Rutgers’ Anthony Perrotti Becomes a Two-Time NCAA All-American
NEW YORK -- Anthony Perrotti sprinted around backstage like a madman after defeating Rider's Conor Brennan, and for good reason. The Rutgers senior had just become a two-time NCAA All-American.
Perrotti edged Brennan, a former star at Brick, 5-4 in the 165-pound consolation round of 12 on Friday night inside Madison Square Garden to lock up his second All-American finish. Trailing 4-2 after the first period, Perrotti got a takedown with 33 seconds left and held on for the one-point win.
"I couldn't let Ashnault out-do me that early in his career," Perrotti said. "We train so hard for that, a last-second takedown and a rideout. The training paid off and it feels great. I'm speechless."
Perrotti was eighth at 157 pounds as a sophomore, the first All-American under head coach Scott Goodale and the Scarlet Knights' first national medalist since 2002. He went 0-2 at the NCAA Championships last season, but came back with a vengeance to join Anthony Ashnault at 141 pounds as All-Americans. It is just the second time in program history Rutgers has had multiple All-Americans and the first time since Emil Perona (157) and Ray Vohden (177) each took fourth in 1952.
"He's been the cornerstone of this program, the face of it with his passion and attitude he brings every single day," said Rutgers head coach Scott Goodale. "The fans love him."
"He had a bad year here last year going 0-2, so people were saying (his 2014 All-American finish) was a fluke. It was no fluke. He can wrestle, and he's really a competitor. It's good for him to go out this way."
Brennan scored with a pair of takedowns in the first period for a 4-2 lead. He then chose neutral in the second period, which ended scoreless. Perrotti started the third on defense and escaped to make it 4-3, then secured the winning takedown off a scramble late in the bout.
"It was a minute sprint," Perrotti said. "He kept shooting and I used it as momentum to throw him over. Scramble, scramble, scramble - that's how I wrestle. Double-leg , pull it in and keep my toes in, it was awesome. I'm good on top so I knew I could ride him for 33 (seconds)."
"He scores a lot of bonus points and pins a lot of people, but he had to come from behind there and he's not usually a guy that has a lot of offense from the neutral position," Goodale said. "But he finds a way to be an athlete and scramble, and that's important. You need to be athletic and he's one of the best athletes we have. He fights in every position and his defense is really good. And he can be dangerous, ultimately. Against Brennan that was just him being an athlete."
In squaring off against Brennan, who finished third in the state as a senior while wrestling for Brick, Perrotti knew what to expect.
"When you strap it up with a jersey kid in the round of 12 you have to be ready to do battle," Perrotti said. "It's Rutgers-Rider. If you can't get up for that match in the blood round there's something wrong with you."
Perrotti would lose to another New Jersey product, Virginia Tech true freshman Dave McFadden, in the consolation quarterfinals. McFadden was a two-time state champion for DePaul. Perrotti dropped into Saturday's seventh-place bout where he will wrestle Nebraska's Austin Wilson. The two split bouts, 1-1, this year.
Wrestling editor Bob Badders can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Badders. Like Shore Sports Network on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube channel for all the latest video highlights.