Rutgers wrestling upperweights show their might in win over Indiana

·6 min read

PISCATAWAY - Rutgers University wrestling coach Scott Goodale does not want to say it yet, but it sure looks like his team potentially has its best set of upper weights in his 15-season tenure .

Friday night, in the Scarlet Knights' 29-7 victory over Indiana in the Big Ten Conference opener before a crowd of 3,093 at Jersey Mike's Arena, the trio of John Poznanski (184), Jackson Turley (174) and Greg Bulsak (197) gave a glimpse of what they can do when they are all in the dual-meet lineup together.

Rutgers second-year freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski (left) defeated Indiana's D.J. Washington 4-2 in a matchup of top 10 ranked wrestlers Friday night in Rutgers' 29-7 win in the Big Ten Conference opener.
Rutgers second-year freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski (left) defeated Indiana's D.J. Washington 4-2 in a matchup of top 10 ranked wrestlers Friday night in Rutgers' 29-7 win in the Big Ten Conference opener.

"Let's see what they do at the national tournament,'' Goodale said. "I don't really want to compare groups, but we have two guys ranked in the top five in the country (Poznanski and Bulsak) and a returning All-American in Turley. It's a pretty good squad, but right now, it's about improving and let's get better.''

Rutgers (11-0, 1-0), ranked No. 12 nationally, won eight of the 10 bouts with four of them resulting in bonus points as it continued its best-ever start. Next is a visit to No. 16 Wisconsin Sunday at 1 p.m.

It was only the second time this season the three have been together in the dual-meet lineup. Turley was wrestling just his second dual of the season and fifth bout overall.

"It's important to get everybody back healthy,'' Goodale said. "This thing is tough enough, especially with everything going on (the pandemic). ''

'Good to see Poz tested'

Poznanski, the NCAA fourth-place finisher at 184 last year, dug down to record a come-from-behind 4-2 win over returning NCAA qualifier D.J. Washington in a matchup of unbeatens and top 10 ranked wrestlers.

Rutgers' 184-pounder John Poznanski (right), shown wrestling Indiana's D.J. Washington Friday night, rallied for a 4-2 win in a matchup of unbeaten and top-10 ranked wrestlers.
Rutgers' 184-pounder John Poznanski (right), shown wrestling Indiana's D.J. Washington Friday night, rallied for a 4-2 win in a matchup of unbeaten and top-10 ranked wrestlers.

Turley, the NCAA eighth-place finisher at 174 last year, put on a clinic of mat wrestling in a 20-2 technical fall win over Sean Grim.

Bulsak, who moved into the top 10 this week and was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Week after he won the Matmen Open championship on Dec. 30 with a win over Pitt's returning NCAA runner-up Nino Bonaccorsi, dominated Nick Willham with a 9-1 major decision.

"It's good to see Jackson (Turley) back. It was good to see Poz (Poznanski) tested, Bulsak tested. That was important. They're going to be tested from here on out, for sure,'' Goodale said.

Poznanski, after Washington recorded the first takedown, rode out Washington in the second period with a tough ride that included him getting two stall calls against Washington, which resulted in a point that tied the bout. He then escaped early in the third and got the riding time point at the end of the bout as he improved to 11-0.

"That was a confidence-builder on top,'' Poznanski said.

"That's the X factor (the ability to ride),'' Goodale said. "I think we're getting better as a team on top.''

Turley collected three sets of four back points and 12 in all. Turley had been sidelined since Nov. 13 before he returned and wrestled three bouts on the opening day of the Matmen Tournament. He then forfeited out of the wrestlebacks on the second day of that tournament.

"That was me pulling him in Chicago (the Matmen Open),'' Goodale. "He wasn't hurt. The deal was two matches (bouts). He actually wrestled three and then made the weight the next day. That's on me. I just think we need to be smart and get ready for this Big Ten season.''

Bulsak, who has shown he is very good on the mat, rode Willham through much of the bout and improved to 13-0. He is a four-time NCAA qualifier.

