PISCATAWAY, NJ – The Rutgers University wrestling team held its annual awards banquet on Wednesday night and announced its major award winners. The team, which posted a 10-6 record, placed sixth at the EIWA Championships and sent four wrestlers to the NCAA Tournament, enjoyed one of the most successful seasons in recent history on many levels.
A pair of NCAA participants shared the Most Valuable Wrestler award. Junior Greg Austin (Seaville, NJ) and sophomore Andy Roy (Wall, NJ) shared the award after making return trips to Nationals. Austin, who was bothered by a knee injury during the second half of the season, posted a 23-9 record at 149, including a 9-2 record in duals. He also took third at both the Brockport and Navy tournaments and finished fourth at EIWAs, earning an at-large berth to the NCAA meet. Roy, in his second season at 174, was 22-7 overall and 11-1 in dual action. He placed third at Brockport, fourth at Navy and second at EIWAs.
Junior Amir Khan (Voorhees, NJ), who placed third at the EIWA meet and earned an at-large spot at Nationals in his first season as a starter, was honored with the Nist-Sachsel Memorial Trophy, given annually to the team’s most improved wrestler. Khan posted an 11-7 record as the 157-pound backup in 2001-2002, but finished 20-13 this season as the starter. Unseeded entering the tournament, he also finished third at the EIWA meet and earned RU’s most surprising spot in the national tournament.
Austin also earned the Wilfred-Cann Award as the team’s most inspirational athlete. Battling through knee injuries, which forced him out of several matches this season and hampered his ability to compete at Nationals, Austin was still among the team’s top performers and will be fully healthy in 2003-2004 following off-season surgery.
Senior Frank Sabatino (Hazlet, NJ) received the Loyal Knight Award for his four years of dedication to the program. The hard-working heavyweight enjoyed his finest season in 2002-2003, posting a 23-13 record which included a first-place finish at the Hitchcock Classic, a third-place finish at Navy and a sixth-place finish at EIWAs. He ended his Rutgers career with 75 wins.
The 2003 Leadership Award was presented to senior Ryan McGrath (Blairstown, NJ). McGrath, in his second season with the Scarlet Knights, returned to the NCAA Tournament after posting a 25-10 record at 197 pounds. He was ranked in the top 20 nationally for much of the season and won 12 of his first 13 matches after the holiday break. He also placed fourth at EIWAs.
MVP Greg Austin and Andy Roy
Most Improved Amir Khan
Most Inspirational Greg Austin
Loyal Knight Award Frank Sabatino
Leadership Award Ryan McGrath