Kevin Parker was thrown into the fire over his first two seasons as a starting upperweight in a loaded EIWA field. He may have been singed now and then, but he never gave in. On Thursday night, his growth manifested itself in front of a packed Dillon Gym, and he made sure he burned a second long losing streak for the Princeton wrestling team this season.
Less than a month removed from ending a 14-match losing streak to league rival Lehigh, Princeton used a dramatic pin from Parker and bonus points in four of five wins to end an 18-match losing streak to county rival Rider in the Tigers' 2018-19 home debut.
A pair of tight wins at 165 and 174 helped Rider grab a 15-14 lead entering Parker's match against Michale Fagg Daves, who Parker had defeated en route to a Tiger Open win in the opening weekend of the season. Despite being the early aggressor, it was Fagg Daves who held a 2-0 lead after a late takedown in the second period and looked to give Rider a significant lead with two matches to go.
The fall came 58 seconds into the second period, and it opened the door for third-ranked 197-pounder Patrick Brucki, who was more than happy to slam it shut on the Broncs. Just as he did in Bethlehem on Nov. 30, Brucki clinched the team win with a 12-5 decision, which moved him to 11-0 on the season.
Those two were able to clinch the win thanks to a strong first half of the match by their Princeton teammates. Freshman Patrick Glory made quick work of his Dillon debut, as he pinned Jonathan Tropea 1:59 into his 125-pound match to open a 6-0 lead.
A forfeit and a tight loss at 141 gave Rider a brief lead, but top-ranked junior Matthew Kolodzik returned the advantage with a dominant 18-3 technical fall at 149. Princeton knew it would need one more victory from its young starters before Parker and Brucki took the mat, and they got it at 157 from freshman Quincy Monday.
Four of Monday's last five losses have come by three points or fewer, so he was no stranger to close matches. Monday scored an early takedown of Gino Fluri, but then battled into a tough third period with a slim 3-2 edge. He wasn't going to let this one get away, and he took Fluri down one more time to secure a 6-2 win.
Sophomore Dale Tiongson gave 20th-ranked Jesse Dellavecchia a scare in a 6-2 loss, and freshman Travis Stefanik gave up a late takedown to fall 7-5 at 174. Those decisions gave Rider a slim, and short-lived, 15-14 lead when Parker took the mat.
Moments later, Princeton was on its way to a third dual win of the season.
The Tigers will head home for a few days before beginning final preparations for the Midlands Championships, which will take place in Chicago Dec. 29-30. Check back with GoPrincetonTigers.com for a full preview leading up to the event.
125 - #14 Patrick Glory (P) WBF Jonathan Tropea 1:59
133 - Anthony Cefelo (R) wins by forfeit
141 - Travis Layton (R) dec. Marshall Keller 3-2
149 - #1 Matthew Kolodzik (P) TF Evan Fidelibus 18-3 (7:00)
157 - Quincy Monday (P) dec. Gino Fluri 6-2
165 - #20 Jesse Dellavecchia (R) dec. Dale Tiongson 6-2
174 - Dean Sherry (R) dec. Travis Stefanik 7-5
184 - Kevin Parker (P) WBF Michale Fagg Daves 3:58
197 - #3 Patrick Brucki (P) dec. Ethan Laird 12-5
285 - Ryan Cloud (R) WBF Obinna Ajah 1:46