Wrestling Hosts EIWA Pair, Including No. 6 Cornell In 2014 Ivy Opener
Wrestling head coach Chris Ayres recently moved several starters up a weight, and he saw quick success. He discusses the decision, the standout season from Abe Ayala and the upcoming dual meets in his latest video interview.
The singlets may be the same, and most of the same starters will take the mat, but those will be about all the similarities from Princeton's first home wrestling match and the two it will host this weekend. Princeton takes on a pair of EIWA rivals, including sixth-ranked Cornell, this Saturday to start the final sprint towards the wrestling postseason.
Princeton (5-1) hosts Franklin & Marshall (5-4) and No. 6 Cornell (7-0) this weekend, and both matches will be streamed live on the Ivy League Digital Network. The Tigers host Franklin & Marshall at 1 pm, and they will host reigning EIWA champion Cornell at 6 pm; both matches will be held at Dillon Gym.
That is the first difference from the December home match against Rutgers, which was held inside Jadwin Gym. Most of the Tiger starters from that match are also slated to start this weekend, but most will be at different spots in the lineup.
And Princeton lost that day. The Tigers would love to change that too.
Head coach Chris Ayres moved four starters (Jordan Laster, Adam Krop, Kevin Moylan and Brett Harner) up a weight following the Midlands Championships; he discusses that decision as part of the video interview, which you can see by clicking the play link in the photo above. Since that decision, Princeton earned its first win over Hofstra since 1989, and it won multiple weight class at the F&M Open.
Each of those four starters is likely to see at least one nationally ranked opponent this weekend, though none could have a tougher road than Laster. The freshman 141-pounder will likely face reigning EIWA champion Richard Durso, currently the 12th-ranked wrestler in the nation, during the F&M match; a few hours later, he could take on seventh-ranked Mike Nevinger of Cornell.
Krop (149), Moylan (157) and Harner (184) each have possible Top 10 opponents waiting for them in the Cornell match. Krop, who was ranked nationally at 141, could make a major statement to the ranking committee when he faces eighth-ranked Chris Villalonga.
One Princeton wrestler who has become comfortable at his weight is sophomore Abe Ayala, who Ayres discusses specifically in the interview above. Ayala is 16-6 this season and has won his last seven matches; he was ranked fifth in the latest EIWA rankings, and he could move up with a successful result against Cornell's Jace Bennett, who was third in those same rankings.
Princeton will head to New England the following weekend for a trio of duals, including a pair against Ivy rivals Harvard (Feb. 8) and Brown (Feb. 9).