The Princeton wrestling team had exactly the kind of final individual tournament it wanted before moving into the heart of the dual match season. The Tigers placed nine wrestlers at the 2014 Franklin & Marshall Open, including a trio of individual champions.
Senior Ryan Callahan (174), freshman Brett Harner (184) and sopomore Abe Ayala (197) gave the Tigers a trio of consecutive titles late in the one-day tournament, and those were Princeton's first three individual titles of the season.
Callahan was dominant at 174, earning three major decisions and two falls en route to his title. In the final, Callahan owned the match against American's Keither Cast, scoring multiple takedowns on his way to an 11-2 win.
While Callahan cruised to a title, Harner needed every second of his final before taking out Bucknell's Stephen McPeek 6-4. Harner, who defeated teammate Scott Gibbons 9-4 in the semifinal, was the early aggressor, but he still fell behind on an early takedown. After trading escapes and a Harner takedown in the third, the two wrestlers were even at 4-4 late in the third. Harner was able to get the better of a scramble along the edge of the mat and clinch the 6-4 win just before the final whistle.
Ayala won five matches on his way to the 197-pound title, but his final two were hard-fought wins. A 4-1 semifinal win sent him to the final against Army's Bryce Barnes. Ayala was able to grab the early edge, and he controlled the rest of the match for a 7-3 win and a title.
Junior Adam Krop, wrestling at 149 instead of 141, where he is nationally ranked, reached the final, but he was defeated by fall in the second period.
The five other Tigers who placed at the F&M Open were Jordan Laster (fifth • 141), Kevin Moylan (third • 157), Judd Ziegler (fourth • 165), Gibbons (fifth • 184) and Ray O'Donnell (eighth • heavyweight).
All brackets can be found by clicking the link above.
Princeton will wrestle one more time before heading into its finals break. The Tigers will head to Hofstra Friday, Jan. 10, with hopes of a fourth team win in five attempts.