After a transfer process that kept the college wrestling rumor mill spinning for months, Nick Suriano has finally decided where to spend his final season.
The former New Jersey high school star is transferring to Michigan for his final year of NCAA eligibility. He announced the transfer Sunday on Instagram.
Suriano, who became the first individual champion in Rutgers history when he won the 133-pound weight class as a junior at the 2019 NCAA Championships, hasn't wrestled a college match since that title bout. He spent the last two years away from college wrestling while training for the Olympic Trials.
He qualified for the Olympic Trials after a series of strong international performances, but was removed from his Trials bracket one day before competition started. The removal was "due to COVID testing," according to a source close to Suriano.
Suriano spent his freshman year of college at Penn State, where he was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country before an ankle injury sustained in the final dual meet of the season kept him from competing at the 2017 NCAA championships.
He transferred to Rutgers that summer, where he reached the 125-pound NCAA final as a sophomore in 2018. As the Scarlet Knights' first NCAA finalist in program history, he lost, 5-1, to Iowa's Spencer Lee, who has since won two more titles and will go for his fourth this season.
It appears that Suriano and Lee will be on a collision course for a rematch of that final this season. Suriano likely fits into the Michigan lineup at 125 pounds and he has spent the last year-and-a-half competing at 57 kilograms in international competitions, which equates to about 125 pounds.
Rutgers wrestles at Michigan on Jan. 23 in a Big Ten Conference match.
Suriano, who grew up in Paramus and graduated from Bergen Catholic in 2016, is one of just two New Jersey wrestlers to go undefeated all four years of high school. He went 159-0, winning four individual titles – and four team titles – for the Crusaders.
The only other New Jersey wrestler to go undefeated all four years was South Plainfield's Anthony Ashnault, who went 170-0 in high school before moving on to Rutgers. Ashnault, a current Rutgers assistant coach, won the 149-pound weight class less than an hour after Suriano won his title in 2019, part of a monumental day for the Scarlet Knights' program.
This article originally appeared on NorthJersey.com: Nick Suriano lands with Michigan wrestling for final season