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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.
Ivy and EIWA Coach of the Year Chris Ayres wanted to bring the Princeton wrestling program into national prominence. Speaking about the gradual, often painstaking rise of the Tigers as serious national contenders, Ayres noted, “Our program has come a long, long way in the past 10 years, with a lot of people sacrificing to elevate it to this point.”
It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the Princeton wrestling team. Competing in an Ivy League dominated for decades by Cornell, as well as competing within the fiercely competitive EIWA, the Tigers have often struggled to find their place in a sport traditionally dominated by large, storied Midwestern programs. Head coach Chris Ayres, however, has turned Princeton from an insignificant contender in college wrestling to a consistent placer in the NCAA national championships, one of the most dangerous squads in the EIWA.
Coming off a monumental season last year, the Princeton wrestling team set high expectations for its performance this season.
Freshman standout Matthew Kolodzik became the second Midlands Tournament finalist ever for the Princeton wrestling program, improving on his fifth-place performance from last year, when he wrestled as an unattached competitor while deferring admission to the University. This was the biggest Midlands tournament yet, and the talented but young Tigers found themselves wrestling with some of the nation’s best programs and most decorated competitors.
After an impressive trouncing of Maryland and Buffalo at the Madison Square Garden Grapple in the Garden, the 25th-ranked Tigers headed to Lincoln this weekend for another pre-season test as they took part in the Nebraska Duels, hosted by the University of Nebraska.
wrestling season is barely a couple of weeks in, the Tigers have already become
quite the local celebrities.
Ever since that first fateful 1869 football game played, Princeton and Rutgers University, the flagship state university of New Jersey, have traveled down quite different paths.
What a season it has been for the Princeton Tigers men’s wrestling team.
This year, the Tigers have established themselves as a strong wrestling program to be respected and feared.
In 1978, a dominant Princeton men’s wrestling team captured the EIWA title.
In the 2012-2013 season, the Princeton men’s wrestling team went 0-5 in Ivy League play. For the last two years they have steadily improved but have finished each year with a 3-2 record.
This year, the men’s wrestling team finally broke the dam, reaching the Ivy League Championship round in Dillon gym for the first time in three decades against perennial conference champion Cornell on Saturday.
Coming off an exciting victory over longtime rival Penn, the Tigers surged through the first two matches of Ivy League play, winning key matchups against the Harvard and Brown wrestling teams.
The Princeton men’s wrestling team faced a busy intersession weekend as they competed in three meets over two days.
On Saturday, the Tigers, coming off a narrow defeat to Binghamton University, hosted Franklin and Marshall and Ivy League rival Penn.
This past Friday, the men of Princeton wrestling played host to Navy, a team against whom the Tigers have found little success in decades past.
The wrestling team kicked off its dual meet scheduleon Sundayin New York City, which is where the Tigers hope to finish their season in March at the 2016 NCAA Championships.
In its second tournament of the season and final tournament before heading to New York City this weekend, the wrestling team took home major hardware en route to its team victory at the Navy Classic on Saturday.
Back in the fall, Chris Ayres and his coaching staff established the mantra of “In the Hunt” for the 2014-15 wrestling season.
As a walk-on on the wrestling team at Lehigh University 20 years ago, Chris Ayres quickly turned heads.
In its final weekend of dual competition, the wrestling team (9-9, 6-7 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) faced stiff competition from opponents both in and out of the conference.