Last year, Abram Ayala won six matches as a freshman. As a sophomore, Ayala won 27 times, placed at the EIWA Championships and reached the second day of the NCAA Championships. His brilliant turnaround season finally concluded Friday, when he fell to sixth-seeded Richard Perry of Bloomsburg in the second round of consolation matches.
Ayala advanced to the second round Thursday evening with a 9-7 victory over Marshall Haas of The Citadel, but an upset in the championship draw sent Ayala against one of the nation's top competitors. Perry was able to score the first takedown, and he continued to counter every shot by an aggressive Ayala on his way to a 14-6 major decision.
Ayala, whose other loss in the tournament came to the fifth-seeded Kyven Gadson of Iowa State, gained all of his points on escapes, and was within a manageable 6-4 deficit in the second period when he shot at Perry. The Bloomsburg senior was able to fight off each attempt, and he finally got his own takedown that opened an 8-4 lead and helped secure riding time. An escape in the third and two late takedowns were enough for the major decision.
Ayala concluded his stellar season with a 27-12 record, and he was one of five Princeton wrestlers (Brett Harner, Adam Krop, Kevin Moylan and Ray O'Donnell) to place at the EIWA Championships. As a team, Princeton went 11-4, meaning it had both double-digit wins and fewer than five losses for the first time since the 1980-81 season; it also shared second place in the Ivy League.