PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- No. 12 Nicolas Aguilar (125) and No. 24 Gerard Angelo (149) picked up pins, Joseph Grello (174) worked a win over a ranked foe and Rutgers wrestling (6-0, 1-0) defeated Maryland (1-2, 0-1) in its Big Ten Conference opener, 28-11, Saturday night in front of 5,405 fans at the RAC.
The Scarlet Knights claimed seven out of 10 bouts against the Terrapins to secure their sixth consecutive dual victory in the series. No. 24 Christin Colucci (HWT) earned his third major decision of the season, while No. 19 Sammy Alvarez (133), JoJo Aragona (141) and Billy Janzer (184) added decisions in their Big Ten debuts.
"I thought we came out of the gates really well," said head coach Scott Goodale. "So much for the whole freshman thing, as they really showed up tonight and wrestled really hard. I thought for the most part that we were really aggressive and we were really good on top tonight. That has me fired up."
• First Career Big Ten Dual Wins (5): Nicolas Aguilar (125), Sammy Alvarez (133), JoJo Aragona (141), Gerard Angelo (149), Billy Janzer (184)
• Pins (2): Nicolas Aguilar (125), Gerard Angelo (149)
• Major Decisions (1): Christian Colucci (HWT)
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Rutgers won its first four bouts of the night, jumpstarted by Aguilar's pin of two-time NJSIAA state champion Brandon Cray. Aguilar landed a takedown in the first 10 seconds of the match, but Cray countered with his own takedown before an Aguilar escape made it 3-3 after one. After starting the second period on top, Aguilar got Cray on his back for the fall in his RAC debut to give Rutgers a 6-0 lead right out of the gate.
• Alvarez followed and mimicked Aguilar's quick start with a takedown in the first 30 seconds of his match with King Sandoval. Alvarez added a second takedown late in the first period, reversed Sandoval in the third period and controlled the majority of the match for a 7-4 decision.
• After missing the past few weeks to injury, Aragona's first-period takedown proved to be the difference in his 2-0 decision over Hunter Baxter, as the Scarlet Knights led 12-0 through their first three matches.
• Angelo followed with an impressive performance in his Big Ten Conference debut against Michael Doetsch. After a scoreless first period, Angelo started top in period two and caught Doetsch in a cradle on the far edge of the circle. Angelo locked up the fall at the 4:13 mark in the match for his third pin of the season and first in dual action.
• A come-from-behind attempt from Michael Van Brill (157) in his bout fell short, as Rutgers led Maryland, 18-3, at intermission.
• After Brett Donner (165) lost by decision out of the break, Grello answered with his ranked matchup against No. 20 Philp Spadafora. Grello caught Spadafora with a single-leg takedown by the scorer's table for a 2-0 lead in the first period, added an escape in the second and held off the ranked foe for a 3-2 win. It was Grello's first action since the season opener as he has dealt with an injury.
• After a scoreless first period, Janzer left no doubt in his matchup with Kyle Jasenski. The redshirt freshman registered two takedowns and two escape points for a 5-0 lead in the second period, and closed out his 7-2 decision with a takedown with 0:29 left in the bout for his 11th victory of the season.
• No. 14 Jordan Pagano (197) suffered a pin in the first period of his bout, but Colucci closed out the dual with his major decision over Parker Robinson. Colucci collected five takedowns and the riding time point for his ninth win in 2019-20.
