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Rutgers looks to keep podium streak alive at NCAA Championships



Brian Soldano looks to cap his strong freshman campaign at nationals. Photo credit Rutgers Athletics

The 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships begin on Thursday and run through Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Seven wrestlers from Rutgers will compete after earning automatic bids at the Big Ten Championships earlier this month.

Head coach Scott Goodale’s program has produced multiple All-Americans in the last seven straight seasons. Based on how the current wrestlers are seeded for nationals, accomplishing that feat for an eighth time will be difficult. Eight wrestlers per weight class to make the podium and earn All-American status. Anyone from RU who challenges for a top eight finish will need to make an unexpected run.

The highest seed for Rutgers is freshman Dean Peterson who is No. 13 at 125 pounds. Joe Heilmann is No. 16 at 133 pounds. They are the only two Scarlet Knights with the higher seed in their respective first round matchups. Brian Soldano absolutely could make a run at 184 pounds as the No. 18 seed as well. Of course, you can never count out Jackson Turley, who became an All-American in 2021 as the No. 26 seed. That should give every Rutgers wrestler inspiration and hope that it can be done again.

Aside from the top three seeded wrestlers for RU, I think Boone McDermott will make a serious run at Heavyweight. He’s the No. 24 seed but might just be peaking at the right time. McDermott also is a JUCO national champion and shouldn’t be phased on the big stage.

Obviously, it would be great and a lot of fun to see all seven Rutgers wrestlers win at least one match and be in the mix throughout the competition at nationals.

Here is the television and streaming schedule for each session, including links for streaming.

Thursday 3/16: Session I – Noon (ESPNU/ESPN+)

Thursday 3/16: Session II – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN+)

Friday 3/17: Session III – Noon (ESPNU/ESPN+)

Friday 3/17: Session IV – 8:00 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN+)

Saturday 3/18: Session V – 11:00 a.m. (ESPNU/ESPN+)

Saturday, 3.18: Session VI – 7:00 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN+)

Here are the first round matchups for Rutgers:

  • 125: No. 13 Dean Peterson vs. No. 20 Jarrett Trombley (NC State)
  • 133: No. 16 Joe Heilmann vs. No. 17 Brayden Palmer (UT-Chattanooga)
  • 149: No. 32 Tony White vs. No. 33 Isaiah Delgado (Utah Valley)
  • 157: No. 21 Andrew Clark vs. No. 12 Kendall Coleman (Purdue)
  • 174: No. 30 Jackson Turley vs. No. 3 Mekhi Lewis (Virginia Tech)
  • 184: No. 18 Brian Soldano vs. No. 15 Layne Malczewski (Michigan State)
  • HWT: No. 24 Boone McDermott vs. No. 9 Lucas Davison (Northwestern)

I’ll have updates throughout the weekend.

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