The Princeton wrestling team will open its 2013-14 dual meet season in grand style Sunday, competing against EIWA rivals Drexel and Army during the second annual Grapple at the Garden, held at Madison Square Garden.
Princeton will be one of 16 collegiate programs to meet at The World’s Most Famous Arena in New York City. There will be eight mats on the floor and two sessions of dual matches (10 am, 12 pm).
“To be included in such a fabulous event in such a historic athletic venue is an exciting opportunity for our program and athletes,” head coach Chris Ayres said. “We look forward to competing against and alongside some of the best programs in the country as we showcase the greatest sport in the world in the greatest city in the world.”
The Tigers (0-0) will open the day on Mat 4 against Drexel (1-6), one of four new entries into the EIWA this season. The Dragons, coming off an 0-4 weekend at the Eastern Michigan Open, went 8-12 last season, though they return NCAA qualifier Brandon Palik.
The second session is scheduled to begin at noon, and Princeton will meet longtime EIWA rival Army in that matchup. The Black Knights are 2-0 this season, including a win over league rival Franklin & Marshall, and they return two NCAA qualifiers in Paul Hancock and Bryce Barnes.
Princeton has competed in three invitationals this season, including a highly impressive third-place finish at Navy last weekend. The Tigers placed six wrestlers, including a trio of finalists (Garrett Frey, #18 Adam Krop and Abe Ayala), and they came within five points of 2013 EIWA runner-up Navy for second place.
Last weekend marked the season debut for both Garrett Frey and Chris Perez, both of whom missed all of last season with injuries. Ayres is hoping to see another season debut Sunday; sophomore Scott Gibbons, Princeton’s wins leader and a 2013 EIWA placewinner last season, could return from a preseason injury for the pair of matches.