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Rutgers' first national champion in program history will be deferring eligibility this upcoming NCAA season in order to focus on the 2020 Olympic Games.
An article published September 9 in NJ.com cites sources with knowledge of the situation that say Suriano will be postponing his 133-pound title defense for a year in order to concentrate on qualifying for the Olympic Team Trials, held next April.
Suriano is presumably planning on competing at 57 kilograms (approximately 125.4 pounds). The next Olympic weight up is 65kg, or about 143 pounds. The Olympic Team Trials will be April 4-5, 2020. The first opportunity to qualify for the trials is at the Bill Farrell in New York City, November 15-16, 2019. There is one OTT spot available at the Farrell, and it goes to the top American placer in each weight class.
The next and only other chance for Suriano to qualify for the trials is to place in the top five at the Olympic Trials Qualification Tournament held December 20-22, 2019. That tournament will take the place of the 2020 Senior U.S. Open on the USA Wrestling calendar.
The men's freestyle 57-kilogram tournament at the Tokyo Games begins on Wednesday, August 5, 2020, and concludes with the finals on the following day.
The New Jersey native still has a regular NCAA redshirt at his disposal, however, Suriano will elect to don a redshirt of the Olympic variety, as he has met the requirement of placing in the top three of the 2019 NCAA Championships.* NJ.com also notes that Nick is not currently enrolled as a student at Rutgers.
Suriano has been a dominant folkstyle force for years, though he does not have a lengthy freestyle resume. Before his victory over world bronze medalist Joe Colon at 2019 Beat the Streets NYC, Suriano's last major freestyle competition was the 2014 UWW Cadet World Team Trials in Akron.
Nick was defeated by 2019 senior world team member Daton Fix in the 54kg finals of the 2014 cadet trials. You can watch that match (a now-familiar, low-scoring, tactically conservative style match) in the video below.
Fix will be one of the favorites to earn win the Olympic Team Trials at 57kg next April. You can also expect to see 2017 world bronze medalist Thomas Gilman in the mix, and potentially current Hawkeye Spencer Lee, as well as a host of other worthy contenders.
*A previously published version of this article erroneously stated that Suriano had not qualified for a 2020 Olympic redshirt based on these criteria. Suriano does, in fact, qualify for an Olympic redshirt based on an updated list of criteria. Our apologies.