A powerful line-up of columbia grapplers drew strength from a noisy hometown crowd yesterday afternoon in New York City and handed the visiting Crimson squad a 25-17 thrashing and their first loss of 9-1-1 season.
Score aside, the meet belonged to Harvard heavyweight Jim Phills. Freshman Phills suffered a loss earlier this season at the hands of Lion veteran Jay Craddock but this time the youngster waited patiently for him to arrive.
Craddock last year's Eastern Champion, carelessly underestimated the Crimson grappler and found himself engulfed in Phills' vice-like headlock, and seconds later was sailing through the air, victim of an upper body toss and a third period take down. Suddenly the match belonged to Phills as Craddock caved in for a 14-7 upset.
The opening bout offered no surprises, just another calculated win from Crimson 118-lber Paul Widerman. Colombia's Dave Joyee had little to offer in defense as Widerman fed him a steady diet of single legs while running up a 12-2 win.
Freshman Andy McNerney followed Widerman's lead with a win of his own. McNerney, an impressive and rapidly improving 126-lber relied on his tilt move to pummel an overmatched Ed Lijo, 26-6.
Columbia surged through the middle weights with renewed strength and ripped off four straight wins before the Crimson regained its momentum on a 7-7 tie from co-captain Doug Mason at 167-lbs.
Mason, who only this week received the go-ahead to return to the mat after a two-month lay off, battled back from a lopsided deficit and then switched to legriding in a successful move to control the bigger Kevin Burrows.
Minutes later, Mark Cooley manhandled Lion 190-lber. Andy Barth for his ninth victory against no losses.
Barth vainly tried to employ headlocks against the powerful Cooley but found himself in deep water as the Crimson wrestler executed a series of powerful double legs on the way to a 10-3 shellacking.