This past Sunday, the Princeton wrestling team continued its stretch against some of the top teams in the country when it traveled to New York City to take on No. 10 Virginia Tech in Madison Square Garden. The game represented the opening match at the Grapple at the Garden. Unfortunately, the unranked Tigers came out on the losing side of this match, defeated by a score of 26-12. Princeton did get victories from freshman Jonathan Gomez, sophomore Matthew Kolodzik, and junior Mike D’Angelo in the 125, 149, and 157 weight classes respectively.

The Tigers got off to a tough start in the match as the Hokies opened up with 13 unanswered points, aided by four of their upperweights, including seventh-ranked Zack Zavatsky, third-ranked Jared Haught, and seventeenth-ranked Andrew Dunn. A particularly great Princeton moment during this otherwise tough stretch came from freshman Patrick Brucki, who faced off against Haught in the 197 weight class. Brucki didn’t allow any takedowns to Haught and only ended up losing 2-0 in the decision.

Princeton was able to break out of this tough stretch when Gomez took the mat, ultimately winning 12-6 over Kyle Norstrem. Gomez started strong with a 4-1 lead in the first period, driven by his two takedowns, and he was able to stretch this to an 11-2 lead by the end of the second. While Norstrem made a bit of a comeback towards the end of the match, Gomez was in control the whole time and never lost his lead after he captured it in the first period.

Virginia Tech took control of the overall match with wins in the next two matches in the 133 and 141 weight classes, basically clinching the team win at that point. But, never out of a match, Princeton fought hard in the last three matches and was able to pick up two more wins by Kolodzik and D’Angelo.

Seventh-ranked Kolodzik took a 6-0 lead after the first period and would eventually go on to win with an 18-3 technical fall. Building on this momentum, the Tigers were able to string together back-to-back wins when D’Angelo took the mat next. D’Angelo rolled to a major decision by a score of 14-2 over Ryan Blees. This was his second in a row, after getting one in the previous match against Lehigh’s Ian Brown. Unfortunately, Princeton wasn’t able to finish in a clean sweep as the Hokies’ fourth-ranked David McFadden got a tech in the last match of the day.

Looking forward, Princeton’s schedule won't get any easier. This Friday, the team heads down to Delaware to take on No. 1 Ohio State in what will be a big chance for the Tigers to match themselves against some of the best in the country. This will be the wrestling team’s last match before heading to the Midlands Championships hosted by Northwestern the last weekend of December.

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