After finally seeing the return of sophomore J.T. Young (165 lbs.), who is finally returning after recovering from knee surgery, the Crimson (1-12, 1-6 EIWA) lost junior Eddie Jones (174 lbs.) and senior P.J. Jones (184 lbs.) to minor ailments as it dropped both of its dual meets to Columbia (5-6, 3-3) and No. 16 Cornell (8-6, 5-1).
Harvard remains one of just three teams in the conference with just a single victory all season. The other two teams with this dubious distinction are American and Princeton, the latter of which the Crimson defeated 22-10 last weekend.
COLUMBIA 29, HARVARD 16
Columbia may have won just one more match than Harvard in this meet, but the Lions still bested the Crimson by 13 points thanks in large part to the extra marks awarded with the two pins, technical fall and forfeit the team scored. Harvard had just a major decision and pin in its four wins.
The Columbia win can also be attributed to its willingness to vary its lineup. Rather than send in its regular 149 pounder against the Crimson’s co-captain No. 1 Jesse Jantzen, the Lions’ coach Brendan Buckley had Dean Kinports wrestle against Jantzen, who pinned the inexperienced freshman in the first period.
Buckley then had his regular man at 149 lbs., Erik Norgaard, wrestle up at 157 lbs., where he scored a 6-1 decision over freshman Bobby Latessa.
This strategy forced Columbia’s Devin Mesanko to wrestle up a weight class at 165 lbs., where he also scored a decision, this time over senior Brandon Kauffman.
These two consecutive victories opened up a 17-9 lead for the Lions, who would seal up the meet victory with a pin at 174 lbs., since Harvard was forced to forfeit at 184 lbs. due to the loss of both Joneses.
P.J. sprained his ankle last Thursday night and may not return for next weekend’s matches while Eddie got the flu on Saturday and could not wrestle that night.
“I think [the Columbia strategy] was just to get the most points out of us,” said No. 11 sophomore Max Meltzer (141 lbs.), who won his match by a score of just 2-1 against an unranked opponent. “I think they were banking on losing [at] 149 [lbs. to Jantzen].”
Freshman Bode Ogunwole, who came off the bench last week to fill in for junior Jonas Corl at heavyweight, continued to impress with a 4-2 double overtime victory. The win was Ogunwole’s fourth in his first six collegiate matches, and he now ranks third in the conference. Ogunwole will remain Harvard’s man at the top weight category now that it’s known Corl will not return for the rest of the year due to his leg injury.
CORNELL 33, HARVARD 9
Though it may have won just one less match than against Columbia, the Crimson lost by 11 more team points against the No. 2 team in the league.
Perhaps more frustrating than the team loss is the fact that No. 11 Max Meltzer lost to an unranked wrestler, Keith Dickey, 9-4.
“I’m a little disappointed,” Meltzer said. “Obviously I made some mistakes in that match.”