Wattles Earns Sole Berth in Nationals

Despite an unusually strong showing by the Crimson at this weekend's Eastern Invitational Tournament, heavyweight Kevin Wattles will be the only wrestler to represent Harvard later this month at the national wrestling tournament.

Harvard placed eighth in the 16-team field and second among all Ivy League teams competing at the tournament in Lehigh, Penn.

Navy won the event with 120 points and Lehigh took second, just one point behind.

Harvard's 38 team points placed it second in the Ancient Eight behind Princeton, which earned 55 points.

But it was Wattles who stole the show for Harvard, as his fourth place finish earned him a spot in nationals, to be held at the University of lowa.

According to NCAA regulations, the top three finishers in each weight class at Easterns are invited to compete in the prestigious national event. In addition, two "wild card" wrestlers--chosen from among those who finished fourth, fifth or sixth--are invited as well, and this provision earned Wattles his berth.

Harvard's only senior finished 4-2 over the weekend, with one of his losses coming against the number two ranked heavyweight in the nation.

His showing at the tournament marks another unexpectedly strong stride in his season's performance. While Wattles has wrestled on varsity at various points over the past four years, this season is the first in which he has dominated a majority of his opponents.

Although 134-lb. Jeff Clark's fifth place finish did not earn him a national tournament berth, he fell only one spot short. Clark was named the tournament's third wild-card finisher.

Clark, 4-2 on the weekend, easlily won his first match on Friday, but then lost his second on a controversial call at the end of the match against a Syracuse opponent. The sophomore then came back and won his next two before falling to a grappler from Navy.

The greatest disappointments of the weekend came from 126-lb. Scott Beck and 158-lb. Pete Holmes. Both wrestled extremely well Friday but failed to make weight Saturday morning and were automatically eliminated from the tournament.

On Friday, Holmes had defeated the tournament's number one seeded wrestler and was assured of placing in the top six. Beck was 2-1 after Friday's matches and also assured of a spot in the top six.

"It was very frustrating, not only for them, but because we lost all the team points they had accumulated," Coach John Lee said.

Lee pointed to 190-lb. Dave Bunning's 4-2 performance on the weekend as one of the brighter spots for Harvard. Also finishing well for the grapplers was 142-lb. Mike Hanrahan, who went 2-2 with a decision over the third seeded wrestler.

Co-Captain Jerry Greenberg finished 1-2, while Steve Farrell, the squad's other co-captain, finished a disappointing 0-2.

THE NOTEBOOK: Mike Meade, at 118 pounds, travelled with the team to the tournament but was unable to compete as a result of the hernia he suffered earlier this year...Harvard's 38-point finish marks one of the squad's top showings in the past decade...Team captain elections will be held tomorrow. Both of this year's captains are juniors.