EAST STROUDSBURG, Pa. – The Rutgers wrestling team concluded its season at the 2007 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships on Saturday at Case Gym on the campus of East Stroudsburg University.
Rutgers finished 11th in the team standings with 19.5 points, while Cornell won the conference title with 125.5 points, crowning two league champions. Navy was second with 106 points, the only other team to surpass the 100-point mark. The University of Pennsylvania led all teams with three individual championships.
Junior Mike Whalen (Lake Hiawatha, N.J.) was the lone Scarlet Knight to compete on the second day of competition, posting a sixth-place finish in the tournament. In the consolation semifinals, Whalen fell to Pennsylvania's Matt Herrington. Herrington tallied nearly four minutes of riding time in the 6-2 decision to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships to be held March 15-17 at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hill, Mich.
In the fifth-place bout, Whalen dropped an 8-2 decision loss to Rudy Rueda of American University.
In the first day of competition, following a first-round loss, Whalen rattled off three-straight decision wins to land in the consolation semifinals. He first won an 8-3 decision over John Clore, before a 4-2 win over Lehigh's Dave Helfrich. In the consolation quarterfinals, he won a tight 3-2 match over Army's Brent Smith, an opponent he fell to earlier in the year.
Rutgers recorded its first 10-win season since the 2003-04 campaign, finishing the year with a 10-6 mark, including a 5-3 performance against EIWA opponents. Seventeenth-year head coach John Sacchi became the all-time winningest coach in program history, tallying his 159th career win at the helm of the Scarlet Knight program at Franklin & Marshall on Jan. 6. Before the victory, Sacchi was tied with the late former coach Deane Oliver. Oliver led Rutgers to a 158-147-9 record in 21 years of coaching (1969-1990) and had a winning percentage of .511. Sacchi's current record of 167-102-5 moves him to the top spot in program history with a winning percentage of .619.