If this year's varsity wrestling squad was a powerhouse on pre-season paper, it was a tremendous disappointment in actual competition. Through a nerve-wracking series of misfortunes and near-misses, Coach Robert A. Pickett's men wound up with a 5-6 season mark, and a miserable 1-5, good for last place, in the Ivy League.
Of the six losses, only one--the disaster at Brown--was by a lop-sided margin, and the varsity actually won 50 individual matches to its opponents' 35 during the campaign. The team, a much better one than its record would indicate, had every conceivable "break" go the wrong way--from mid-season withdrawals to questionable calls to Bob Foster's absence (due to a knee injury) from a match in which his victory would have been the deciding factor.
Foster and captain Joe Noble were the mainstays of the squad and both will graduate in June, leaving huge gaps to fill for next season. Among the other regulars or semi-regulars, Dave Skeels, King Holmes and Rick Sullivan are also seniors, leaving Carl Kludt (130), John Watkins (137), Nick Estabrook (147) and heavy-weights Ted Robbins and Bob wirke as the experienced nucleus of next year's squad.
The holes at the remaining weights will no doubt be filled, but how well depends on a huge bunch of "ifs." If Pete Stanley--who quit the team at mid-years--comes out again next year, he will be a fine 167-pounder. Either Robbins or Winne, if one of them can get down to 177, would be very strong at that weight. And if Hal Pouser returns to school next year, he can fill the gap at 123.
Unfortunately, the chief strength coming up from the freshmen lies in weights--130 and 137, particularly--where the varsity is already fairly well set. No one is going to beat out Watkins, who was 6-4-1 this year, at 137, but either Nate Goodhue or George Doub may win 130 from Kludt, and freshman Bill Smith or sophomore Andy Petite--who didn't wrestle this year--could take 137 from Estabrook.
The prospect for next year's wrestlers, then, is uncertain, but not unpromising. If all the ifs turn out well, Pickett could have an excellent team. With any amount of luck--something this year's team couldn't get--they may do very well.
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