The Crimson had a tough outing on Saturday afternoon at Brown, losing 21-14, but came back strong that evening against Boston University in a 23-14 victory.
The dual meet against BU was the last of Harvard’s season and the final dual meet of Crimson co-captains Dawid Rechul and Kevin El-Hayek’s careers, while Brown was their final Ivy meet.
The captains must now prepare the Crimson (6-7, 2-3 Ivy) for the upcoming EIWA championships on March 9-10 in Bethlehem, PA.
Harvard 23, BU 14
Harvard won six out of ten matches in a 23-14 victory over the Terriers in Boston.
Rechul dominated freshman Courtney Howard for a 10 point victory. El Hayek blanked freshman Joseph Rivera, 5-0.
No. 7 Jeese Jantzen, Pat O’Donnell, Reggie Lee and Jones were also winners. Jantzen (149 lbs.) held senior Jason Holder to the mat early, pinning him in 39 seconds. O’Donnell—ranked No. 20 nationally by themat.com in the 165-lbs. class—dominated sophomore Ben Schillens, 9-0. Lee won by one point over senioir Ali Abri, and Jones won a close match over senior Bryon Nelson.
“At Brown, we came out a little flat,” Rechul said. “The important difference showed at BU when we found ourselves in a similar predicament—namely, a team we were supposed to beat, but could easily lose to. We pulled off a nice victory when we could have easily packed it in.”
Harvard’s losses all served as learning experiences. Crimson freshmen Joe Turilli (141 lbs.), Jonas Corl (197 lbs.) and Greg Cook (125 lbs.) all lost tough matches to strong BU juniors. Junior Robbie Griffin (157 lbs.) lost to sophomore Leighton Brady after being taken down in overtime.
Harvard’s strong performance was particularly important in the last dual meet of the season as preparation for the upcoming EIWA Championships on March 9-10 in Bethlehem, PA.
“The bottom line is that we are the defending Eastern champions, and if we wrestle like we can, avoid distractions, and prepare well mentally, we will repeat,” El-Hayek said. “It’s an exciting time for us, and everyone will be ready to step up to the challenge.”
Rechul was equally confident.
“Our ability to bounce back like that after a disappointing loss shows the resiliency of this team and the bonds that we have formed,” Rechul said. “If we take this sense of team and show it on the mats at the EIWAs, I am certain we will reign victorious.”
Brown 21, Harvard 14
It was feast or famine for the Harvard wrestlers at Brown on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, six Harvard wrestlers starved as the Crimson fell to the Bears 21-14.