Tri-captain Bode Ogunwole and freshman J.P. O’Connor led the team with three victories each, but their performances were not enough to give Harvard its first dual match victory of the season. Harvard first faced Northern Colorado, losing 26-16, and then fell to Wisconsin, 39-9, and Boise State, 28-18.
“I think we’re still adjusting to some of strategies that we’ve been working on,” Ogunwole said. “The coaches are just trying to show us different techniques to try during matches, different ways of getting better. I think we’re on the right track and I’m confident that things will come together at the end.”
Ogunwole, ranked second in the nation, continued to wrestle in top form, clinching three victories by decision at heavyweight. The senior had little trouble dispatching Reece Hopkins of Northern Colorado in a 6-1 decision, and went on to clinch a couple of close matches against Kyle Massey of Wisconsin, 3-1, and No. 9 Andy Patrick of Boise State, 4-3. Ogunwole remained undefeated this season as he improved his record to 11-0.
“I don’t think I necessarily wrestled really well,” Ogunwole said. “I still have a long way to go, and I see myself as needing to improve just as much as everyone else on the team.”
O’Connor, wrestling at 149 pounds for the Crimson, dominated the competition, scoring a major decision against Richard Lohr of Northern Colorado, 13-1, and then defeating Tyler Turner of Wisconsin, 6-1. The freshman finished his day with an 8-3 decision over Tommy Owen of Boise State, and improved to 20-4 on the season.
Outside of Ogunwole and O’Connor, the Crimson could not get much going. Tri-captain Max Meltzer struggled at 141, and finished 1-2 on the day. Meltzer began the day losing to Kenny Hashimoto of Northern Colorado by fall, and then lost to Kyle Ruschell of Wisconsin in a close match, 6-5. Meltzer recorded his only victory in a 3-2 win against Jeff Newby of Boise State.
Sophomore Andrew Flanagan, who wrestled at 157 against Wisconsin and Boise State, also had a tough day. Flanagan was pinned by No. 3 Craig Henning of Wisconsin in 2:37, but then recorded a victory by fall later in the day against Boise State.
“At least for me, personally, the only thing that really matters is March,” Ogunwole said. “Looking back at it, I’d rather have us have trouble now, have our weak areas exposed earlier rather than later on in the season.”
Freshman Frankie Colletta notched two wins for Harvard at 165, beating Dan Clum of Wisconsin, 3-1, and Luke Smith of Boise State, 6-4. Freshman Fred Rowsey and junior Jonathan Butler had a victory each. Rowsey, wrestling at 174,
had a win by fall, and Butler, at 197, garnered a 6-0 win against Shawn Hart of Northern Colorado.
The Crimson will look to clinch its first dual match victory of the season when it travels to Lehigh on Jan. 27.
—Staff writer Tony D. Qian can be reached at email@example.com.