Harvard's varsity wrestling team will face its toughest test of the season when it takes on a powerhouse Springfield College squad at 7:30 p.m. tonight at the IAB.
A perennial wrestling power, the Chiefs have not lost to a New England team since Harvard beat them 15-9 in 1959. This year's team, with a 10-3 record, is as formidable as ever, according to Harvard coach John Lee.
"They're the toughest team we'll face all season." Lee said, "but I think we can give them a pretty tough battle. If we can match their strength in the lower weights, we should be all right," he added.
Harvard's light-weight wrestlers, who overcame Columbia's strength in the lower weight classes in last Saturday's 20-14 victory in New York, will face Springfield's toughest trio in the 130, 152, and 160-pound matches.
Undefeated Paul Catinella will face once-beaten Tom Pollard at 130, while Harvard sophomore Mark Faller will oppose undefeated John Ziegler at 160. Bart Harvey, a sophomore with a 1-1 record, will defend the 152-pound slot against Springfield's Al Nero.
The match will feature a 115-pound bout, and Senior Tom Schnorr will see action in that spot for the first time since last month's loss to M.I.T.
Although considered stronger in the lighter weights, Springfield "doesn't have anybody very weak," Lee said. The Crimson will be relying on Bob Panoff at 191 and John Imrie at heavyweight.
Panoff, filling in for Howie Freedman, has been plagued throughout the season with knee injuries. Imrie will be seeking to regain his winning touch, which had kept him undefeated during his Harvard career until last week's fluke defeat against Columbia. Leading his opponent 16-7, Imrie was pinned in the last 15 seconds.
"John actually pinned himself," Lee commented. "He didn't realize that his shoulders were on the mat. When the referee slammed his hand down, John thought it meant he had won. So did I," he added.
Tonight at 6 p.m. in the IAB the freshman wrestling team (3-1) face Springfield's freshmen. The Yardlings, harried all season by a lack of depth, will not field anyone in the 130-pound slot.