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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. Despite a valiant fight that was filled twists and turns, the Orange and Black came away unsuccessful in a tight loss to the Midshipmen.
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. The Tigers wrestled Hofstra and Nebraska at Madison Square Garden duringSunday’sGrapple at the Garden and then squared off against Illinois at the New York Athletic Club.
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. After placing third in Annapolis, Md. in 2013 and second in 2014, the Tigers racked up 139 points to edge runner-up Kent State (130 points) and third place Wisconsin (101.5 points) in team competition.
Back in the fall, Chris Ayres and his coaching staff established the mantra of “In the Hunt” for the 2014-15 wrestling season. Ayres’s grapplers lived up to that standard over the course of the season. After qualifying just one wrestler for NCAA Championships in 2014, the Tigers tied a program record by sending five individuals — half of the starting lineup — to this year’s championships in St. Louis, Mo. All five wrestlers — junior 197-pounder Abram Ayala, junior 149-pounder Chris Perez, sophomore 184-pounder Brett Harner, sophomore 141-pounder Jordan Laster and freshman 165-pounder Jonathan Schleifer — advanced to the second day of double-elimination competition.
As a walk-on on the wrestling team at Lehigh University 20 years ago, Chris Ayres quickly turned heads. In just a few short years, the New Jersey native went from not placing at the state championships in high school to becoming an All-American in college, and one of the greatest in Lehigh’s storied history.
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. The Tigers fell to EIWA rivals Rider University and University of Pennsylvaniaon Fridayevening andSaturdayafternoon, respectively, before falling to Big 10 opponent University of Nebraska at homeon Saturdayevening.
Going into the weekend riding a three-match win streak, which included a home rout of Ivy rivals Harvard and Brown last weekend, the wrestling team (9-6, 6-5 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) split a pair of road matches this weekend. The Tigers took down Columbiaon Fridaynight in New York, but could not maintain their momentumSaturdayafternoon against a strong Rutgers lineup.
Just a month away from postseason competition, the wrestling team (8-5 overall, 2-1 Ivy League) started off the month of February on a hot streak, as the Tigers took out Ivy opponents Harvard and Brownon Saturday. While the Tigers took out both teams on the road last year, the wins were even sweeter this year, as head coach Chris Ayres’s squad was able to win before a packed Dillon Gymnasium in front of a number of Princeton wrestling alumni as the team honored its “Celebration of Princeton Wrestling.”
The wrestling team split a pair of conference matches in its first home outing of the New Year, as the Tigers (5-4, 2-3 Eastern Intercollegiate Western Association) defeated Sacred Heart University and fell short in its comeback against Hofstra University on Friday evening.
The wrestling team (4-3, 1-2 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) kept busy over winter break, competing out of state on three separate occasions as a prelude to the heart of its conference schedule.
After a strong 3-1 finish at the Windy City Duals last weekend, the wrestling team (3-1, 0-0 Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) will take on conference rival Binghamton University (1-4, 0-0 EIWA) Friday evening for the Tigers’ first home match of the season. A near-toppling of No. 19 Northwestern University last Saturday turned enough heads to nearly throw the Tigers into the Top 25 in the NWCA/USA Today Coaches Poll, as Princeton was the top vote-getting team outside of the Top 25.
The Princeton wrestling team was just shy of a perfect weekend, as the squad posted an impressive 3-1 mark in its four matches at the Windy City Duals on Saturday.
After a strong runner-up finish at the Navy Classic two weeks ago, the Princeton wrestling team will return to the mat this weekend as head coach Chris Ayres and his squad heads out to Evanston, Ill., for the Windy City Duals. An action-packed day awaits the Tigers on Saturday, as they have four duals slated over the course of Saturday morning and afternoon.
Heading into the winter of 2013-14, head coach Chris Ayres and his coaching staff established the theme of “A New Era” for their grapplers. The team quickly embraced this mantra, as Ayres’s squad went from a 2-13 dual record in 2012-13 to an 11-4 mark last season. The Tigers went undefeated on the road in duals, which included a head-turning weekend on Feb. 8-9, in which the Tigers took down Harvard, Boston University and Brown over a 24-hour span.
Junior Chris Perez won 19 matches during his rookie campaign, leading all freshmen. Since then, injuries have kept the New York native almost entirely off the mat. In anticipation of what looks to be a promising season for the Tigers, The Daily Princetonian had the opportunity to sit down with the 141-pounder to discuss psychology, dodgeball and Hoagie Haven.
All-America first-teamer senior Boyce and sophomore Larson represent Princeton at NCAA Championships
A weekend of high hopes for the wrestling team came up short of overall expectations this weekend at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships in Philadelphia. While five of the Tigers’ 10 representatives found their way to the podium, unfortunate breaks and circumstantial matchups gave Princeton only one automatic NCAA qualifier.
Two weeks ago saw the conclusion of one of the best regular seasons in the history of Princeton wrestling. Head coach Chris Ayres’ grapplers not only went 11-4 in their dual schedule, but also beat Binghamton for the first time in program history, and defeated Hofstra for the first time in 25 years. With double-digit wins and less than five losses on their record, the Tigers accomplished a feat that the school’s wrestling team had not seen since the 1980-81 season.
With the chance to cap off a complete turnaround from last season’s two-win performance to a two-loss season this year, the wrestling team came up short by falling in its final two matches of the regular season. The Tigers (11-4 overall, 3-2 Ivy League) fell to Rider(14-8) 21-15 on Fridaynight in Dillon Gymnasium. Princeton then fell to Ivy rival Penn (8-6, 3-2 Ivy) 22-9 on Saturday afternoon at home.
At this point, it is safe to say that no wrestling squad in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association has had as large of a turnaround this season as Princeton. The Tigers (13-2, 3-1 Ivy) will look to complete an incredible rebound to this season when they take on Rider and Penn at home this weekend for their final regular season matches. Wins in both matches would mark an inverse performance for head coach Chris Ayres’ squad, as the team would go from a two-win team during the 2012-13 season to a two-loss record this season.