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TULSA, Okla. — The 71-year drought is over for the Princeton University wrestling team.
With one last solid performance, Princeton senior Patrick Glory captured the 125-pound championship at the NCAA Division I Championships at the sold-out BOK Arena on Saturday night.
With his victory, Glory became Princeton’s first champion since 1951 and just the second in the history of the program.
A two-time New Jersey state champ at the Delbarton School, Glory capped off a perfect 25-0 season by beating Matt Ramos of Purdue, 4-1, in the championship match.
Glory forced the action for nearly the entire match, but Ramos was repeatedly able to scramble out of vulnerable positions and avoid being taken down.
Until the third period, that is, when Glory finally was able to finish off a takedown and take a commanding 3-0 lead. Knowing how strong Glory is in the top position, Ramos had taken neutral to start the third. Ramos’ only point came on a late stalling call, while Glory’s fourth point was for riding time.
“We did it,” said an emotional Glory. “It’s all part of the community around me. I have so many people to thank.”
When the tournament started, it was expected the No. 2 seeded Glory would wrestle in the final against Iowa’s top-seeded Spencer Lee, who was shooting for a fourth national title. That didn’t happen when Ramos pinned Lee in the semifinals, but for Glory it was all about staying focused and wrestling his match no matter who was his opponent.
The result was Glory was dominant start to finish as he followed up on an opening-round pin by posting 10-0, 8-4, 8-2 and, finally, 4-1 decisions.
“I wish (teammate) Quincy (Monday) could have been in the finals with me, but I just wanted to prove to everybody I could do it,” said Glory, who had finished second the year before. “Patrick Glory is a national champion.”
Indeed he is and he did it in style by avoiding the pitfalls in a tournament that was filled with notable upsets.
In other results involving wrestlers at New Jersey colleges, Princeton’s Monday (167) and Rider’s Ethan Laird (197) finished up their All-American performances earlier in the day.
After dropping a tough one-point decision in the semifinals, Monday stormed back with two high quality wins against formidable opponents to finish third.
First, Monday defeated Dean Hamiti of Wisconsin by the score of 9-7. The Princeton senior then wrapped up a stellar career for the Tigers that included a second at nationals last year with a 3-2 win over Michigan’s Cameron Amine. Monday’s final record for the year was 27-3.
“It was just heart, it was very tough, I was really down on myself, especially the way (the semifinal) ended,” Monday said. “I didn’t go out on my own terms, so I set out to do that (finish third).”
After losing in the semifinals on Friday night, Rider’s Laird lost two more matches on Saturday to finish in the sixth spot. Laird’s day began with a 5-2 loss to Bernie Truax of Cal Poly. He then lost again by the score of 7-3 to Iowa’s Jacob Warner in the fifth/sixth match.
Although Laird ended the year with three straight losses, his 28-4 final record and a berth in the semifinals goes down as one of the greatest seasons in the history of Rider wrestling.
Two New Jersey scholastic wrestlers who finished third were Penn State 149-pound freshman Shane Van Ness (Blair Academy) and Cornell 174-pounder Chris Foca (Bergen Catholic).
As was totally expected, Penn State won the team championship for the 10th time in the last 12 years the tournament has been held by officially locking it up in the wrestle-backs.
For the second straight year Penn State advanced five wrestlers into the finals and two of them won. Penn State’s final margin of victory was by a record 55 points over second-place Iowa. Cornell came in third.
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