3 Crimson Grapplers Advance to Semifinals; Starr Favored to Win Eastern Championship

Harvard's Richie Starr, Dan Blakinger and Bruce Johnson advanced to the semifinals in the 69th annual Eastern Intercollegiate wrestling championships last night in Pittsburgh.

Starr, seeded first in the 190-pound class, rapped Rutgers's Bob Woodell, 10-1, in the preliminary round, showing off his usual quick moves and aggressiveness. His quarterfinal bout with Al Hirshey of Temple started slowly but Starr spent most of the match on top of his man to cop a 2-1 win.

Lightweight Dan Blakinger, who took sixth place in last year's tourney, entered the preliminary match seeded third. He barely got by an opponent from Temple and pulled out a 3-1 win in a final round surge. Blakinger had an easier duel in the quarterfinals against Cornell, and polished off a 13-3 win.

Close Race

Bruce Johnson, who had not been one of the Crimson's most consistent grapplers, dropped a 6-1 decision to a Lehigh wrestler in the preliminary round. But he squeezed out a 3-0 win over a Rutgers wrestler in a slow, deliberate quarterfinal match.

"My best bet for an Eastern championship is Starr," Harvard coach John Lee said last night. "Blakinger will really have to bear down if he's to make it to the finals. As for Johnson, he could finish third if he keeps up his energy."

Starr will have an easy semifinal round today against Craig Tritch of Pittsburgh, who cannot match Starr for speed and endurance. Blakinger will have it rougher, as he faces top-seeded Mike Frick of Lehigh. Johnson meets a Syracuse opponent in an evenly-matched bout.

Other Crimson hopefuls Jim Starthmeyer and George Baker split their matches and were eliminated. The rest of the squad was also dropped from the tourney.