Tires, Weights, and a Common Goal: Wrestling, Men’s Hockey Teams Face Off in Preseason Competition

All was quiet behind Princeton Stadium just after 9 a.m. on Saturday morning until a pack of muscular, orange-and-black-clad men hurtled around the corner towards DeNunzio Pool like it was the running of the bulls. Those students, from the men’s hockey and wrestling teams (clad in orange and black, respectively), were taking part in their third annual strength-and-conditioning competition, held each fall.

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Members of the wrestling team, top, and men’s hockey team, bottom, competed in conditioning races Saturday morning. The event has become an annual tradition for the programs. (Photos: Jackson Dobies ’14)

The event was sparked by a conversation about preseason workouts, between wrestling coach Chris Ayers and hockey coach Bob Prier. They organized a group workout with an element of friendly competition. Each year, the teams’ coaches come up with exercises designed to test the strength of both groups without giving one too much of an advantage.

“Last year the final event was soccer and obviously hockey’s a team sport so they were a lot better at that,” said Max Rogers ’16 of the wrestling team. “[But] this is our year.”

In addition to the opening footrace, this year’s events included a series of relay races. One involved flipping an enormous tire around a cone and back five times, with a different player pushing it each time. In the second, each player had to push a weight-laden sled around a cone and back. The final challenge was a speed-walking relay race, which may sound relatively easy but was not — each walker carried two giant weights.

“We just want to do stuff that requires teamwork and the guys to get after each other, and also that they get pretty tired doing it,” Ayers said.

Saturday was historic for the wrestling team, which won for the first time. Though the wrestlers will clearly relish the bragging rights, Ayers stressed at the end of the competition that the teams, which are very close with one another, have to support each other as they prepare to begin their 2013-2014 seasons.

Hockey goalie Sean Bonar ’14 said he enjoyed the camaraderie between the squads.

“We get along great with these guys, and they’ve got a similar mindset to us,” he said. “Competitions like this I think are really important. Every now and then you get lost in your own world with your athletics, and it’s nice to realize that there are a lot of people out there who are doing the same thing, or a similar thing.”

The connection between the teams was evident at several points during the morning, most notably at the end of the sled-pushing race when the wrestlers won and then cheered on the last member of the hockey team to cross the line. At the end of the competition, the teams came together and filled Jadwin Gym’s underground practice area with a deafening roar of “PRINCETON!”

Quick Takes

Football overran Columbia in its first Ivy League game, 53-7. The Tigers have now scored 50 or more points in two straight games for the first time since 1907. Quarterback Quinn Epperly ’15, who usually splits time with Connor Michelsen ’15, took control of the offense after Michelsen left with an injury, throwing for 272 yards and four touchdowns and running for two more. The team is 2-1, its best record through three games since 2008.

Field hockey also took it to Columbia, blanking the Lions 5-0 at Bedford Field. The Tigers outshot the Lions 31-4. Princeton is now ranked 11th in the country and has won 16 straight Ivy games. Back Cassidy Arner ’15 and striker Allison Evans ’15 contributed two goals each as the Tigers scored all five goals in the first half and relied on goalies Anya Gersoff ’16 and Christina Maida ’14 to keep the lead safe.

Cameron Porter ’15’s header in the 67th minute gave men’s soccer the edge over previously unbeaten Dartmouth. The 2-1 victory was the first time the team had won in Hanover since 2003. Though the score was close, Princeton controlled possession throughout, outshooting the Big Green 12-2 in the Ivy opener for both teams.

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