Prior to a torn ACL in his regular-season finale two years ago, Adam Krop had plans for an All-America season. After a year of determined rehabilitation, it doesn't appear that Krop's goals have changed upon his return. The junior took third at the the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open, a highlight performance that included four other Princeton wrestlers placing in the top six at the season-opening event.
It was a highly impressive team showing for Princeton in an event that included reigning national champion Penn State, reigning EIWA champion Cornell and several other national powers. Beyond the five placewinners, multiple Princeton wrestlers made deep runs in both the championship and consolation draws.
"I think they all wrestled hard," head coach Chris Ayres. "It was a good measuring stick. We know what we have to work on. We have a few weight classes who are doing really well, and a few who need to step it up if we're going to be a good dual team."
Krop, who broke into the national Top 15 as a sophomore, won seven of his eight matches Sunday, with his lone loss coming in the quarterfinal to eventual champion Zain Rutherford of Penn State. That match, a 6-3 win for the highly touted Penn State freshman, was the only close match of the day for Rutherford; of Krop's seven wins, one came by fall, two came by technical fall and two came by major decision.
Moylan, who started at 141 last season, won six matches at 149, including a pair in the championship draw. His trip to the consolation final included a brilliant third-period comeback, when he turned a five-point deficit with 40 seconds remaining into a three-point win, thanks to two near falls and a takedown.
Freshman Matthew Gancayco may not have been the most heralded member of his class, but he turned some heads in his run through the 165-pound weight class. After winning two championship draw matches by fall, he added a third fall in the consolation round and a tight 3-2 win to clinch a spot in the top six.
While Gancayco was making his collegiate debut, Callahan was looking to build off his impressive finish to the 2013 season, when he placed at the EIWA Championships. The senior was one of two Tigers who had the deepest run throught the championship draw, reaching the semifinals before falling in a close 7-4 decision to Cornell's Owen Scott. He lost to another Cornell wrestler, Jesse Shanaman, in the consolation semifinal. Shanaman also eliminated Princeton freshman Brett Harner, a freshman who reached the quarterfinal round, but ultimately fell one match short of placewinner status.
Ayala placed at the Binghamton Open for the second straight year. Like Callahan, he reached the semifinal round before falling to eventual champion Morgan McInstosh of Penn State. Ayala showed some impressive toughness in his route to the semifinals, though, winning two of his three matches by two points apiece.
Other Princeton wrestlers to reach the championship quarterfinals were freshman Trey Aslanian (125), sophomore Nick Maselli (149), junior Kyle Roddy (157), Harner (174), and freshman Troy Murtha (184). Another freshman, Jordan Laster, lost in second round of the 133-pound draw to eventual champion Mark Grey of Cornell; the 6-2 decision would be the second-closest match for Grey throughout his title run.