Robert Kanniard back on track

Two bouts before the upperweight trio, second-year freshman Robert Kanniard, gave himself a much-needed confidence boost and snapped a three-bout losing streak, with a 9-7 win over Derek Glincher.

Kanniard's win was Rutgers' third in a row from 141-157, fourth out of the first five and it extended the Scarlet Knights' lead to 14-3 at intermission.

Kanniard, who went 0-2 in the Matmen Tournament on Dec. 29, broke a 6-6 tie with an escape with 1:20 remaining. He clinched the win with a takedown on the right edge of the mat with 30 seconds remaining.

Second-year freshman Dylan Shawver began the match with an impressive 13-2 win over Jacob Moran.

After giving up the first takedown, Shawver recorded three takedowns and four back points on two sets of two points.

Related: Rutgers announces fan vaccination requirement, basketball schedule changes for Maine, CCSU

Indiana got on the board at 133 when two-time NCAA qualifier Brock Hudkins, who is ranked 18th in the nation by flowrestling.org, defeated second-year freshman Devon Britton 6-0.

Britton was taking the place of nationally-ranked Sammy Alvarez, who did not weigh in. Goodale said Alvarez is nursing an injury he sustained in the Matmen Open. Alvarez had forfeited out of the Matmen Open wrestlebacks on Dec. 30 after he lost in the quarterfinal the night before.

Related: Greg Bulsak of Rutgers wrestling makes a statement with Matmen Open 197-pound championship

Rutgers' second-year freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski (left), shown wrestling Army's Brad Laughlin on Dec. 10, could wrestle Indiana's D.J. Washington Friday night in a matchup of unbeaten, nationally-ranked wrestlers.
Rutgers' second-year freshman 184-pounder John Poznanski (left), shown wrestling Army's Brad Laughlin on Dec. 10, could wrestle Indiana's D.J. Washington Friday night in a matchup of unbeaten, nationally-ranked wrestlers.

Sebastian Rivera, a three-time NCAA top six finisher, extended the Scarlet Knights' lead to 8-3 with a dominant 19-5 major decision over returning NCAA qualifier Cayden Rooks as he improved to 13-0. All 11 of Rivera's on the mat wins have resulted in bonus points. He had defeated Rooks 6-1 last year in a Big Ten Tournament quarterfinal.

Rutgers' Sebastian Rivera (left) is shown taking Indiana's Cayden Rooks to the mat in the his 19-5 major decision win at 141 pounds in Rutgers' 29-7 win Friday night.
Rutgers' Sebastian Rivera (left) is shown taking Indiana's Cayden Rooks to the mat in the his 19-5 major decision win at 141 pounds in Rutgers' 29-7 win Friday night.

Redshirt senior Mike VanBrill returned to action after not participating in the Matmen Open with a 6-2 win over Graham Rooks in a matchup of returning NCAA qualifiers as he improved to 10-0

RUTGERS 29, INDIANA 7

125: Dylan Shawver (R) md. Jacob Moran 13-2

133: Brock Hudkins (I) d. Devon Britton 6-0.

141: Sebastian Rivera (R) md. Cayden Rooks 19-5

149: Mike VanBrill (R) d. Graham Rooks 6-2

157: Robert Kanniard (R) d. Derek Glincher 9-7.

165: Andrew Clark (R) d. Sammy Cokeley 3-0.

174: Jackson Turley (R) tf. Sean Grim 4:52 (20-2)

184: John Poznanski (R) d. D.J. Washington 4-2.

197: Greg Bulsak md. Nick Willham 9-1.

HWT: Jacob Bullock (I) md. Boone McDermott 10-1

EXTRA BOUTS

133: Noah Gochberg (I) d. Malcolm Robinson 8-6.

165: Kasper McIntosh (I) d. Jake Benner 3-2.

This article originally appeared on Asbury Park Press: Rutgers Wrestling: Upperweight trio from 174-197 dominates Indiana

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting