With a 41 percent majority from the NCAA Wrestling Twitter poll, Eleazar DeLuca of Rutgers has been named NCAA Wrestler of the Week. The 149-pound redshirt senior rightly claimed this award after an impressive win over No. 5 Ke-Shawn Hayes of Ohio State. DeLuca’s victory came alongside two other individual victories for the No. 17 Scarlet Knights in their dual loss to No. 2 Ohio State.
DeLuca, prior to Sunday’s dual, looked to avenge two teammates of his who had both just previously lost their matches in tight fashion. The task was easier said than done, however, as DeLuca’s opponent, fifth-ranked Ke-Shawn Hayes, entered the match with a 17-1 record and a 6-0 standing in dual action this season. As both wrestlers took to the matt, Hayes was able to get off to an early start, leading DeLuca.
However, after trailing 5-0 midway through the third period, things began to shift in DeLuca’s favor as he connected on a six-point throw, overtaking the lead at 6-5. Hayes responded quickly with an escape, leaving the two wrestlers tied. With a roaring crowd of 5,109 on their feet and time winding down to the closing seconds, DeLuca, in clutch style, answered Hayes with another throw, sealing the 12-7 decision.
In response to Rutgers wrestling, head coach Scott Goodale told scarletknights.com, “We were kind of waiting for that place to get going like that and he's capable of that type of technique. I'm glad he was able to hit it on a really good kid, the No. 5 kid in the country. That's a game changer."
At the start of this season, DeLuca proved his strength and resilience with an opening win against Maryland’s Adam Whitesell in a 10-4 decision. In an impressive dual sweep, Deluca looked to continue his performance with victories over No. 14 Davion Jeffries of Oklahoma and NCAA qualifier Sam Krivus of Virginia.
Nearing the halfway point of the 2017-18 wrestling season, Deluca’s current record stands at 7-4, with a record of 4-2 in duals.