Dual-Meet Season Ends With Losses

MELTZ IN YOUR MOUTH
Lowell K. Chow

Sophomore Max Meltzer (shown in earlier action) beat former high school teammate Mike Ashton in a 9-5 decision Saturday. It was one of only three Harvard wins in the Crimson's 25-9 loss to Brown.

BOSTON—On the final day of team competition, the Harvard wrestling team had two opportunities to double its total season wins.

In the morning, the Crimson (1-14, 1-7 EIWA) faced Brown in Providence at noon. Afterward, it drove back to Boston University in hopes of finding a second win, which has eluded the team for over two weeks as it has picked up six more losses.

But Saturday was simply not its day. Harvard traveled from a defeat in Rhode Island to an even more crushing loss in Boston, ending its dual-meet season on a lackluster note.

MAULED

The Crimson’s first match of the day against the Bears (5-11, 2-6) offered struggling Harvard its best chance to earn a win, since the team is ranked only seventh in the EIWA.

Instead, Brown jumped out to a commanding lead and ending up winning seven of the 10 matches on the day.

No. 1 co-captain Jesse Jantzen (149 lbs.) provided one of the three Crimson victories—finishing the team season undefeated—against a second ranked opponent in as many weeks.

And though he may have beaten Cornell’s No. 5 Dustin Manotti by five points last week, Jantzen only scored a 6-5 decision on Saturday against No. 17 David Dies.

No. 14 sophomore Max Meltzer (141 lbs.) also scored a decision, against an old friend.

Meltzer faced Mike Ashton, a teammate of his from his high school, Montgomery Blair. Though Ashton jumped out to a commanding lead in the first period, Meltzer came back late in the match, scoring three takedowns in the third period alone, to secure a 9-5 victory.

“I knew about his wrestling style and was able to use that against him,” Meltzer said.

After the Jantzen match, Harvard was within a point of the Bears, 7-6. Brown had picked up those seven points in the first two matches, defeating freshman Brent Kakesako (125 lbs.) and junior Greg Cook.

However, that was as close as the Crimson ever came to winning. The Bears won the next five matches—four by decision and the 184 lb. match by forfeit—sealing their victory.

Harvard was forced to give up the 184 class since senior P.J. Jones has not recovered from an ankle injury from last week.

Co-captain Reggie Lee (197 lbs.) was the closest to winning during the five match stretch, but lost 4-3 in overtime to Nick Ciarcia.

The third Crimson victory came in the final match on the afternoon, as freshman heavyweight Bode Ogunwole—ranked third in the league—posted a 4-2 decision

COUNTED OUT

The Crimson went in facing the Terriers (15-3) without its two best wrestlers, since Meltzer and Jantzen sat this one out.

Meltzer felt pains in his hip from his Brown match, and Jantzen decided it was not worth the risk so close to the all-important EIWA and NCAA tournaments.

Ogunwole proved once again that he is more than a worthy replacement for junior Jonas Corl scoring a decision over BU’s Courtney Howard. Though Howard came back to pull within one of Ogunwole at 3-2, the first year scored three more points late in the match to earn a 6-2 win.

Harvard’s only other win came from junior Eddie Jones, who was in danger of losing another close match on the day. After a scoreless first period against Terrier Benjamin Schilens, Jones found himself down one point after Schilens scored a one-point escape. With less than 10 seconds remaining in the second period, Jones thought he had earned a takedown. However, the referee disagreed and did not award Jones the two points that would have given him a 2-1 lead.

“I thought I had a takedown,” Jones said. “After I got it I stopped giving 100 percent because with the two points it was a comfortable lead.”

In the third period, Jones made up for those points by earning a one-point escape and a one-point penalty.

Despite both wrestlers gunning hard for a takedown in the third period, neither was able to earn one and Jones won the low scoring match, 2-1.

The six points that Ogunwole and Jones earned came after a string of early losses for the Crimson.

Kakesako lost by technical fall to Jose Leon 18-3, as Leon earned five points for BU in the very first match of the evening.

The Terriers dominated the rest of the matches, earning two forfeits, two major decisions, a pin and technical fall in seven wins.

The Crimson was forced to forfeit the two matches due to Jones’ injury and Jantzen’s decision to sit out the meet.

With the team season now over, the wrestlers must prepare for the EIWA tournament on March 6-7, which acts as a qualifier for the NCAA tournament held two weeks later.

“The whole season comes down to this,” Meltzer said.

The players are taking advantage of the week off they have in between.

“I am just resting up and getting mentally prepared,” Jones said. “At the end of the week, I’m going to get back into it.”

Though Harvard may not have fared well on the whole during the regular season, several players have the chance to redeem themselves at the EIWA and hope for an invite to the national tournament.

—Staff writer Megha Parekh can be reached at parekh@fas.harvard.edu.

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