With eight returning starters from last year's EIWA Championships, including two with NCAA experience, and another highly touted recruiting class, the Princeton wrestling team is looking to push itself during the regular season so that it can thrive in the postseason.
If you have any questions about that, check the 2014-15 schedule, which was just announced by head coach Chris Ayres and his staff.
"Next year’s schedule presents many challenges for our team, but I think we are ready to see just how good we really are," Ayres said. "While I anticipate that we will have a fairly young starting lineup it looks to be a bit more balanced than this past year's lineup, so I’m excited to see how they handle the competition."
The Tigers will once again compete in both the Grapple at the Garden (Dec. 21) and the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30), but they will also head to the Chicago area Dec. 6 to compete in the Northwestern Duals. That will include one of three dual matches against teams ranked inside the final Top 15 team rankings by InterMat.
Princeton will close the Northwestern Duals against Northwestern (No. 9), and it will close its home schedule Feb. 21 at 7 pm against Nebraska (No. 11). Reigning Ivy champion Cornell (No. 7) will open the league season for Princeton Jan. 30 in Ithaca.
"I’m really looking forward to a several events on the schedule," Ayres said. "Last year’s matches at MSG were amazing and even though we don’t know who we are wrestling I am especially looking forward to that event this year. We have a lot on the line considering we are undefeated in MSG."
Princeton will wrestle six home duals at Dillon Gym, including an Ivy pair against Harvard (1 pm) and Brown (6 pm) on Feb. 7. Between the two duals will be a showdown of high school powers, as Delbarton will take on Wyoming Seminary at 3 pm. The Tigers will open the home schedule Dec. 12 against both Sacred Heart (5 pm) and Binghamton (7), and it will take on Hofstra Jan 9 at 6 pm.
"Our heaviest promotions will go into the Harvard and Brown dual," Ayres said. "Of course both teams are tough Ivy competitors and those duals will have a big impact our Ivy standings. I am also really excited to have two of the best high school teams in the nation wrestling between the duals, as New Jersey’s own Delbarton will take on Pennsylvania power Wyoming Seminary, who just dethroned Blair as Prep National Champions.
"Finally, it will be fun to welcome Big 10 competitor Nebraska to Dillon Gym," Ayres added. "While the weekend will be incredibly tough as we have Penn and Rider that same weekend, we just could not pass up the opportunity to wrestle Nebraska. It should be another exciting season as we look to improve on last seasons 11-4 record and I think the schedule that will really prepare our team for success in the post season."
The season culminates with both the EIWA Championships (March 7-8 at Lehigh) and the NCAA Championships (March 19-21 in St. Louis).