After its breakthrough season last year, and with its planned final destination less than an hour's drive away, the Princeton wrestling team is already looking forward to the 2010-11 season.
Princeton will open the upcoming season in back-to-back weekend tournaments, beginning Nov. 14 at the Binghamton Open. Following the Keystone Open on Nov. 21, the Tigers will head into their dual meet season looking to improve on their nine-win performance last year. That season was a seven-victory improvement over the previous year and included a winning record in the Ivy League; Princeton hadn't posted a winning league record since 1987.
Following four road matches to open the season, including a Dec. 11 match at Rutgers (7 p.m.), Princeton will make its home debut Sunday, Dec. 12, against Rider College at 1 p.m. The Broncs won last season's match 24-13, although five of the 10 individual matches were determined by three points or less.
Princeton will spend the next month and a half on the road, including trips to the Southern Scuffle (Dec. 29-30 in Greensboro, N.C.) and Virginia (Jan. 29, 5 p.m.). The Tigers will return to Dillon Gym Feb. 5 for its biggest home date of the season; they open their season at 10 a.m. against Harvard and will also host Brown at 3 p.m. Princeton swept both teams last season, including a thrilling 21-15 win over the Bears in Providence.
The next day, Princeton will head to Philadelphia to take on Penn; the Quakers defeated Princeton 23-11 in the 2009-10 season finale to clinch second place in the Ivy League. Returners Daniel Kolodzik and Bobby Grogan both had wins that afternoon, and Ayres will be hoping for more team success when they reach The Palestra.
He'll also be hoping for another trip to Philadelphia, but more on that later.
Princeton will conclude its Ivy League season Feb. 11 and 12 with trips to Columbia and Cornell, and will conclude the regular season Feb. 19 with home matches against Hofstra (1 p.m.) and Boston College (3 p.m.).
The 2011 EIWA Championships will be hosted by Bucknell and will be held March 4-5. Sophomore Garrett Frey made a name for himself at the 2010 Championships, upsetting both the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds to reach Princeton's first EIWA final since 2003. That performance also clinched him a trip to the NCAA Championships; this season, Ayres is hoping for Princeton to earn multiple berths to the NCAA Championships.
That brings us back to the City of Brotherly Love; the Wells Fargo Center will serve as the host for the 2011 NCAA Championships from March 17-19.