Freshman Matthew Kolodzik may have been one of the most highly touted recruits in the country, but he certainly wasn’t handed a No. 4 ranking this season based on any pre-Princeton accomplishments.
Kolodzik, already 18-1 on his freshman season, is currently ranked fourth on InterMat at 141 pounds, and he already has wins this season on wrestlers currently ranked sixth (Rutgers’ Anthony Ashnault), ninth (Lehigh’s Randy Cruz), 11th (Nebraska’s Colton McCrystal), 16th (Army’s Logan Everett), and 19th (Michigan State’s Javier Gasca).
The challenge is raised this Saturday when Princeton takes on 15th-ranked Stanford Saturday at 1 pm at the New York Athletic Club. Kolodzik will take on returning All-American Joey McKenna, a sophomore who placed third at the 2016 NCAA Championships. Kolodzik and McKenna were teammates on the national champion Blair Academy wrestling squad.
That will be the highlight match of the afternoon, though there will be another nationally ranked match at 197. Princeton senior Brett Harner, another returning All-American and the 12th-ranked wrestler in the country at 197, is slated to face 20th-ranked Josh Marchok.
Princeton (5-5) comes into the match on the momentum of a 28-8 win over Penn in the Ivy League opener for both teams. The Tigers won eight of the 10 individual showdowns, including a win for freshman Ty Agaisse, the 125-pounder who returned from injury for his seventh win of the season. Junior Jon Schleifer posted a 7-4 win over returning All-American Casey Kent, and moved up to 16th in the latest InterMat rankings.
While the Tigers have gotten strong individual performances throughout the season, they don’t have the big team win they have been seeking yet. All five of their losses this season are to teams currently ranked in the NWCA Top 25, where Stanford currently stands in the 15th spot. The Cardinal is currently 3-1 on the season, with its lone loss coming to No. 2 Penn State. Stanford has six nationally ranked projected starters, including 10th-ranked heavyweight Nathan Butler.
Following Saturday’s match, Princeton will break for Finals, and then will return Feb. 4 for an Ivy League home pair against both Brown and Harvard.