There have not been a whole bunch of highlights for Rutgers University athletics since the school joined the Big Ten Conference but there was plenty to celebrate over the weekend at the NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh.

The Scarlet Knights produced a pair of national champions, their first-ever in Nick Suriano and Anthony Ashnault and head coach Scott Goodale of Toms River was named the Division 1 National Tournament Coach of the Year.

Goodale took a leap of faith in his own abilities in 2007 when he left coaching and teaching as his alma mater Jackson Memorial to take the job at Rutgers. He has built the best program on campus over 12 seasons with solid results on the mat and in the classroom and great fan support and now two national champions.

I could not be happier for Scott who has an infectious personality and is simply one of the best people I have met in my 40 years of covering sports.

Manchester Township Athletic Director Keith Lister (second from right) and Girls Coach Dave Beauchemin (second from left) accept Sportsmanship Award from
Shore Board 194 officials (John Amoscato)

I had a great time serving as Master of Ceremonies at the season-ending banquet for Shore District Board 194 of the International Association Approved Basketball Officials.
Those are the men and women who wear the black and white stripes and referee Shore Conference basketball games.

I’ve been the emcee for their banquet for many years because I enjoy their company and this weekend was no different at MJ’s in Matawan which many know as the Buttonwood Manor.

Brick Memorial AD Ed Sarluca (right) receiving Jim Sullivan Award from banquet committee chairman Brian Murray (John Amoscato)

Special congratulations to Brick Memorial Athletic Director Ed Sarluca for winning the Jim Sullivan Award for his contributions to basketball and official Larry Wiltbank for receiving the organizations prestigious Joe Callano Award.

Brian Murray and his committee did their usual outstanding job in planning the evening which saw the high school basketball programs at Manchester and Wall honored as sportsmanship award winners in Ocean and Monmouth County.

How is your NCAA Tournament bracket looking today? I have 14 of the 16 teams left, including Oregon in my Townsquare office pool but that’s only good enough for 111th place out of 426 entries. The leader has all 16 and was wrong on only four of the first 48 games played.

Larry Wiltbank (left) receives Joe Callano Award from Jim Callano(John Amoscato)