This season is no different, of course. The Tigers will enter the 2014 Eastern Championships with high expectations.
But Princeton is also going to savor this weekend, when it hosts Rider Friday at 7 pm, and then concludes the season against Penn Saturday at 1 pm. After all, it’s been a long time since the Tigers have experienced a season like this one.
Princeton enters the weekend with an 11-2 record. A sweep of Columbia, Sacred Heart and American International College last weekend assured the Tigers of having both double-digit wins and fewer than five losses for the first time since the 1980-81 season.
While winning is sweet in any fashion, the way the Tigers have done it recently has been thrilling. Over the last two weeks, Princeton has trailed twice heading into the final match and come away with the win. Two weeks ago, Abram Ayala’s pin at heavyweight capped a comeback from a 20-3 deficit at Boston University.
Last Friday, it was freshman Ray O’Donnell who punctuated a three-match win streak for the Tigers with a decision at heavyweight to lead Princeton to an 18-16 home victory over Columbia. Six of Princeton’s starters have already hit the 20-win mark, and that group has been led by junior Adam Krop (26 wins), sophomore Judd Ziegler (24) and freshman Brett Harner (23).
While the season has already been an exciting one, a pair of victories this weekend would put it over the top. These are two opponents that carry long win streaks over Princeton into this weekend’s matches at Dillon Gym.
Rider (13-9) has won 13 straight matches over Princeton since a 24-19 Tiger win during the 1981-82 season. The Broncs are led by sophomore Robert Deutsch, who has 26 wins at 125 pounds this season, and sophomore Conor Brennan, who has 22 wins at 174.
Penn (6-6) has won 21 straight matches over Princeton since an 18-15 Tiger win during the 1990-91 season. The Quakers have two nationally ranked wrestlers, including junior Lorenzo Thomas, who is ranked 11th and has 20 wins at 184 pounds. Sophomore Casey Kent (16 wins) is ranked 16th at 165 pounds.
This weekend will also serve as the final home matches for the Princeton Class of 2014: Ryan Callahan, Joe DeQuinzio, Garrett Frey, Seth Hazleton, Dan Santoro and Robert Shepherd. Their impact on the turnaround of Princeton Wrestling was both significant and powerful.
|125||Ryan Cash (6-10)||Robert Deutsch (26-4)||
Caleb Richardson (10-7)
|133||Garrett Frey (4-2)||Chuck Zeisloft (19-13)||Ken Bade (7-13)|
|141||Jordan Laster (21-17)||Paul Kirchner (8-13)||Jeff Canfora (15-12)|
|149||Adam Krop (26-6)||Curt Delia (17-12)||Andrew Lenzi (12-8)|
|157||Kevin Moylan (20-8)||Wayne Stinson (4-22)||
Ray Bethea (16-7)
|165||Judd Ziegler (24-15)||Ramon Santiago (16-12)||Casey Kent (16-5)|
|174||Ryan Callahan (17-7)||Conor Brennan (22-7)||
Zach Agostino (7-10)
|184||Brett Harner (23-9)||Clint Morrison (15-3)||Lorenzo Thomas (20-7)|
|197||Abram Ayala (20-8)||
Donald McNeil (13-7)
|Harrison Cook (10-6)
or Frank Mattiace (14-11)
|285||Ray O'Donnell (14-9)||Greg Velasco (10-17)||Anthony DiLonardo (4-8)
or Steven Graziano (8-14)