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Monday, Feb. 26, 2024
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Wrestling 11-20

Scarlet Knights roll the Eagles but AU stays competitive in several divisions

AU’s Maida wins and controversial heavyweight bout ends in disqualification

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights (9-0) wrestling team beat the American University Eagles (0-4) in convincing fashion 41-3 on Dec. 3. 

The Scarlet Knights, which featured six top 25 ranked wrestlers, secured four technical falls and a pin. However, AU first-year head coach Jason Borrelli said he was proud of his team’s performance. 

“I thought we wrestled hard. I thought our lightweights went out and matched the intensity level and tried to give our team a little jolt,” Borrelli said in a post-match interview. “They’re a good team, but we need to experience that. We’ve got to try and find victories in other ways than just getting our hand raised on the mat.”

Freshman Jack Maida delivered AU’s only win of the night at 133 pounds. Maida faced third-year Rutgers freshman Devon Britton. Maida fell behind 2-0 in the first period, but after starting the period in the bottom position, Maida quickly escaped and secured a takedown to take a 3-2 lead. 

Maida’s relentlessness got him a second takedown halfway through the final period, and Maida cruised to a 5-2 victory over Britton. 

“I try not to think about the score, I just stay calm,” Maida said after the bout. “I think when I got into my top position, I tried to slow down the match a bit instead of continuously spending my energy.”

Borrelli said that Maida looked like he was in trouble in the second period, but battled through the adversity to secure the Eagle’s sole win.

“Jack’s got a lot of potential and a lot of talent,” Borrelli said. “Because he hustled and won the position, it was big for him.”

Despite the team loss, AU was also competitive in several other matches. Sophomore Andy Fallon faced undefeated freshman Dylan Shawver at 125 pounds in a bout that came down to the final seconds. 

Shawver started the first period on the attack, and he secured a single leg takedown early in the period to go up 2-0. However, Fallon escaped bringing the score to 2-1 to end the period.

The second period followed the same pattern as the first. Shawver successfully completed another takedown only for Fallon to secure another escape, and the period ended with Shawver up 4-2. Fallon took the top position to start the final period, and after 20 seconds of top control, Shawver attempted to roll out of Fallon’s clutches. 

However, Fallon saw Shawver’s escape attempt coming, and the AU sophomore reversed Shawver’s roll to even the score 4-4 and nearly pinned the Rutgers freshman. Seconds later, Fallon was called for stalling and the two were reset in the center of the mat. 

Borrelli protested the official’s decision, but the referees ignored his irate questions and reset the match. While Fallon started on top after the reset, Shawver managed to escape and secure a 5-4 lead that he held for the remainder of the duel.

AU redshirt junior Tim Fitzpatrick also came within a point of victory in his 165-pound bout against Rutgers’ Andrew Clark. The two were evenly matched throughout the first period, and the score was 0-0 going into the second period.

Fitzpatrick started the period in the bottom position, but Clark received two cautions for false starts. Once the period began, Clark was given a third caution for a false start after the bout was reset in the center of the mat, and Fitzpatrick took a 1-0 lead. Fitzpatrick then brought his lead to 2-0 after escaping from the bottom, and the score remained unchanged at the end of the second period.

Fitzpatrick’s lead went to 3-0 before the third period started after Clark was given his fourth caution. However, after Clark escaped Fitzpatrick’s claws and downed the Eagle with a single leg takedown, evening the score 3-3. Clark held the top position following his takedown, and although Fitzpatrick had controlled the riding time going into the third period, the Rutgers junior flipped the point in his favor, which ultimately secured him the victory.

Fitzpatrick, aware the riding time point was no longer in his favor, fought to free himself from the Scarlet Knight’s stifling control. However, Fitzpatrick couldn’t shake the Rutgers junior off. Three times in the final minute and a half, Clark hoisted Fitzpatrick high into the air and slammed him back into the mat, and unable to escape, Clark held on to win the hard-fought duel 4-3.

The night had many compelling bouts, but the heavyweight bout between AU sophomore Isaac Righter and Rutgers redshirt sophomore Boone McDermott to end the night was marred with controversy.

Righter was called for unnecessary roughness nine seconds into the first period after he appeared to accidentally grab McDermott’s groin. Things only got more heated in the second period. The pair seemed visibly frustrated with one another, and Righter was called for unnecessary roughness twice after it appeared the AU sophomore grabbed McDermott’s face, and the Scarlet Knight went into the third period up 9-1.

Righter maintained control for nearly the entire final period, but McDermott was inactive on the bottom, his only response was a potential head butt that hit Righter in the nose. 

The Bender crowd and AU bench grew restless that the inactive McDermott was not called for stalling. Righter appeared visibly exasperated with the referees for not giving McDermott a warning, and Rutgers fans seemed puzzled by the redshirt junior’s inactivity.

McDermott wasn’t called for stalling, and the AU sophomore was disqualified with two seconds left in the bout after being called for his fourth and fifth penalties. McDermott was visibly enraged after the bout, and he was given a post-duel unsportsmanlike conduct penalty when he pumped his fist in Righter’s face and rejected the AU sophomore’s outstretched hand with a slap.

McDermott walked off the mat, throwing his headgear into a chair. The Eagles returned to Bender arena Sunday, Dec. 5 for a doubleheader against Duke at 11:30 a.m. and Hofstra. AU defeated Duke but was bested by Hofstra.

bmorse@theeagleonline.com 


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