Rutgers Wrestling: Scarlet Knights host Illinois

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Last year’s 149-point national champion Anthony Ashnault fires up the Rutgers fans before Friday night’s match against Cornell. Asbury Park Press

The Rutgers University wrestling team will get two opportunities this weekend to extend its streak of winning seasons to 14 and avoid its first non-winning dual-meet season under 13th year head coach Scott Goodale.  

First, the Scarlet Knights (8-5, 3-40 will take on Illinois (7-3, 4-2) Friday at 7 p.m. at the Rutgers Athletic Center in a Big Ten Conference match.  This is the second-to-last home match of the season for Rutgers. 

Sunday, Rutgers will make the short trip across state and wrestle at surging Rider University (9-2) at 7 p.m.  in a nonconference match. 

Rutgers, ranked No. 25 nationally, has lost its last two matches, four of five and five out of seven  It has four dual meets remaining, including the two this weekend. 

The last two defeats to Purdue and Michigan have come in the last bout of the match. 

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An overtime defeat in the final bout at 141 coupled with an overtime setback at heavyweight led to the defeat against Purdue on Jan. 26 and left Goodale very frustrated.

Scarlet Knights: Rutgers wrestling loss to Purdue upsets coach Scott Goodale

Michigan heavyweight Mason Parris, ranked No. 2 in the nation, pinned in the final bout to give the Wolverines a 21-16 win over Rutgers at Madison Square Garden on Feb. 1.  A 2-1 loss at 125 pounds was also a major factor in that defeat for Rutgers. 

Against Illinois, there will be three bouts where ranked wrestlers will meet.

They are at 125, where Rutgers redshirt freshman Nicolas Aguilar (18-7) , who has lost three straight, will meet redshirt freshman Justin Cardani (12-6); 133, where Scarlet Knights’ freshman Sammy Alvarez (20-6) will meet three-time NCAA qualifier Travis Piotroski  (19-2) and 184, where Rutgers redshirt freshman Billy Janzer (17-5) will meet redshirt freshman Zac Braunagel (15-7). 

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RUTGERS (8-5, 3-4) VS. ILLINOIS (7-3, 4-2)



125: 20/25/17 Nicolas Aguilar (18-7) vs. NR/21/22 Justin Cardani (12-6)

133: 9/10/9 Sammy Alvarez (20-6) vs. 7/7/7 Travis Piotrowski (19-2)

141: JoJo Aragona (10-7) OR Zach Firestone (5-7) vs. 14/12/13 Dylan Duncan (15-6)

149: Gerard Angelo (12-10) OR Nick Santos (6-2) vs. Mousa Jodeh (2-12)

157: Michael VanBrill (16-12) vs. Eric Barone (8-11)

165: Brett Donner (15-11) OR Jackson Turley (11-5) vs. 14/14/17 Danny Braunagel (17-6)

174: Willie Scott (7-5) OR Anthony Olivieri (5-1) vs. 15/23/19 Joey Gunther (13-5)

184: 12/12/15 Billy Janzer (17-5) vs. 15/15/26 Zac Braunagel (15-7)

197: 19/19/20 Jordan Pagano (19-6) vs. Matt Wroblewski (8-11)

HWT: Alex Esposito (15-11) vs. 2/2/2 vs. NR/NR/25 Luke Luffman (13-6)

Rankings: Intermat/FloWrestling/TheOpenMat

Steven Falk covers scholastic football, wrestling and baseball for and is a life-long resident of the Shore area who loves the rich history of sports in the Shore area. 732-643-4267;

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