As the first double fixtures of the season get closer and closer, wrestling team RU have yet to lock in their starting lineup. We expect news from the wrestling / indicator matches soon, but Coach Goodale has a habit of using the first half to cement the roster that will face off once the Big Ten schedule begins in January. And with the depth that Goodale has amassed on the banks, we’ll likely see several UK entries at some weights at the Midlands tournament in late December to let the boys chop it up if necessary. Rutgers recently announced that the annual media day will take place on October 28, so most of our information will be cemented at that time. This lineup overview will be divided into three parts and we’ll start with the “little” guys.
125: Probable Starter – # 26 Dylan Shawver (Freshman)
Shawver got the starting role at 125 pounds late in the season last year, beating 2020 NCAA qualifier Nico Aguilar. Aguilar has been transferred out of the banks, so this place appears to be comfortably within Shawver’s grasp for at least the coming season. Shawver had some brilliant moments during his short stint in the roster last season, winning two games in the Big Ten tournament, including one against eventual Minnesota All-American Pat McKee. Shawver was recruited heavily in Elyria, OH and was ranked 8e at 126 pounds at the end of high school.
There is likely to be competition on banks at this weight in the years to come, as Rutgers recently landed the # 1 ranked 126 lber out of high school at Dean Peterson of St. John Vianney. Peterson is a two-time state champion and three-time runner-up in his high school career. Great accomplishments in themselves which are even more impressive when you learn that Peterson had to skip his senior season due to surgery on a deviated septum. Shawver and Peterson each have four years of eligibility before the start of the season.
133: Likely Beginner – # 3 Sebastian Rivera (graduate student)
This is Rivera’s place as he seeks to end his college career on the highest grade yet with an NCAA Championship. Rivera is a four-time All-American (3x via NCAA tournament, 1x via NWCA) and two-time Big Ten champion. On top of that, he’s one of the few wrestlers who has managed to guess the three-time Iowa National Champion Spencer Lee, beating him twice in his career. This season, Rivera will finally be able to wrestle in front of a large NJ crowd while donning a Scarlet Knight jersey after last season’s fanless experience. Rivera struggled at 141 pounds last season finishing in 4e up and will drop back to 133 pounds for its final race.
Returning Penn State champion Roman Bravo-Young and Oklahoma State runner-up Daton Fix will be the main competition for Rivera, but he already has a 7-2 victory over Bravo-Young in the Big Ten tournament. 2020. Rivera also recently competed at the UWW World Championships in Oslo, Norway where he placed 8e while representing Puerto Rico. Adding depth here will be the inbound transfer and former NJ star Nick Raimo. Raimo, a two-time NJ State champion and three-time runner-up, has spent the past two seasons at Arizona State but will bring four years of eligibility with him to the Banks this coming season.
141: Likely Beginner – # 13 Sammy Alvarez (Sophomore)
Sammy Alvarez is gaining weight this year from 133 to 141 and most wonder how he held 133 as long as he did. Alvarez has a long, chunky frame that will be well suited to weight without losing its signature “funk” that makes it so exciting. Alvarez has a low ranking here in my opinion, but he only played three games last year (3-0) and hasn’t made it to the Big Ten / NCAA tournaments due to weight issues.
It can be difficult for Alvarez to climb the leaderboard early as he only has one ranked opponent in the first half (# 6 Zach Sherman of UNC on 11/27), but he is expected to face seven ranked opponents once. that the Big Ten program will go into effect. Bucknell’s transfer David Campbell provides some depth here, but that should be Alvarez all, all the time.
To consolidate a top ten, Rutgers will need great performances from their lightweight. They should have an outside chance against two All-Americans between those three weights, with Rivera being a solid lock and Alvarez being right there on the bangs. Next week we’ll feature the average weights (149-165 pounds) and get a good idea of what to expect there.