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Kolodzik helps Princeton to first top-25 finish since '85

Matthew Kolodzik

It didn't take long for the first freshman All-American in Princeton wrestling history to start looking towards his own bright future, as well as the one for a program that has meant so much to him since the day his older brother, Daniel, first put on the Orange and Black.

Matthew Kolodzik wrapped up an incredible freshman season -- All-American, EIWA champion, 30 victories, Ivy League Rookie of the Year and first-team All-Ivy League honoree -- by rallying in the third period of his seventh-place match for a 3-1 victory over 14th-seeded Thomas Thorn of Minnesota. Trailing 1-0 entering the final period, Kolodzik selected the down position and slipped behind Thorn for a reversal (see video highlights above) to grab a 2-1 lead. He rode the Minnesota sophomore the remainder of the period to pick up a 3-1 victory and finish seventh in the nation, the best for a Princeton wrestler since Greg Parker '03 reached the 2002 championship match.

"I knew he was planning on throwing everything out at me today, and I planned on doing the same," Kolodzik said afterwards. "So that's what I did. I take a little bit of frustration with me [after the weekend]. I'm happy for the team, I'm happy for me, I'm happy that I [earned All-American] and ultimately bring this program another step closer to where it wants to be. At the end of the day, this is the seventh step on that podium. There's another six above it, and the goal is to be at the top of all of them."

Kolodzik's win helped Princeton finish 25th in the NCAA Championships, which marks only the seventh time in program history that the Tigers achieved that milestone, and the first since 1985. The Tigers finished with 15.5 points after bringing a program-best seven wrestlers -- Kolodzik, Pat D'Arcy, Mike D'Angelo, Jonathan Schleifer, and the senior captain trio of Brett Harner, Jordan Laster and Ray O'Donnell -- to St. Louis.

"I feel good," Ivy League and EIWA Coach of the Year Chris Ayres said afterwards. "You know me, I'm never totally satisfied. Go back to Easterns, the guys wrestled hard, and they wrestled hard here too. We got six into Day 2, we got another All-American, so it's a pretty good jump for our program."

And it's a bright future ahead.

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