Harvard's varsity wrestling squad returns to action today when the Crimson travels to Springfield seeking its eighth win in 12 matches.
Today's contest will be an excellent warm-up for Saturday's clash with Princeton, one of the Ivy League's top contenders. Springfield has compiled a 12-3 record over the season, but the Indians face a weaker schedule and have lost to a Harvard victim, University of Massachusetts, 17-16.
Coach John Lee will have the strongest Crimson line-up this year available today. Captain Colin Mangrum, sidelined for two months with a knee injury, will start at 158. Ritchie Starr, the Crimson's top wrestler last year, has recovered from a variety of nagging ailments that have plagued him all year, and he will be set at 177.
Healthy and Anxious
The remainder of the Crimson squad is healthy and anxious to rescue a mediocre season with a strong finish.
Harvard has not wrestled since January reading period, but Coach Lee feels that the team is ready after two-a-day practices all last week. A sizable victory today would place Harvard alongside Yale as the top team in New England. A big win would also initiate momentum toward crucial Ivy clashes with the Eli, Princeton, and Cornell later in the month.
Pessimism reigns at Springfield after the Indians disappointing loss to UMass last week. Springfield, traditionally one of the strongest New England squads, had no excuse for the loss except mediocre material and an off-season.
Coach Doug Parker has rotated 29 wrestlers during the season, trying to find the strongest combination.
Springfield is weakest in the heavyweight classes, so the Indians will have to pull some upsets in the opening matches in order to win the team battle.
The two strongest Springfield wrestlers are at 118 (Bob Meyer) and 126 (Bud Fenton). The Crimson is also strong here, however, and unless the Indians upset both Dan Blakinger and Carl Biello, Springfield will be facing an uphill fight from the start.
Freshman Biello, who has been impressive to date, will get a chance to gauge his true merit against Fenton at 126. The Springfield sophomore has not lost in 14 matches this year, including victories at Yale and Penn State.