini’s effort and leadership qualities allowed multiple members of the Rutgers team to step up and help guide a young Rutgers corp.
In this his third season as a member of the Rutgers wrestling team, Adamcsik competed to a team-leading record of 28-8 and was Rutgers representative at the NCAA Championships in Oklahoma City after earning a wild-card bid in the highly competitive 141-pound weight class. The junior emerged as RU’s most consistent wrestler throughout the season and his 25-4 regular season mark should give justice to his consistency and work ethic. Adamcsik won the 141-pound title at the 2005 Wilkes Open and earned the tournaments Most Outstanding Wrestler Award. He finished as the runner-up at the 2005 Navy Classic and closed out his break-through regular season on a 20-match winning streak.
Lijo closed out his season with a 20-16 mark and his eight victories by way of pin-fall were tops on the Scarlet Knight roster. He finished fifth at the Brockport-Oklahoma Gold Classic and his ability to pin his opponents helped RU in a number of their victories throughout the season.
With just one senior, Sacchi was forced to rely heavily on a group of freshmen that had seen minimal mat-time in their intercollegiate experiences; however, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. D’Amico, Whalen, Bradley, Brown and Pletcher were all able to contribute on legitimate levels in this their first full seasons “On The Banks,” and the group of five combined for 53 victories on the season.
D’Amico led the freshman contingency with 16 victories on the season and his nine victories in tournament action were good for fourth on the team. The transfer heavyweight from Fordham finished in third at the 2005 Navy Classic in mid-November and followed that with a sixth-place finish at the Wilkes Open on December 28.
Whalen, despite battling some nagging injuries was an anchor towards the back of the RU lineup. The redshirt-freshman finished his first full season with 14 victories and finished with a winning record in both his tournament and dual meet slates. Whalen’s success dates all the way back to his second-place performances at both the 2005 Wilkes Open and Brockport-Oklahoma Gold Classic.
Rutgers’ final record is deceiving because despite some of their losses, the mat-experience that RU’s freshman and sophomores received will pay immediate dividends in the 2006-2007 season, and for years to follow.