Bleary-eyed and pale from years underground, the wrestling team finally surfaced on the ground floor of Jadwin Gymnasium earlier this month after a decades-long absence.
“Where am I?” one wrestler asked. “Is Reagan still president?”
The team, which said it was going to a late practice one evening in 1986 and had not been seen since, was apparently trapped inside Jadwin, the underground portion of which rivals most nuclear missile silos in depth and complexity. Princetonarchaeologists suspected as early as 1993 that the wrestling team may have gotten lost on its way to or from its practice facility deep within Jadwin.
“We began conducting a full search of the gym in early 1994,” archaeology professor Howard Herbert said. “As of the time the wrestlers emerged a few weeks ago, we had searched about 60 percent of the building.”
Wrestler Sam Hendricks said that he and his teammates never stopped looking for a way out of Jadwin.
“We nearly gave up hope once, when we thought we’d discovered the exit but the door instead led to the fencing room,” he said. “At that point, we realized it would be easier to dig our way out, but when we went to find shovels we got separated from the rest of the group. We finally found them two months later, frolicking in DeNunzio pool.”
The team kept its spirits up by playing hide-and-seek and messing with other teams’ practice facilities. They kept alive on protein powder, and when that was exhausted they resorted to eating the giant tires they use in their conditioning exercises.
“It was rough, but it was still better than the food we used to get at T.I.,” one wrestler, said.
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