By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor
Even as Takahi Carter spent last year away from the Princeton High wrestling team, he never doubted he would return to the mat this year as a senior.
“I missed it,” said Carter, who picked up a victory by a pin at heavyweight on Wednesday night as Princeton topped West Windsor-Plainsboro North, 46-24. “It was a lot of fun and I wanted to come back. I have a great coach (Rashone Johnson). He’s always been like another father figure to me. I look up to him and I respect him. He’s been one of the most influential people in my life. It was a great feeling to get a win.”
Princeton jumped to a 40-0 lead in the match against WW-P North, which was its opening dual match of the season. The Little Tigers had competed in the TCNJ Pride Tournament last Saturday at Robbinsville, finishing eighth as a team.
The victory for Carter on Wednesday night was the first of his career that did not come by forfeit. He wrestled for the Little Tigers as a freshman and a sophomore before deciding to take last season off. But he is back this year and hoping to make an impact on the mat.
“He wrestled two years ago and did not wrestle last year and then he came back now,” Johnson said. “It felt good for him to get a win. That kid has come a long way since his freshman year. He is one of our only two seniors. The other senior is Rienaldo Zephirin at 145. Rienaldo is going to be solid for us. He was solid last year and he’s looked good so far this year.”
Carter is happy to be back with his wrestling teammates after not wrestling last season. His triumph on Wednesday was a long time coming as he is finally getting his shot at the varsity level.
“I knew I was coming back,” Carter said. “There was no way I would miss my senior year and not wrestle. I was doing a lot of heavy workouts and I was in the weight room the whole offseason. When I wasn’t working out for football I was working out for wrestling.
“I worked out all summer and all through the winter the previous winter just to keep my body in shape and to get strong enough to wrestle. I am just hoping to do the best I possibly can and get as many wins out of my senior year as possible. I have been wrestling since I was pretty young. I wrestled in middle school and have always liked wrestling.”
After getting the victory over the Knights on Wednesday, Princeton will wrestle at Ridgewood on Friday and compete in the Collingswood Tournament on Dec. 27.
“We’re just trying to stay healthy and get through the beginning of the season,” Johnson said. “We had a good day at the TCNJ Pride Tournament at Robbinsville. (Daniel) Monahan and Alec Bobchin won. Bobchin was the outstanding wrestler at the tournament. Chris Sockler, the freshman, was fourth at 120 and Dominic (Riendeau-Krause) was sixth at 132.”
In the result over WW-P North, the Little Tigers picked up three victories via forfeit and earned triumphs on the mat from Eric Song, Riendeau-Krause, Bobchin, Zephirin and Carter. Riendeau-Krause won by a decision, 13-3, while the other four PHS wrestlers all recorded pins.
By Bob Nuse, Sports Editor