The Princeton wrestling team got off to its best start in years this season, but now it will get its first real test in dealing with adversity. The Tigers dropped a 27-9 decision to Rutgers in the 2013-14 home opener, which was the highlight in a “Celebration of New Jersey Wrestling.”
The match featured two of the state’s most prominent programs, and it was held in Jadwin Gym, a facility that has hosted both the New Jersey state championships and NCAA Championships.
Rutgers freshman Sean McCabe opened the team match scoring with a first-period takedown of Ryan Cash at 125. He reversed Cash quickly in the second to open a 4-0 lead and controlled the rest of the way to claim a 7-2 victory.
Princeton freshman Jordan Laster exploded out of the gate at 133 for a quick takedown of Scott DelVecchio to open a 2-1 lead. He escaped midway through the second to carry a 3-1 lead into the third. DelVecchio escaped quickly and used a double to score a takedown and grab a 4-3 lead. Laster was able to grab a brief lead with a reversal, but DelVecchio had the final takedown for an 8-5 win.
Needing a change in momentum desperately, Princeton sent out Krop, its nationally ranked standout at 141. He did his job in style, grabbing an early takedown and then turning freshman Tyson Dippery to his back for a fall at 2:44.
Princeton sophomore Kevin Moylan took the mat against Rutgers freshman Corey Stasenko, who used an escape and a takedown in the second period to open a 3-0 lead. He maintained control through the third and gave Rutgers the lead back with a 5-0 win.
Rutgers closed out the first half of the match with a 7-2 win from Anthony Perrotti, who controlled his match against Tiger freshman Matt Gancayco. The Princeton freshman was his usual aggressive self early, but Perrotti grabbed an early takedown and never let the momentum go.
Midway through the match, Princeton honored all former New Jersey state champions in attendance, including Lawrence Mackey, who won the 175-pound title for Somerville High in 1941.
Judd Ziegler opened the second half of the team match with a quick takedown at 165, but Nick Visicaro won a late scramble in the second period and turned it into a five-point move to open an 8-4 lead going into the final period. Visicaro got an escape to extend the lead, but Ziegler nearly pulled off a stunner during a late scramble. Visicaro was able to avoid a late pin attempt and opened a 15-6 lead for Rutgers.
Freshman Brett Harner was the early aggressor at 174, scoring a pair of quick takedowns early to open a quick lead over Phillip Bakuckas. After an escape apiece in both the second and early third, Harner’s lead was 5-3. Unfortunately, the final two takedowns went to Bakuckas, who was the late aggressor. His last takedown opened a 7-6 lead, and he rode Harner for the win.
Sophomore Scott Gibbons, Princeton’s wins leader last season, was locked in a scoreless duel for the first 4:58 of his match with Rutgers senior Dan Seidenberg, but a late escape in the second gave Seidenberg the edge heading into the third. Gibbons fought for a quick escape, but Seidenberg answered every charge and caught him for two quick back points to clinch a 3-0 win.
Sophomore Abe Ayala gave the Princeton faithful some late excitement by winning a thriller at 197. He had the early edge with a takedown, but Rutgers sophomore Hayden Hrymack scored both an escape and takedown to open a 3-2 lead. It would be 4-4 late in the third period when Ayala exploded into a double that put Hrymack down with less than 10 seconds to go, and Ayala walked away with the 6-4 win.
Rutgers finished the match with a first-period fall for nationally ranked Billy Smith, who caught Cole Lampman for a fall at 1:59.
Princeton will now focus on the Midlands Championships, held Dec. 29-30 at Northwestern. Two years ago, Krop made a national statement with a third-place finish at the event.
125 – Sean McCabe (Rut) d. Ryan Cash 7-2
133 – Scott DelVecchio (Rut) d. Jordan Laster 8-5
141 – Adam Krop (Prin) p. Tyson Dippery 2:44
149 – Corey Stasnko (Rut) d. Kevin Moylan 5-0
157 – Anthony Perrotti (Rut) d. Matt Gancayco 7-2
165 – Nick Visicaro (Rut) d. Judd Ziegler 9-4
174 – Phillip Bakuckas (Rut) d. Brett Harner 7-6
184 – Dan Seidenberg (Rut) d. Scott Gibbons 3-0
197 – Abe Ayala (Prin) d. Hayden Hrymack 6-4
HWT – Billy Smith (Rut) p. Cole Lampman 1:59