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Carrying on his father’s legacy: Quincy Monday’s journey to the top

A Princeton wrestler stands in focus in front of a blurred crowd.
Quincy Monday at the 2023 NCAA Wrestling Championships in Tulsa, Okla.
Courtesy of @quincymonday/Instagram.

Three-time All-American. Two top-three NCAA finishes. Princeton’s first Black All-American wrestler. Three-time first-team All-Ivy. The list of accomplishments goes on and on. 

Following in the footsteps of his father, Kenny Monday, who became U.S. wrestling’s first Black gold medalist in the 1988 Summer Olympics, senior Quincy Monday has carved his path to success on the mat. 


“[My father has] been monumental in [his] impact on my wrestling,” Monday told The Daily Princetonian. “More [important] than technique and how to wrestle, he taught me the mentality you need for it. He instilled a belief system in me and stressed the importance of hard work.”

Monday’s family moved around a lot when he was a child, but one thing that always remained constant in his life was wrestling. 

“Wrestling has always been a big part of my life,” Monday told the ‘Prince.’ “My dad ran a [wrestling] youth club in Texas where I grew up, and when I was six years old, I was there on the mats practicing.” 

His high school career started at Martin High School in Arlington, Texas, where he was a two-time state champion in his first two seasons. The two 6A titles were at 106 and 113 pounds, respectively. 

In August 2016, Monday’s father was announced as the head coach of the University of North Carolina (UNC) wrestling program. This forced the family to move to North Carolina, where Monday continued his high school career at Carrboro High School. 

During the same year, Monday’s older brother Kennedy, who had just finished his senior year at Martin High School, started his collegiate wrestling career at UNC with their father as the head coach. Kennedy would reach the Round of 12 at the 2018 NCAA Championship and qualify once more in 2021. 


At Carrboro High School, meanwhile, Monday won two more state titles, at 132 and 152 pounds. He was the team captain his senior year and posted a 158–9 record throughout his four years in high school. 

At first, Monday just assumed he would go to UNC and join his brother and father. However, a call from Princeton associate head coach Joe Dubuque at the end of his junior year changed everything. 

“Joey D. was kind of the guy who brought me in,” Monday explained. “He’s been my guy from the start … especially mentally, teaching me how to compete at this level.”

“It just represented to me something that I had been chasing for a long time,” Monday added. “I always valued academics really highly, and I’ve always had a love for school and the high pursuit of knowledge.”

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When he was a youth wrestler, he would read books in the bleachers between his matches and balanced both his wrestling and academic lives to become one of the nation’s top prospects in high school. Before coming to Princeton, Monday was ranked as the No. 40 recruit by FloWrestling and No. 57 by InterMat. 

“It was definitely cool to get that call,” Monday added. “I just didn’t wanna regret not challenging myself to be the best of both worlds, both academically and athletically.”

Arriving in New Jersey, he immediately fell in love with the school and the community at Princeton.

“Everyone here [at Princeton] has a story and is really talented in their own way,” he said. “There’s so many amazing people to meet here.”

“We have Nobel Prize-winning professors, just the research going on here is amazing. And so everything is just happening at such a high level. I feel like we can take it for granted sometimes. This really is like the pinnacle of everything that’s going on right now,” Monday continued.

From the get-go, Monday and his first-year teammates took Tiger wrestling by storm, becoming three of only nine first-year students in program history to qualify for the NCAA Championships. With his help, Princeton’s wrestling program jumped up to fifth in the country, their highest-ever program ranking at the time.

“[The wrestling coaches] had big goals for us when I came in as a [first-year],” Monday mentioned.  

Although Monday had a fantastic first year, the success of his teammates, notably Patrick Glory, inspired him to work towards even bigger goals.

“​​Pat has been great for me and for the team,” Monday told the ‘Prince.’ “He was an All-American his [first] year, and I ended up going 0–2 at the [NCAA] tournament my [first] year, so just seeing his success from an early age … helped me realize the gaps are not that big to make that transition from high school to college.”

Monday entered his sophomore year ready to show the wrestling world his true talent. For most of the season, he was ranked fourth or fifth nationally, ending the year ranked seventh. With a 23–4 record, Monday managed to beat five of the top 10 wrestlers in his section, enough to earn him his first-ever All-American selection. 

Originally, Monday came to Princeton with aspirations of becoming an All-American, but with his All-American selection sophomore year, he set his sights on something greater: the NCAA championship. 

“Just becoming an All-American was my big goal at the time [as a first-year], just one time reaching that stage. And so, to have my goals shift from being an All-American to being a national champ … is pretty amazing,” he said.

During the COVID-canceled 2020–21 season, Monday took a gap year, but his work off the mat did not stop. Throughout this time, Monday and a few other Black athletes also started the Black Student-Athlete Collective, which provided a safe space for Black athletes at Princeton.  

“It’s been great just seeing people that have similar experiences to me in the athletic department,” he said. “So just having that community for myself has been great.”

Monday explained that his advocacy work had been a crucial part of his career at Princeton.

“[Being an inspiration to others] means a lot,” he explained. “Sometimes you don’t even know it until you see the impact it has on other people. And so, [seeing] young Black kids coming up to me after matches, being inspired — that really means a lot.”

Monday’s junior season was especially impressive, as he and Glory managed to reach the NCAA finals in the same year. Continuing their historic success from their first season, they became the first Princeton duo to reach the NCAA final in the same year. Monday finished the season with a 24–4 record, earning his second All-American selection, before falling in the title match. 

This year, Monday enjoyed his best season yet, finishing third in the NCAA championships with a 27–3 record. With this season, he cemented himself as one of the best wrestlers in program history, joining three other former Tigers to have two top-three NCAA finishes. 

Now concluding his time at Princeton, Monday hopes to be a part of the wrestling community for a few years before he pursues his interests in science and entertainment.  

“I’ll probably coach and wrestle for another one or two years,” he said. “But then after that, I want to get out there in the world. I’m interested in a lot of things, and I’m so excited to figure out what I want to do.”

Whether he decides to coach his former team or help his father lead the next generation of Black wrestlers, Monday feels prepared to leave the Orange Bubble because of his time here at Princeton. 

“Since coming to Princeton, I’ve grown to see the world so much more broadly, and through so many lenses,” he said. “I think that I’ve grown so much as a person and as a leader as well in my own right.” 

Brian Mhando is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

Hayk Yengibaryan is an assistant editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’

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