NCAA Wrestling Live national champion for the 14th time in program history — and the seventh time in the past eight years — after a 136.5-point two-day performance in Cleveland, Ohio from March 9-10. Wartburg finished 54.5 points ahead of runner-up Augsburg. Rounding out the top three finishers was Ithaca.Follow below for a full recap of Saturday’s events at the DIII national NCAA Wrestling Live, Stream, Online, Watch, Streaming, free.
Now a senior, Schleifer – an East Brunswick High School product – is the first Princeton wrestler to qualify for the NCAA Tournament all four years.Schleifer, an 165-pound senior, and sophomore returning All-American Matt Kolodzik (149), junior Mike D’Angelo (157) and freshman Patrick Brucki (197) will compete in Cleveland Thursday through Sunday to try to attain All-American honors and become Princeton’s second national champion NCAA Wrestling Live.
Schleifer has a 2-6 record at nationals, going 1-2 as a freshman and junior and 0-2 as a sophomore. So while he’s proud of his accomplishments so far, he still has work to do to achieve his goals in his final national tournament.”It’s great being the first one to do anything,” admitted Schleifer. “But qualifying is not good enough. My goal has always been to win and place. I think I’m going to take a step forward this year, just because of my whole training plan and preparation physically and mentally throughout the year NCAA Wrestling Live.”
Part of Schleifer’s change this year is dropping back to 165 pounds, where he competed as a freshman. The last two years Schleifer was at 174 pounds.”The end of his freshman year he was one of the best wrestlers I’ve ever witnessed, we felt he should have won nationals,” said Princeton coach Chris Ayres. “He was phenomenal. At 65, he was cutting a little bit of weight. So we figured we’d move him up, so he didn’t have to worry about cutting weight NCAA Wrestling Live.
“He got a lot of wins at 74 but he didn’t do great at the end of the year, so this year we figured he would go back down to 65. He’s a little stronger at the weight. I asked him if he thought he could make 65 pretty easy. He said it might not be easy but he could make it.”Schleifer’s path to an All-American honor didn’t receive an easy start. He drew the third-seeded defending national champion, Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph, in the first round NCAA Wrestling Live.
“For him we look at it as good thing, all the pressure is off,” said Ayres. “He’s not expected to beat him, and Jon wrestles well without expectation. If we need him to pin he doesn’t perform great, but when he can be himself he’s really good. As tough as Vincenzo is, he’s totally beatable. He lost in the conference tournament, so a tough draw can turn into good draw if you beat him or fall into a good space in the wrestlebacks NCAA Wrestling Live.
“This is his last chance. It’s now or never for Jon. Our theme for the postseason and we say it to the whole team is pressure is a privilege. They have an opportunity to do amazing things.”
The 165 bracket could be called the Jersey bracket. In addition to Schleifer, it includes Rider’s No. 4 Chad Walsh (Camden Catholic), Rutgers’ No. 6 Richie Lewis (Toms River South), Virginia Tech’s No. 2 David McFadden (DePaul), Penn’s May Bethea (Trenton) and Lehigh’s Gordon Wolf (Lawrence NCAA Wrestling Live).
But Ayres is feeling good about the chances of his four wrestlers, especially after a grueling schedule. The Tigers were just 4-9 this season after facing eight ranked teams – including five that ended the season in the Top 11 – but placed third at the EIWA NCAA Wrestling Live.
“I’m 100 percent confident we can have four All-Americans,” said Ayres. “The schedule to us is everything. We had the worst record in the EIWA and we were third.”We want to be a Top 10 team and if we’re over .500 against that schedule we would be. We won’t step on the line in Cleveland and see something we’ve never seen before. Facing somebody from Ohio State and Michigan we don’t feel like we need to do super human things NCAA Wrestling Live.”
Among those potential All-Americans is Schleifer, who will graduate in May with a degree in chemical and biological engineering with plans to go into pharmaceutical research. Before then, he has some unfinished business.
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