Riding a four-match losing streak going into Saturday’s contest against Columbia, the No. 25 Harvard wrestling team looked to finish its regular season on a positive note.
But the Lions (8-4, 4-3 EIWA) stifled the Crimson’s search for victory in a 30-12 bout at Columbia’s University Gymnasium.
Four Harvard (5-10, 2-7 EIWA) wrestlers posted wins on the day while as many from Columbia recorded falls.
The afternoon began with a 10-5 decision for the Lions’ Robert Dyar over freshman Max Mejia at 125 pounds. Dyar managed two takedowns and a two-point near-fall that put Mejia down, 6-1, to start. Mejia scored four points from two takedowns, but with two more reversals by Dyar, Mejia was unable to come back, and Columbia earned the first team points of the match.
Next on the mat for the Crimson, wrestling at the 133-pound weight class, came No. 12 junior Steven Keith.
Keith didn’t allow his opponent to score a single point, handling him, 5-0, to tie Harvard with the Lions at three.
“There are still some things I can work on,” Keith said. “I’m definitely not at my best yet, but we’ve got the conference tournament coming up and then the NCAAs, and I’m feeling pretty confident about it.”
The turning point of the match happened at the 141-pound class.
Harvard junior Shay Warren and Columbia’s Matt Bystol scrambled with each other all match, both managing only an escape in regulation. With the scoreboard locked at one, Warren and Bystol headed into extra periods.
After the first minute saw no score from either side, Bystol maneuvered a takedown in the second overtime to earn him the victory.
“[Warren] had an amazing match,” Keith said. “He showed a lot of heart and good wrestling.”
With the loss, the Crimson fell behind the Lions again, 6-3.
At the 149 class, freshman Patrick Hogan was down 8-0 before Columbia’s Steve Santos pinned him at 5:34.
No. 7 junior co-captain Walter Peppelman wrestled next at 157 pounds, besting his foe, 5-0.
With the team score at 12-6, sophomore Ian Roy and his opponent Eren Civan were at a 2-2 tie going into the third period.