After Making it to NCAA Wrestling Final Last Season, PU Senior Star Glory Determined to Take the Next Step
LAST SHOT AT GLORY: Princeton University wrestler Patrick Glory, top, controls a foe in a bout last season. Senior star Glory, who advanced to the NCAA final at 125 pounds last March, is primed to produce a big final campaign for the Tigers. Glory, who won the title at 125 in the Princeton Open earlier this month, is slated to be back on the mat this Sunday as the Tigers have duals against Michigan State and Wisconsin at the Prudential Center in Newark. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Patrick Glory was miserable as he took in the 2021 NCAA Wrestling Championships from his living room.
“Sitting and watching the NCAA tournament on the couch in the middle of the COVID in that 2021 year was really hard,” said Princeton University wrestling star Glory, who had competed in the 2019 NCAA Championships as freshman, taking sixth at 125 pounds.
“I had a lot of really long conversations with the coaches and just being like hey man, this is awful, this is really hard to watch. Your prime kind of going by and there is nothing really to do about it.”
Fueled by that frustration, Glory did something about it this past March, making the NCAA finals at 125 where he fell 5-3 to Michigan grad student and former Rutgers star Nick Suriano.
Competing with a chip on his shoulder helped third-seeded Glory in his NCAA run which saw him post a 13-5 win over second-seeded Vito Arujau of Cornell in the semis, avenging an earlier defeat to Arujau in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) final.
“It was really good to come back and send a message,” said Glory, Princeton’s first NCAA finalist since 2002. He was joined in the finals by classmate Quincy Monday, who advanced at 157. “It is always about proving people wrong. People didn’t think that I could get to that point so it was beneficial in that way. I didn’t get to fully send the message so there is work to be done.”
Looking forward to his senior campaign, Glory is looking to send that final message.
“The vibe in the room is work hard, do everything right, get your schoolwork done, lean on your brothers and sisters,” said Glory, who posted a 20-2 record last winter. “Now that we have the women’s program that is up and coming, they are in there with us. It is a lot of hard work. We had multiple guys in the room this morning getting private workouts in. We have yoga, active recovery that people are taking really seriously. We have a lot of momentum going into this year and I think you are going to see that on the wrestling mat.”
Glory got the 2022-23 season off to a good start, winning the 125-pound title Princeton Open earlier this month as he topped No. 22 Dylan Shawver 11-9 in the final. Currently ranked No. 2 nationally at 125, Glory is slated to be back on the mat this Sunday as the Tigers have duals against Michigan State and Wisconsin at the Prudential Center in Newark.
As Glory looks to take the next step this year, he analyzed the tape of his NCAA loss to Suriano to get a better sense of what he needs to do to get over that final hump.
“I am really bad at watching myself lose but I finally did at the beginning of the summer,” said Glory. “I wanted to break the barrier and just watch it. It wasn’t anything he really did, it was more what I didn’t do. In hindsight, that is OK, you learn from experiences like that. I really think that if I had had prior experience in the national finals, I would have wrestled differently. It is hard to really prepare for that.”
A key to Glory’s preparation this season is dealing with having a target in his back as he looks to advance to the national final for a second straight year.
“Pressure is something I have struggled with in the past in high school and even in middle school,” said Glory. “I have now realized that the way that you win is not by thinking about winning but more so in the process of doing everything right on a daily basis. I feel like that is what has helped me, to not put these matches on a pedestal and give them more grandeur than they actually are. It is just focusing on ‘what does my week look like, how does this week set me up for success in March?’ By breaking it down and making it more granular, it helps to keep from stressing about the pressure. If you know you did everything right, you can trust in the process and your technical abilities and mental abilities.”
The bonds Glory has developed with his classmates on the squad have inspired him to get the most out of his ability.
“The Class of 2023 is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” said Glory. “We are the best of friends, we trust each other with everything on the wrestling mat and outside of the wrestling mat. We are really brothers, and that translates. We wrestle better because of the relationship that we have with each other. When I think about why am I doing this, I don’t think it is really about me. It is more so for my teammates and my classmates specifically because I know what sacrifices have been made. Knowing that makes you want to go for battle for them even more.”
Helping the Princeton squad rise up the ladder nationally has also been a motivating factor for Glory.
“I don’t even know if I can put into words how proud I am to be part of this team,” said Glory.
“I know that it wasn’t always this way. I got really emotional after the semifinals last year because I knew how much had gone into that moment, from the 2002 Tigers that were just trying to get a set of 10 guys to compete to now having two national finalists. The trajectory that coach [Chris] Ayres and all of the coaches laid out for me and for us when I was getting recruited was actually being accomplished which is incredible.”
A native of Randolph who starred in high school at the Delbarton School in Morristown, Glory is proud to be representing his home state.
“Going from the state tournament in Atlantic City to competing in Jadwin every weekend has been amazing,” said Glory, a two-time New Jersey state champion (120/126). “The support from the New Jersey wrestling community has been unreal. I would not have ever predicted that the situation would have worked out this way. I was blessed to be able grow up in a state like New Jersey because there are some states that don’t have the same level of wrestling technical ability and coaching — everything that goes into the sport. I am really blessed to be a part of it.”
For now, Glory is savoring his current situation. “I am trying to bask in every second, it feels like every day is flying by; we are already through midterms in the fall semester,” said Glory. “I know I am going to miss it once I am gone. It is a culmination of 22 years of dedication to the sport with the love, blood, sweat, and tears. I am just trying to enjoy it as much as I can. That is something that I struggled with in the past with cutting weight and a lot of training. There is adversity in school and there are injuries. In the past, I was always pessimistic about it. I couldn’t wait for wrestling season to be over but this year I am really working hard to make it so that I appreciating being here and appreciating the process and appreciating the ability to compete because I know it is going to be gone soon.”