Wrestlers Celebrate Homecoming with 32-8 Victory over Princeton at New York Athletic Club
Courtesy: Columbia University Athletics/Mike McLaughlin

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Before an enthusiastic crowd filling the New York Athletic Club gymnasium, Columbia came from behind to defeat Princeton in a key Ivy League wrestling match, 32-8, on wrestling's homecoming. The Lions won eight of the 10 bouts to improve to 7-5 overall, and evened its Ivy League record to 1-1.

"I was proud of the way our guys wrestled tonight," said Brendan Buckley, the Andrew F. Barth Head Coach of Wrestling.  "We went out and controlled the tempo of the match in the vast majority of our bouts and it showed.  I am always pleased when I see our team win the close ones as that is the sign of a good team.  Additionally, on a big night for our program, I was happy to see our team step up in front of our alumni."

The Tigers took an early 8-3 lead after major decisions at 125 and 141, but Columbia went on to win the next seven matches en route to an important Ivy League win. 

Kyle Gilchrist put the Lions on the board with a 9-4 decision over Tony Comunale at 133 pounds.  His classmate, Shane Strumwasser used a six-point third period effort to earn a 10-2 major decision over Jason Ott at 149 pounds.

Columbia took its first lead in a dramatic win by Jake O'Hara at 157 pounds, and never looked back.  O'Hara led 5-3 after the first period, but Daniel Kolodzik scored the only three points in the second to go ahead 6-5. The match was knotted at 6-6 off a penalty point against the Princeton wrestler, before O'Hara went ahead on an escape to lead 7-6.  Kolodzik reclaimed his lead on a takedown, but O'Hara managed a late reversal with seconds remaining to bring the score to 9-8.  However, with 1:27 in riding time for Kolodzik, the match score was tied at 9-9 and ultimately was forced to overtime.  It was then that O'Hara scored a quick takedown for the sudden victory win.

"Jake's bout with one of Princeton's best wrestlers swung the momentum for the home team," added Buckley.

Eren Civan was up next at 165 pounds, and jumped out to a 6-2 lead after the first.  He pushed his lead to 13-4 in the second before pinning Seth Hazelton halfway through the third (5:47) to put Columbia ahead 16-8.

A forfeit at 174 pounds was followed by a 6-1 win by Nick Mills at 184 pounds over Travis Erdman.  Mike Pushpak followed that up with a close 7-5 battle over Dan Santoro at 197.  In the final bout of the evening, Kevin Lester dominated from the opening whistle, and went on the claim a 13-4 major decision over Charles Fox at heavyweight.

"Mike Pushpak also had a great match at 197 pounds, scoring the winning takedown late in the match the second time in two weeks," said Buckley.

Following the match, David and Michael Barry were honored in a reception celebrating their commitment to establishing a new endowment in support of an Assistant Wrestling Coach Position.

Columbia (7-5, 1-1 Ivy League) will close out the home portion of it schedule on Saturday, February 12 in University Gymnasium when it hosts Penn at 3 p.m.  Prior to the match, the 1961 Ivy League wrestling championship team will be honored. 

Columbia 32, Princeton 8
125 - #18 Garrett Frey (P) major dec. Penn Gottfried, 12-3
133 - Kyle Gilchrist (C) dec. Tony Comunale, 9-4
141 - Zach Bintliff (P) major dec. Josh Houldsworth, 12-3
149 - Shane Strumwasser (C) major dec. Jason Ott, 10-2
157 - Jake O'Hara (C) dec. Daniel Kolodzik, 11-9 (sv)
165 - Eren Civan (C) pinned Seth Hazelton in 5:47
174 - Stephen West (C) wins by forfeit
184 - Nick Mills (C) dec. Travis Erdman, 6-1
197 - Mike Pushpak (C) dec. Dan Santoro, 7-5
Hwt. - #20 Kevin Lester (C) major dec. Charles Fox, 13-4