The Princeton wrestling team made its final tournament of November its most impressive one of the early season, placing six wrestlers overall — including three in the finals — and earning third overall at the 2013 Navy Invitational.
Senior Garrett Frey (125), junior Adam Krop (141) and sophomore Abe Ayala (197) each made their respective finals for Princeton, which scored 101.5 points to defeat Kent State and several other squads. Big Ten power Wisconsin won the overall title with 164 points, while reigning EIWA runner-up Navy took second with 106.5 points, only five more than Princeton.
"This was a really exciting day for us, placing third in this kind of field," head coach Chris Ayres said. "The guys worked hard all day and picked up some very impressive wins against good opponents. It's another step forward, but we all realize we still have a long way to go."
Frey made his season debut an impressive one, winning two matches by fall and then winning a 4-2 semifinal to reach the championship match at 125, though Wisconsin's Ryan Taylor pulled out the victory 9-4.
Krop, who took third at the season-opening Binghamton Open, moved up a spot on the podium, though an injury in the final limited his hopes of the top spot. The nation's 19th-ranked wrestler, Krop won his first four matches, including a 10-0 major decision over Wisconsin's Jesse Thielke, who was ranked one spot above Krop. He took on reigning EIWA champion Richard Durso in the final, but an early injury in the match forced Krop to default.
Ayala, who also placed in Binghamton, won three matches, including two close victories, to reach the 197 final. An 8-6 win the quarterfinal and an 11-8 win in the semifinal set up a showdown with 16th-ranked Phil Wellington of Ohio. Ayala kept the match close before finally falling by a 9-3 decision.
Harner won three matches in the championship draw, including one by fall, before a pair of losses left him in the fifth-place match. Harner bounced back with a technical fall to finish fifth, matching the place for Ziegler; Princeton's 165-pound representative at last year's EIWA championships had to take the longer consolation road, but he won five matches in that bracket to finish fifth.
Laster also made a strong run through the consolation draw, winning four straight to clinch a spot on the podium. In the same weight class, Princeton sophomore Chris Perez made his return since a torn ACL in February, 2012; Perez won his debut in overtime before falling in his next two matches.
You can see all of the brackets by clicking on the link above.
Princeton will return to the mats next Sunday in one of the great collegiate showcases of the year. The Tigers will take on EIWA rivals Drexel and Army at the 2013 Grapple at the Garden, held next Sunday morning at Madison Square Garden.