The wrestling team (6-5, 3-4 EIWA) let a big lead slip away against Princeton (9-2, 9-2 EIWA) Friday night, starting its last road back-to-back of the season with a heartbreaking 18-16 loss.
After jumping out to a quick 9-0 lead following three decisions at 125, 133, and 141 pounds, the Lions sought to put the meet out of reach.
Princeton's Adam Krop, ranked No. 32 in the country in this week's NCAA coaches' poll, put the Tigers on the board with a 13-4 major decision over Ryan Ponte at 149 pounds.
In the 157-pound bout, Light Blue head coach Carl Fronhofer said he had hoped for a win from first-year Markus Scheidel, who had been favored against Princeton's Kevin Moylan. But Scheidel lost a 5-3 decision, giving up what would prove to be three crucial team points.
On this pivotal loss, Fronhofer expressed his support for Scheidel, who had been on a seven-match winning streak until Friday.
“We were favored at 57 [157 pounds]. Our guy's good, he's been on a roll. He just had a bad night. He lost a match that he should have won,” Fronhofer said. “He trains hard, he works hard, he wrestles hard. He just didn't wrestle a great match tonight.”
With Scheidel's loss, Columbia's lead was cut to 9-7. Consecutive wins, including a 10-1 major decision by No. 16 junior Shane Hughes at 174 pounds, brought the score to 16-7, but Columbia would not win again.
In the next two bouts, the Tigers earned two major decisions. With the score at 16-15, Princeton's Ray O'Donnell completed the comeback with a decision over senior Conor Sweeney in the heavyweight bout.
The Lions will have little time to contemplate the heartbreaking defeat—they hit the road tonight to wrestle Penn on Saturday afternoon. Fronhofer says they'll be ready.
“You get on the bus, you drive down to the hotel, you get some sleep, and you get ready to go tomorrow,” he said. “Nothing changes.”
The Lions wrestle Penn at 1 p.m. on Saturday in Philadelphia.
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