The development of the Princeton wrestling program took another step forward Thursday, as the Tigers were one of eight programs honored by the NCAA for earning Public Recognition Awards, based on their most recent multi-year Academic Progress Rate. These annual awards are earned by teams with APRs in the top 10% in each sport.
This is the first time Princeton has achieved this impressive honor. The Tigers join a trio of other programs in Boston University, Michigan State and the U.S. Military Academy in being a first-time recipient.
"It is a great honor to be recognized by the NCAA as one of leaders for wrestling in relation to APR," head coach Chris Ayres said. "To be one of only eight programs is truly amazing and reflective of the positive impact of Princeton University, the athletics department, and the current culture of our program has on every individual on our team.
"The department motto of "Education Through Athletics" resonates through our team and this recognition, in addition to the earlier announcement that Princeton wrestling once again placed in the top 10 in relation to GPA, shows that our wrestlers are leaders on and off the mat," Ayres added. "Stanford and Princeton were the only two schools to receive this recognition and also finish in the top ten of the NWCA All-Academic Team ranking, which is outstanding for our program."
Other winners included Northwestern, Stanford, Penn and Duke.“This public recognition by the NCAA is a highly sought after accomplishment; it is an honor that our coaches embrace and seek to achieve for their program,” says Mike Moyer, the Executive Director of the National Wrestling Coaches Association. “I salute the athletes, coaches, administrators, academic support staff, and fans of these programs. The student-athletes on these teams are among the elite competing at the Division I level.”
The sport of wrestling has made tremendous improvement in APR scores during the past four years and each year it is more competitive to finish in the top 10%. These top-performing teams APRs ranged between 978 and a perfect 1000 over the past four years and are among 394 men’s programs honored by the NCAA. Full APR scores for all teams will be released by the NCAA next week.
This capped a year that included Princeton hosting the 2012 EIWA Championships and sending a trio of wrestlers to the NCAA Championships. Senior Daniel Kolodzik earned the program's first first-team All-Ivy League honor since 2003 (Greg Parker), and Kolodzik fell one match shy of becoming Princeton's first All-America honoree since Parker.
Rising senior Garrett Frey will return as a two-time EIWA finalist and a three-time NCAA Championships qualifier, while Adam Krop gained national attention by placing third at the prestigious Midlands Championships.
As a team, Princeton recorded its first win over a nationally ranked program in more than a decade when it defeated No. 22 Harvard 25-14 in early February.