2x NCAA qualifier Yaraslau Slavikouski (photo courtesy of Tony DiMarco)
On Thursday, the first domino fell in the transfer portal brimming with talented heavyweights as two-time All-American Lucas Davison announced his intention to transfer to Michigan. With Davison headed for Ann Arbor, it limited the potential suitors for Yaraslau Slavikouski. With that in mind, the big man from Belarus announced he will transfer to Rutgers.
After two-plus years competing for Harvard, Slavikouski has amassed a 64-15 record and has qualified for the NCAA tournament twice. This year he was third in the EIWA, but received the sixth seed at 285 lbs. Slavikousi went 3-2 in Tulsa and came up a match shy of All-American honors, falling to Davison in sudden victory in the bloodround. One of the wins Slavikouski tallied at nationals came over EIWA champion, Nathan Taylor (Lehigh) the wrestler who had upset him at the conference tournament.
Slavikouski’s previous NCAA qualification came in 2020 after he was an EIWA runner-up; however, he wasn’t able to wrestle after Covid canceled the tournament. His tenth seed at the tournament left him with second-team All-American honors from the NWCA.
It was well-known that Slavikouski needed to transfer since he is graduating from Harvard this semester. Since the Ivy League does not allow grad students to compete, he went into the transfer portal in the middle of the 2022-23 campaign.
Slavikouski will have at least one more year of eligibility for the Scarlet Knights. In 2021-22, he entered the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and made it to the finals after impressive wins over Davison and returning All-American Tate Orndorff (Ohio State). Early in the finals bout, he suffered a knee injury that shelved him for the rest of the year. Those five bouts were the only ones that he competed in all season. That may allow Slavikouski and Rutgers to pursue another year of eligibility, if he so chooses.
Rutgers had an immediate need at heavyweight after their NCAA qualifier, Boone McDermott, entered the portal. McDermott went 17-7 and finished eighth in the Big Ten in 2023, which qualified him for his first NCAA tournament.