The Princeton wrestling team will take more than just oversized expectations of itself when the Tigers head to the Nebraska Duals this weekend.
They'll be bringing a national ranking as well.
For only the second time in program history, Princeton cracked the Top 25 of the USA Today/NWCA Coaches Poll this week, following its impressive sweep of both Maryland and Buffalo during the Grapple at the Garden last weekend. Princeton can turn even more heads if it can come out of the NU Coliseum with another sweep this weekend. The 25th-ranked Tigers will take on EIWA rival Drexel (10 am CT), Michigan State (12 pm) and No. 7 Nebraska Saturday.
Princeton enters the weekend with six wrestlers ranked among the Top 20 at their respective weights by InterMat. Leading the way is freshman Matthew Kolodzik, who ranked fourth at 141 after a 7-0 start to his season. Kolodzik could face two nationally ranked wrestlers Saturday; Nebraska's Colton McCrystal is 11th, while Michigan State's Javier Gasca is 14th.
Senior Brett Harner is seventh after splitting a pair of matches at Madison Square Garden, and he could see a familiar foe in the final match of the day. Nebraska's Aaron Studebaker is currently ranked eighth; the pair split matches at the 2015 Midlands, though Harner scored a first-period fall in the latter of the two showdowns.
Junior Jonathan Schleifer is ranked 16th at 174, and he could also face a rematch later Saturday. Nebraska's Micah Barnes, currently 17th at the weight, defeated Schleifer in the 2015 Grapple at the Garden, but Schleifer bounced back with a 5-4 overtime win over Barnes to become the first Princeton finalist at the Midlands Championships.
Besides Kolodzik, the only undefeated starter on the Princeton roster is senior heavyweight Ray O'Donnell, who is ranked 19th. He could move up the ranks with another perfect day, especially if he faces 17th-ranked Collin Jensen of Nebraska.
Senior Jordan Laster is ranked 18th at 149, the third-best spot among EIWA wrestlers. He could face one of the two ranked above him in the opener; Drexel's Matt Cimato is 11th at that weight class.
Junior Ian Baker, who missed the Grapple at the Garden with an injury, remained 17th at 184. If he competes Saturday, he could face fourth-ranked TJ Dudley of Nebraska. Freshman Kevin Parker, coming off two victories by fall at Madison Square Garden, could also be in the mix to take on one of the nation's best at the weight.
There is at least one ranked wrestler at every weight except 165 competing in Nebraska Saturday. Tiger sophomore Pat D'Arcy could face two of them — No. 4 Eric Montoya (Nebraska) and No. 14 Kevin Devoy (Drexel).
125 – Ty Agaisse (6-3)
133 – Pat D'Arcy (3-4)
141 – No. 4 Matthew Kolodzik (7-0)
149 – No. 18 Jordan Laster (6-3)
157 – Mike D'Angelo (3-4) or Lepnard Merkin (6-3
165 – Joe Tavoso (2-3) or Chase Piperato (1-1)
174 – No. 16 Jonathan Schleifer (6-1)
184 – No. 16 Ian Baker (4-1) or Kevin Parker (5-2)
197 – No. 4 Brett Harner (2-1)
285 – No. 18 Ray O'Donnell (5-0)