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Rutgers' Suriano to take Olympic redshirt in 2019-20 season

Nick Suriano gets is hand raised after winning in the NCAA semifinals (Photo/Tony Rotundo, WrestlersAreWarriors.com)

Nick Suriano, 133-pound titlewinner at the 2019 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships for Rutgers University, is planning to take an Olympic redshirt for the 2019-20 season, with an eye to training for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in April, according to multiple media reports.

A member of Suriano's family told NorthJersey.com that he was taking this action to pursue his Olympic dream. The same website reported that a second source confirmed the story Monday night.

NJ.com reports that Suriano is not enrolled at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, for the Fall 2019 semester, according to the university student directory. This gives the New Jersey native some flexibility. He could opt to sit out the entire 2019-20 season as he pursues a place on Team USA for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Or the senior could choose to re-enroll after the fall semester, rejoin the Scarlet Knights wrestling team, and seek a second NCAA title in the second half of the season, which would exhaust his final year of collegiate eligibility.

Rutgers has not yet commented officially on Suriano's status for the 2019-20 school year.

The 2020 U.S. Olympic Wrestling Trials will be held April 4-5 at Bryce Jordan Center at Penn State. Wrestling at the 2020 Olympics will get underway on August 3, the second week of the Games.

There are six weight classes in men's freestyle competition at the 2020 Olympics. Suriano, having wrestled in college at 125 and 133 pounds, would most likely seek to wrestle for the U.S. at 57 kilograms/125 pounds, a drop from 133, the weight class where he won his 2019 NCAA title, becoming the first Rutgers wrestler to win the national title in the program's long history.

As the website OnTheBanks.com pointed out, despite taking an Olympic redshirt, Suriano would still be able to work out at the New Jersey Regional Training Center (NJRTC) which is housed at Rutgers and Princeton, and still utilize Rutgers own facilities even if he is not officially enrolled at the school.

A native of Paramus, N.J., Suriano was a four-time New Jersey state wrestling champion at Bergen Catholic, with a perfect 159-0 prep record. He started his collegiate career at Penn State, compiling a 16-3 record as a freshman during the 2016-17 season, but injuries kept him from competing at the Big Ten and NCAA championships. Suriano then transferred to Rutgers, where he was a two-time NCAA All-American, winning the 133-pound title at the 2019 NCAAs in Pittsburgh, just two weeks after claiming a Big Ten conference crown.

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