Quincy Monday ’23 could add to his wrestling legacy at Princeton with an NCAA title next month. He’s aiming to become the program’s first national champion since Bradley Glass ’53 in 1951. That alone is significant, but Monday also would become Princeton wrestling’s first Black champion.
“Definitely I’m aware of the significance of doing that,” said Monday, who is already Princeton’s first Black All-American (2020 and 2022). “Things kind of go in conjunction with each other as you keep achieving things and progressing.”
Monday grew up the son of a groundbreaking wrestler. His father, Kenny Monday, became U.S. wrestling’s first Black gold medalist in the 1988 Olympics.
“I’m forging my own path,” said Quincy. “I’m going to compete the best that I can and try to be the best wrestler I can be, and he laid a great foundation for that. But I’m trying to be my own person in my own way.”
Early in the 2020 social justice movements, Monday was part of a group of athletes who wrote a letter detailing ways to enrich the experiences of Princeton students from underrepresented backgrounds. One result was the University’s creation of the associate director of athletics for diversity, equity, and inclusion position, recently filled by Miles Smith Jr.
“Quincy’s a different kind of leader,” said coach Chris Ayres. “He’s one of the best leaders we’ve ever had. He’s such a great example of what it means to be a leader in every way you can be.”
Monday co-founded Princeton’s Black Student-Athlete Coalition (BSAC) in 2020 as a way to connect Black athletes from different teams on campus, something that he felt was lacking when he matriculated. Monday was one of two Black wrestlers when he arrived at Princeton, and now he and Luke Stout ’25 are the only people of color on Princeton’s team. In Monday’s first year, teammate Obinna Ajah ’20 mentored him, and Monday wanted to ensure others had the same opportunity to make connections.
“Having people that could relate to my sense of experiences, being a minority on the team, also feeling a little disconnected from the larger Black population at Princeton just because athletes are on such different schedules, BSAC was really good for me,” said Monday. “It was a place of healing and vulnerability where I could be open with them.”
College wrestling continues to push for more diversity. Though 2021 saw a record five Black national champions, only 6% of Division I wrestlers in 2022 identified as Black, according to the NCAA Demographics Database. Monday has role models like his father, who became one of five Black Division I head coaches when he accepted the job at Morgan State (the only historically Black college or university in Division I wrestling) in August. Princeton assistant coach Nate Jackson, a founder of the Black Wrestling Association, is one of 20 Black assistant coaches in Division I. Monday himself serves as a role model at Trenton Youth Association clinics.
“It’s been fun to look around a room and see a roomful of Black kids wrestling,” said Monday. “It’s not something I see a lot. I’m grateful for those opportunities.”
A national title would highlight his growth at Princeton, where he’s improved each year in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wresting Association (EIWA) tournament, placing third as a freshman, second as a sophomore, and first as a junior. The goal is more challenging with his decision to move from 157 pounds, where he was NCAA runner-up last year and started the season ranked No. 1, to 165 pounds, where FloWrestling put three former national champions ahead of him in its Jan. 9 rankings.
Monday won the 165-pound title and was named Most Outstanding Wrestler overall at the nationwide Midlands Championships on Dec. 30 in his first official meet at his new weight.
“It was a good test and I’m glad I was able to compete well in the championship,” said Monday. “I won our conference tournament last year, but I haven’t really won a national midseason tournament, so that was good to get that under my belt.”