Rutgers wrestler Sammy Alvarez was off to a 12-2 start to this season and ranked No. 12 at 141 pounds by Intermat just last week. After winning his bout in the team’s dual at Bloomsburg last Friday, Alvarez missed Sunday’s match against Rider. Head coach Scott Goodale cited “disciplinary actions with his weight” for Alvarez’s absence.
It was a disappointing development after Alvarez dealt with weight issues at 133 pounds last season. He moved up to 141 pounds this season in an effort to avoid further weight issues. Unfortunately, Alvarez was unable to stay the course.
Goodale told NJ Advance Media’s Pat Lanni on Tuesday that Alvarez is “As of now, he’s not with the program and going forward we’re pulling Joey Olivieri out of redshirt.”
In regard to a potential return, Goodale told Lanni that “There’s been dialogue with our staff. There’s been dialogue with Sammy. We’ll see what happens in the next 48 to 72 hours. We’ll cross that bridge moving forward.”
Alvarez was an NCAA qualifier as a true freshman and named a Second Team All-American by the NWCA with nationals being cancelled due to COVID-19. He had earned a No. 10 seed. for the NCAA Championships. He had a combined 11-2 record over the course of the following two seasons but failed to complete either campaign. Alvarez was off to a strong start this season including a 7-1 record in dual meets.
This is obviously a major disappointment. Alvarez’s talent has never been questioned. However, he has been unable to maintain his weight and as a result unable to put it all together at Rutgers. If this is the end, it will be a sad conclusion to a promising career. If Alvarez is able to earn a return back, let’s hope these issues are behind him once and for all. His potential is massive and seeing him fight back towards fulfilling it would be something Rutgers fans surely are hoping for.
Update 1/11: FloWrestling is reporting Alvarez has entered the transfer portal.
Joey Olivieri has an 8-2 record this season after planning to redshirt and wrestling unattached in several events. Per Goodale, Olivieri will now burn his redshirt to replace Alvarez in the lineup at 141 pounds. Olivieri was an NCAA qualifier last season as a true freshman finishing with a 21-11 record. The Academic All-American was also Big Ten Championship starter at 133 pounds, going 1-2 in the postseason event. The same circumstance presented itself as Olivieri was set to redshirt before having it pulled midway through the season after Alvarez was unable to make weight. A plus is having experience now that he is in the exact situation as a year ago.
Rutgers (8-1) begins their Big Ten slate this weekend at Indiana on Friday, January 13 and at No. 3 Ohio State on Sunday, January 15.
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