The Crimson wrestlers dominated the final three bouts Friday night for a 24-17, come-from-behind win over Cornell and got a key pin from Bob Cusumano (134 lbs.) the next day to spark a 31-15 triumph over the Columbia Lions.
The matmen dug themselves into an early hole against the Big Red. Dave Albert (118 lbs.), who has dropped three of his last four decisions after a fine 4-1 start this season, rallied in the third period against his Cornell foe but fell short, 8-6.
Because of a mix-up in the weighing-in procedure, Crimson coach Johnny Lee agreed not to use Cusumano. Consequently, Milt Yasunaga moved up a slot to take Cusumano's place and Harvard forfeited the co-captain's normal 126-pound berth.
So, even after Yasunaga won his contest, 11-6, Harvard trailed by six points. Bill Mulvihill (142 lbs.), who couldn't make his old weight any more and switched places in the lineup with Cusumano, battled to a 6-6 draw.
In the next bout, Tom Bixby put together one of his best performances of the season to trip a strong foe, 6-2. After Jim Corcoran (158 lbs.) grappled to a 1-1 tie and Cornell's Bill Wagner manhandled Ed Bordley (167 lbs.), 10-2, Harvard trailed by seven points with only three bouts remaining.
But those last three bouts belonged to Harvard. John Williams (177 lbs.), who has won a starting nod ahead of Fred Smith (2-6-1), tied his foe in knots, 8-0. Sal D'agostino, sliding up a weight in the lineup, ran his perfect record to 9-0 with his sixth pin of the year.
That put the Crimson on top for the first time, and Kip Smith (Unl.) iced the triumph with an easy 11-1 victory.
The matmen moved on to New York the next day to do battle with the Columbia Lions, who had bested the Crimson five years running by the amazing total of just nine points.
Backed by a large, vocal crowd, Columbia jumped on top when Dave MacKinnon (118 lbs.) nipped Albert, 5-3. Yasunaga pushed Harvard into the lead with a second-period pin before Columbia confidently sent All-Ivy lightweight Kevin McHugh out onto the mat for the third bout.
But Cusumano silenced the crowd with a stunning third-period pin that left Harvard in command, 12-3.
There were to be other surprises, however. A shoulder injury forced Mulvihill to forfeit his bout. Tom Bixby then lost 1-0 when he refused to settle and failed to notch a takedown after allowing his opponent a third-period escape.
After the teams split the next two bouts, Jim Corcoran avenging last year's defeat with a 6-3 win over Jim Mullin before Ed Bordley lost an 8-7 squeaker on the riding time point, the squads were tied at 15-15 with three bouts remaining.
But the heavyweights came through again. D'agostino chalked up yet another pin before Williams won by forfeit and Kip Smith pushed his record to 9-1 with a 14-5 win.