Frayer Leads Crimson in Quest for Olympic Glory

While the Harvard wrestling team saw unprecedented success this year—thanks to the efforts of co-captain Jesse Jantzen—there are a few other Crimson wrestlers who hope bring home more than just a National Championship.

Assistant coach Jared Frayer, former captain Dawid Rechul ’02 and Danielle Hobeika ’01 have all qualified for the U.S. Olympic team trials, which begin today in Indianapolis. Though there are two styles of Olympic wrestling, all three wrestlers will be competing in the freestyle competition. This type of wrestling is more similar to collegiate wrestling than Greco-Roman, the other Olympic style.

And while Rechul (96 kg.) and Hobeika (55 kg.) are considered long shots to make the American team, Frayer (60 kg.) stands as one of the favorites after placing third at the U.S. Nationals tournament in Las Vegas last month.

Jantzen had originally planned on competing in the Las Vegas trials, but was unable to participate due to scheduling conflicts with schoolwork. And though he tried to petition to get into the Olympic trials, his bid failed and he has been forced to wait at home.

“Every other year besides the Olympic year the two NCAA finalists would be invited to the World Team trials,” Harvard coach Jay Weiss said. “But in an Olympic year, that doesn’t come into play.”

JARED FRAYER

66 kg., 145.5 lbs.

Key Opponents: Jamill Kelly, Chris Bono

Frayer—an NCAA finalist and two-time All-American who won the Wade Shalls Award for the most pins in the country during his senior year at Oklahoma—has entered one of the most talented weight brackets in the field.

“It’s such a deep-loaded weight class,” Frayer said. “It’s pretty neat sometimes, but it also sucks sometimes because I have to beat all those guys.”

Favored to win the bracket is Jamill Kelly. Though not a standout at the collegiate level, Kelly made a name for himself at the Olympic level and won the National Tournament last month. Other stiff competition will come from Chris Bono, a veteran wrestler who won the U.S. Nationals in 2003.

But Bono has been susceptible to some of the younger, up-and-coming wrestlers like Frayer, Erik Larkin and Jared Lawrence. Frayer defeated Bono earlier in the year, but lost to Kelly in the semifinal bout of the U.S. Nationals 5-3. Frayer also scored two victories over Larkin in this tournament, which included a pin in the third-place match. Back in college, Frayer lost to Lawrence in the 2002 National Championship match but has since defeated him in competition.

“I’m willing to give them a beating if it comes to that,” Frayer said.

For training, Frayer has been working out with wrestlers on the Harvard team, but particularly Jantzen, whom Frayer beat when the two wrestled during the NCAA tournament. Frayer has also been traveling to various training centers, spending time at a camp at the University of West Virginia and at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo.

On top of that, Frayer has been competing in other tournaments, winning the NYAC Christmas Invitational Open and placing third at the Henri Deglane Challenge.

“He’s just been traveling here and there, but mostly he’s been working with Jesse,” Weiss said.

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