125: No. 12/16/14 Nicolas Aguilar (RU) over Brandon Cray (UMD) by fall (4:24); RU leads, 6-0
133: No. 19/16/20 Sammy Alvarez (RU) over King Sandoval (UMD) by decision, 9-4; RU leads, 9-0
141: JoJo Aragona (RU) over Hunter Baxter (UMD) by decision, 2-0; RU leads, 12-0
149: No. NR/24/NR Gerard Angelo (RU) over Michael Doetsch (UMD) by fall (4:13); RU leads, 18-0
157: Jahi Jones (UMD) over Michael Van Brill (RU) by decision, 6-2; Rutgers leads, 18-3
165: Kyle Cochran (UMD) over Brett Donner (RU) by decision, 4-0; Rutgers leads, 18-6
174: No. 18/12/15 Joseph Grello (RU) over No. 20/16/NR Philip Spadafora (UMD) by decision, 3-2; Rutgers leads, 21-6
184: Billy Janzer (RU) over Kyle Jasenski (UMD) by decision, 7-2; Rutgers leads, 24-6
197: Jaron Smith (UMD) over No. 14/13/14 Jordan Pagano (RU) by fall (0:52); Rutgers leads, 24-11*
HWT: No. NR/24/NR Christian Colucci (RU) over Parker Robinson (UMD) by major decision, 13-4; Rutgers wins, 28-11
*Maryland deducted one team point for unsportsmanlike conduct
Rutgers gets a few weeks off before it competes at the Southern Scuffle from Jan. 1-2 in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Post Match Quotes
Rutgers Head Coach Scott Goodale
On tonight's match: "Yes, kind of what we expected. I thought we came out of the gates really well. So much for the whole freshman thing, I guess they really showed up tonight and wrestled really hard. I think we went 5-0 with the young guys. It's a Big Ten dual, you don't ever apologize. I thought we wrestled hard. We obviously have to get a lot better. It was Joe's (Grello) first time on the mat in a long time wrestling a ranked kid, so good for him, that was good. We'll get better. We have to get better in a lot of different positions. I thought for the most part that we were really aggressive and we were really good on top tonight. That has me fired up."
On young wrestlers being aggressive: "I think our motto all week long was to get to these guys legs right away and don't wait. You saw a bunch of matches early on when we were in on their legs right away. I think Nic (Aguilar) had a takedown in the first 5 seconds and Sammy (Alvarez) hit a shrug inside 30 seconds, Joe (Grello) was in on a shot quick. We were ultra-aggressive on top. Obviously, I think we feel comfortable on the mat in the top position. It makes me fired up about that."
On Gerard Angelo: "Ultra-dangerous, he's so dangerous. It's awesome. He's very, very dangerous. He's good on top. There's been a lot of moments so far this year that he's thrown guys to their backs and that's a hard thing to do. At this level, it's a hard thing to do to score falls, it really is. He's been awesome that way and he's always in a match because of it. He has a lot of work to do too, we have to get him a go to shot, but he'll always be in a match because of those. He's an incredible athlete who has great strength."
On Billy Janzer: "He's super intense. He trains at a really high level with Joe (Grello), with Jordan (Pagano), and with Matt (Correnti). He has a good room. He uses all of our resources, he uses our staff, he's constantly trying to learn. He hit something tonight, he's usually an under hook and went to the other side of the body. That's great, that's progression. He has a lot that you can't teach. He believes he's the toughest person out there and that's just the way things are. He's a fighter and he likes things physical. He likes it in your face and when that match is going like that and he gets going like that, he enjoys that. He's going to be a crowd favorite because of it."
125-pounder Nicolas Aguilar
On wrestling at the RAC for the first time: "I'm not going to lie; in the beginning I was pretty nervous. You know, the first time in the RAC with all of those fans and everything. As soon as I set in and got comfortable with the arena and the mat, I started calming down a little bit and getting to what I do. I got on top, got comfortable, and got the pin."
On the pace early on: "I think it's critical. If I keep my pace up, not a lot of people can really hang with the speed and how fast I'm moving all of the time. I think it's one of those things I have on everyone. It's a little edge I have."
174-pounder Joseph Grello
On being back on the mat: "It felt great. I mean, I feel a little rusty, it's been about a month. I think it was a great warm up match. That kid wrestled a lot of matches already and he beat a couple of ranked guys and it felt good. I have a lot to do, a lot of work to put through, but overall a win is a win."