Harvard's wrestling team--on its way to its most brilliant season since the formation of the Ivy League -- suffered a crushing defeat last night at the hands of Springfield, 23-6.
Going into the meet with a 5-1 overall record, 3-0 in the Ivy League including a defeat of perennial Ivy champ Cornell, the Crimson was derailed by a perennial New England champion.
Only captain Ed Franquemont and Paul Padlak escaped the deluge, with normal first-stringers Danny Naylor, Chris Wickens and Howie Freedman not competing.
Under New England conference rules, there is no 191 slot. Naylor and Wickens were rested for the far more important Princeton meet on Saturday.
But otherwise the meet was one of sheer gloom. Andy Kopecki (123) received his first loss of the season -- the hard way. Leading the Maroon's Jim Mathias, 5-4, Kopecki suffered a rapid succession escape, take down and pin.
The other matches weren't that close. Howie Henjyoji (130) lost, 9-2, Carl Baum (137) lost, 16-2, and Bill Zinn (145) lost, 4-2.
Franquemont finally broke the dismal string with a squeaking 6-5 victory over Bob Waligunda. It took two points in riding time for Franquemont to pull out the decision.
Then Howie Chatterton (160) and Tom Bussing (167) lost two more crushers, 11-5 and 10-1, before Padlak eked out the second and last Crimson victory, 5-2. Bob Panoff (hvy.) ended the evening with a 4-3 loss to John Glascock.
The defeat of course had no bearing on the Ivy League race. That will probably be determined for sure on Saturday against Princeton.