Princeton wrestling coach Chris Ayres will bring a squad of eight wrestlers to The Palestra this weekend for the 105th EIWA Championships, which will be hosted by the University of Pennsylvania. The squad will be led by senior captain Marty Everin, who will likely be Princeton's highest-seeded wrestler at the league championships in Ayres' tenure.
For more information on the EIWA championships, including a full schedule and ticket information, click here.
Princeton, which has had to forfeit the 133-pound and 141-pound weight classes over the last month, will send competitors at every other weight class. Here is a weight-by-weight assessment of the 2009 Princeton squad at the Eastern championships.
125 Junior Robert Benitez (3-22) moved into the starting lineup when 2008 EIWA placewinner Tony Comunale was lost for the season. He has a win over EIWA rival East Stroudsburg this season, but his record could force him into a brutal first-round match with the likes of Cornell's Troy Nickerson or Penn's Rollie Peterkin.
133 no wrestler
141 no wrestler
149 Freshman Daniel Kolodzik (9-11) was projected as a possible starter at either 133 or 141 pounds when he chose Princeton from The Miami Valley School. A late growth spurt made it nearly impossible to stick at 141 pounds, so he was moved to 149 late in December. He has grown more comfortable at that weight and has been competitive for most of the season, although he has lost a handful of tight matches, including a trio of losses by three points or less. A good performance this weekend could be a positive springboard into his sophomore season.
157 Senior Marty Everin (16-10) was ranked sixth at this weight class in the final regular season rankings. He has won four straight matches heading into the postseason, including three by major decision. He has lost to the top four competitors at this weight class, including the third-ranked Matt Dragon (Penn) by a slim 8-6 margin. Winning this weight class will be tough, as both Jordan Leen (Cornell) and J.P. O'Connor (Harvard) are legitimate NCAA championship contenders, but a trip to the semifinals and/or a good consolation run could get Everin a trip to the NCAAs in his final chance.
165 Freshman Andy Lowy (10-10) came out of arguably Princeton's deepest weight class to represent the team at the EIWA championships. A three-time Maryland state champion, Lowy stuggled late in the season, but could still make a name for himself with an upset or two at the league championships.
174 Sophomore Travis Erdman (11-19) could be looking for a positive end to a tough season as much as anybody on the Princeton roster. After earning All-Ivy honors as a freshman and winning his first five matches of the 2008-09 season, Erdman struggled to regain his winning ways. He lost nine of his final 10 matches, but he wrestled two tight matches at the 2008 championships and could be a dangerous unseeded opponent in the first round.
184 Freshman Kurt Brendel (15-11) has been the pleasant surprise of the season for Ayres, who believed that Brendel would one day grow into a competitive upperweight for Princeton. One day turned out to be day one, as Brendel basically took control of the weight class at the start of the season and never let go. His 15 wins are second-most on the team, and he owns a 4-2 win over Brown's Matthew Gevelinger, who is currently ranked sixth in the EIWA. Brendel could end up earning a seed (which get determined Friday night) and is one of Princeton's best threats to earn a championship-bracket victory.
197 Junior Zack Morse (3-18) has reached the EIWA championships in each of the last two seasons, so he'll bring experience into the weekend. Despite his record, Ayres believes Morse has improved throughout his junior season and hopes he can make a positive memory for himself this weekend.
HWT Freshman Stephen Turner (0-12) moved into the starting lineup when Sam Ritter graduated last summer. He has had to overcome injury and inexperience, but has at least given Princeton a presence at that weight class this season.