SECOND SEASON COLUMN 12

Streaks ending and continuing, a musical lament to a lost love, the terrible trio stay terrific, and a Southern Scuffle sketch, part 1

PRINCETON BREAKS THINGS, DOESN’T APOLOGIZE

A blueprint for longterm academic and athletic brilliance is being realized as the Tigers of Coach Chris Ayres have stopped long losing streaks to bitter rivals Lehigh and Rider this season. The 21-19 victory over the MountainHawks was lauded immediately by Coach A. as the biggest win in his 11 year tenure at Princeton. Think his AA wrestling career while wearing a Lehigh singlet had anything to do with that statement/elation? Just a tat, perhaps. Not at all satisfied with 1 streak-snapping showing, Princeton played poor host to cross town power Rider and ended an 18 match boojee with a 23-21 triumph. The Tigers, this season, have:

1. A #1 ranked wrestler, 149lb 2xAA Matt “MK Ultra” Kolodzik

2. A second unbeaten grappler, 197 lb Sophomore Team Captain Patrick Brucki

3. A fresh off the high school boat sensation in 125lb 2X NJ state champ Patrick Glory, whose only loss this yr. is to defending national champ Spencer Lee of Iowa

4. A reborn and refreshed upper class cadre of stars-to-be highlighted by 184lb junior Kevin Parker. His pin over Riders tough Michael Fagg-Daves sealed the upset (was it an upset?) Parker also nabbed a tourney title first event out this season when he, along with Glory and Brucki, won their weght classes at the Princeton Open.

And those are just some of the highlights, folks. The hashtags  #getin and #ourstreakstartsnow are drawing in Tigers fans and, from this biased viewpoint (JERZEY, BABY!) things are tight, all right, and outta sight in the Garden State. Circle February 3rd as Princeton aims at another upset and the NJ College wrestling title when the Tigers go to Piscataway for a throwdown showdown with BIG10 power Rutgers.

HEARTBREAKER COUGS, OR WHATTAYA DO WHEN A LOVE UPGRADES ON YOU.

Decades ago a faraway fan initiated a broadcast based friendship with the athletics staff at Division II wrestling powerhouse SIUE. The Cougars were winners of multiple national Championships and too many individual titles and All Americans to count. Olympic veteran Coach Larry Kristoff guided SIUE for 30 years, laying the groundwork for the Cougars climb to the top of the wrestling mountain, D1. Fast forward to this decade and SIUE, while successful, obviously yearned for more. Enter budding coaching star Jeremy Spates and the Cougs improved until, at last, they brought back the glory with 174lb Jake Residoris Division 1 All American run in 2017. And then what? They went MAC’in on their fans and the Scribe and ditched the Southern Conference for the Mid American. The fans were probably thrilled; new, tougher rivals like 11x MAC champs Central Michigan and top 10 national power Missouri, and a now conference as well as instate rivalry with the Huskies of Northern Illinois. This and many other wrestling and food issues arose when SIUE coaches Kayla Brown and Doug “McD” (initials his choice) visited the (quite well-known) San Antonio BBQ restaurant where the Scribe services the best customers in the Alamo City. Both greatly enjoyed their BBQ “pit-stop” (see what we did there?) but were cautiously non-committal on their ability/influence in returning the Cougars to their rightful home in the D1 landscape. Thus, this musical lament, to the tune of “Baby, Come Back”….

Spending days and nights, working on a Conference plan,

Presbyterian & Little Rock on my mind

But when the morning comes, I got that SIU feeling again

tryin to forget you, just a waste of time…

COUGARS, COME BACK. …

any kind of fan can see

You’re sure something, rockin now that Coach Spates has you

COUGARS COME BACK….

the SoCon needs S-I-U-E

And Buffalos, too cold, and far to go to….

THE TERRIBLE TRIO, OR,

HERE THERE BE MONSTERS

Said many a margin on the Worlds early maps. Edges replete with bizarre and horrific creatures eager to destroy any adventurer bold enough to travel in their realms. Of late in Division 1 wrestling, these fantastic beasts can be found in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Columbus, Ohio, and especially in State College, Pennsylvania. Cowboys and Buckeyes and Lions, oh my. Its not just that theyre all unbeaten (expected) but its their overall domination that has been eye catching. Only the Wisconsin Badgers of Coach Chris Bono have even been close to under-double-digit victim status to the trio. Both John Smiths Oklahoma St Cowboys and Cael Sandersons Nittany Lions have posted shutout wins, an almost unheard of point differential at high D1 levels. The Cowboys lapped the field at Thursdays Reno Tournament of Champions, the Buckeyes clobbered everybody at the Cliff Keen Invitational first week of December, and everyones expecting a Penn St. Coronation at this years Southern Scuffle. Speaking of which…..

A SCENIC CITY WRESTLING PRIMER/TOUR GUIDE

So, you say you want something new, something different, something fun for you and your significant other this New Years. Might we suggest a 4 or 5 day stay in that top 20 foodie ranked, top 10 clean and pedestrian friendly, top 5 best “little big” city by the banks of the Tennessee river this New Years? Chattanooga has a beautiful downtown with museums, a great aquarium, high quality coffee shops and specialty stores, AND the best, biggest and oldest college wrestling tournament in the Deep South. The 2019 Southern Scuffle will provide 2 full days of scintillating action as top athletes from every Division 1 conference will put their best efforts on display. Defending Scuffle and National Champs Penn State will field a team for the ages, and fans of all ages will find plenty to see, do, and enjoy. Try the soups and sandwiches at the Yellow Deli. Savor the sweets and sip some pre or post wrestling matches coffee at Milk n Honey. If you like tried and true, there’s BoneFish Grille, Mellow Mushroom, Ruth Chris Steakhouse, PF Changs and, really, what Southern site worth its salt doesnt have a Cracker Barrel in easy distance? (15 minutes from downtown in Ooltewah, BTW). Plan at least a half day for either the Tennessee Aquarium or the Hunter Museum of American Art, though more time at both places is better. Embrace the kitsch at Ruby Falls and Rock City Gardens, both old school style American attractions. The weight of history can be felt at the various Civil War sites in and around Chattanooga, and no visit is complete without a tour of the old train depot. So go, enjoy, cheer on the the team(s) of your choice (GO MOCS!) and give yourself and your team an all around better vacation experience. In Chattanooga, the Scenic City!

See you sometime soon!

Ted Carreras