Extra Point: Making the Impossible Look Routine: For Wrestlers, a Reversal of Fortune

Wrestling coach Chris Ayres believes in the motivational power of storytelling. In February, his team provided a tale that he plans to use for as long as he’s coaching.

At Boston University Feb. 8, the Tigers trailed 20–3 with four matches to go. To win, they would need to sweep the remaining weights and pick up extra points for pins or major decisions. Ayres juggled his lineup, moving wrestlers to higher weight classes, and they responded with two wins and a pin, narrowing the gap to 20–17.

That placed the spotlight on Abram Ayala ’16, a 197-pounder bumped up to heavyweight, who would be facing one of the Terriers’ strongest competitors. Ayala fell behind early but rallied to take control. A win would have tied the team score, 20–20, but Princeton needed to win by at least seven points to gain a tiebreaker edge. With time running out, Ayala chose a different route, cradling his opponent and turning him on his back for the pin. …

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