Ashnault triumphs in long-awaited return, as Rutgers sweeps through season

PISCATAWAY– It’s unlikely that too many wrestling fans forgot what Anthony Ashnault brings to the mat, but if any did, they were swiftly reminded of it this weekend. Ashnault made his long-awaited return to the Rutgers Athletic Center in Rutgers Wrestling’s season-opening home quad on Saturday, and the South Plainfield native got back to business in a big way, securing pins in all three of his matches as the Scarlet Knights swept through the competition.

The Scarlet Knights, ranked No. 13 by Intermat, hosted Centenary, Fresno State and Johnson and Wales in Saturday’s quad, and won those matchups 48-3, 30-6, and 35-5, to begin their 2018-2019 campaign 3-0.

Missing all of the 2017-2018 season due to injury didn’t seem to leave Ashnault rusty, as the No. 2 ranked 149-pounder secured first period pins in all of his matches.

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Ashanult, a graduate senior, used a front headlock gator roll to secure an early pin over Logan Long of Centenary. The former South Plainfield High School standout wrapped up another quick pin over 2018 NCAA qualifier and Fresno State wrestler Khristian Olivas, and then closed the day by using a near-side cradle to finish Johnson and Wales’ Da’mani Burns for a pin.

The three pins gives Ashnault his 94th NCAA win, 24 wins away from becoming Rutgers’ all-time winningest wrestler.

Nick Suriano, the No. 2 ranked wrestler at 125-pounds, made his debut at 133-pounds in style, securing two pins and a major decision win.

Redshirt sophomore Joseph Grello, and true freshman Stephan Glasgow also went 3-0 in the quad. In all, The Scarlet Knights had 16 bonus points wins; 10 pins, five major decisions and one tech fall.

Rutgers will be heading up to Clifton Park, N.Y. to face No. 25 Appalachian State and Utah Valley on Saturday, Nov. 10 for the Journymen Duals.