Junior Ryan Callahan scored one of the biggest upsets in the first round of the 109th EIWA Championships, defeating third seed and 13th-ranked Greg Zannetti of Rutgers in a 3-1 thriller. Callahan and five other Princeton wrestlers return Friday night in their quest for berths in the NCAA Championships.
While there are no Princeton wrestlers remaining in the championship semifinals, those 45 precious tickets to Des Moines are still out there for Callahan (174), senior Zach Bintliff (149), junior Dan Santoro (197), freshman Scott Gibbons (184), freshman Max Rogers (125) and freshman Judd Ziegler (165).
Callahan disappointed the crowd at the Rutgers Athletic Center when he knocked out Zannetti in the 174-pound pre-quarterfinal match. The former New Jersey state champion scored the only takedown of the match in the first period, and he remained aggressive over the final two periods. His third-period escape forced Zannetti to attack, but Callahan didn't hold back and kept his Rutgers opponent off balance for the rest of the match.
Callahan nearly made it a perfect morning, but he dropped a one-point heartbreaker to sixth-seeded Coleman Gracey of Army. Gracey was the early aggressor and scored the first takedown, which he was able to ride out into the second period. Both traded escapes, but Callahan finally scored a takedown of his own midway through the third. Gracey escaped with less than a minute remaining, and Callahan kept pushing the action. A late scramble nearly earned the decisive two points, but time ran out on Callahan.
Callahan will move on to face Sam Sheppard of Sacred Heart in his first consolation match.
Rogers also had a first-round upset for Princeton, as the freshman defeated seventh-seeded Alexander Abreu of Lehigh 6-5. Abreu led throughout most of the match, but Rogers' aggression paid off with a takedown in the final 15 seconds to clinch the win.
Rogers was defeated by second-seeded Mark Rappo of Penn by technical fall in the quarterfinals, and he will face Columbia's Penn Gottfried to open the evening session.
Bintliff scored a 16-0 technical fall over Bucknell's Adam Healey in his first match at 149, but he fell 7-2 to Army's Daniel Young. Bintliff will return to face Brown's Zachary Tanenbaum; if he wins, he'll face Ken Theobold of Rutgers in his next match. Theobold advanced because second-seeded Shane Welsh of Lehigh defaulted due to injury.
Ziegler made a nice comeback after his first-round matchup with three-time NCAA champion Kyle Dake, which ended by fall at 1:23. Ziegler followed up with a 12-9 victory over Colin Lahiff of Franklin & Marshall, and will now face second-seeded Corey Lear of Bucknell.
Gibbons, who is now tied with Bintliff with a team-best 21 victories this season, received a first-round bye. He lost his quarterfinal matchup 4-0 to third-seeded Dan Rinaldi of Rutgers, the tenth-ranked wrestler in the nation. Gibbons will return to face Paul Alessandrini in the consolation round, and then could see Brown's Ophir Bernstein next; Gibbons and Bernstein have wrestled three times this year, with Gibbons leading 2-1.
Santoro dropped an 11-4 decision to second-seeded James Fox of Harvard in the first round at 174, but he worked back into the tournament with an 11-4 win over Devon Bradley of American. He will return to face Dan Seidenberg of Rutgers in the next round; Seidenberg defeated Santoro 6-0 during the regular season.
Two familiar faces were in attendance to cheer their former, and future, teammates on; two-time EIWA finalist Garrett Frey and 2012 placewinner Chris Perez were both in the stands following Princeton's matches. Both were injured and forced to miss the season, but both, along with nationally ranked junior Adam Krop, will all return to the team next season.