American University edged the Harvard wrestling team, 21-19, in the Crimson’s EIWA dual meet opener Friday night in Washington, D.C. Harvard (1-1, 0-1 EIWA) took five matches on the night but dropped three of the last five as the Eagles (2-2, 0-1 EIWA) captured the home win.
“This match, we had a couple slip-ups,” said sophomore 197-pounder James Fox. “Some things just didn’t go our way in bonus points and at the end of the match.”
After his second week back on the mat after a two-month injury, Fox recorded his first individual win of the season Friday night with a 15-2 major decision over American’s Devon Bradley. The sophomore 197-pounder bounced back after a slow start to his season against Rider last week.
“[Fox] is 100-percent different from last week,” Harvard coach Jay Weiss said. “We missed him last semester. [His] coming back is great; he looked really good.”
“This week, I felt a lot better going into my match,” Fox added. “It was just another week under my belt, and my body got used to the intensity of wrestling again.”
Fox forced Bradley to the edge of the mat in the waning stages of the fifth bout of the meet, but the technical fall eluded Fox as time expired.
“I kept going for the pin,” Fox said. “I really wanted that; two extra team points might’ve been the difference tonight.”
Fox’s bout gave the Crimson the largest lead of the night on either side as Harvard enjoyed a 13-6 lead as the teams headed into the back half of the meet. But American closed the gap with a pair of wins in the following two matches.
Eagles heavyweight Blake Herrin defeated Harvard sophomore David Ng, 12-5, to inch within four points of the Crimson.
“David Ng wrestled a tough bout; their guy [Herrin] is tough,” Weiss said.
American followed up the decision with a pin. 125-pounder David Terao recorded a fall over Harvard freshman Jeffrey Ott midway through the third period to put American up, 15-13, with three bouts left. Ott could not escape Terao’s headlock midway through the third.
“I think the key bout was 125,” Weiss said. “[Ott] wrestled a great bout. He was winning the bout deep into the third period. But he gets caught in a headlock, and that’s a nine point swing.”
Harvard made a final push in the eighth and ninth bouts. Sophomore 174-pounder Ryan Osleeb won a 4-2 decision over American’s Esteban Gomes-Rivera, and No. 10 co-captain Steven Keith defeated the Eagles’ John Boyle, 4-1, in the 141-lb. division to put the Crimson ahead, 19-15.
But the two decisions could not outweigh a fall from Eagles 149-pounder Kevin Tao over Crimson sophomore Alexis Wagener in the tenth and final match. The pin swung the contest to American, 21-19.
“I love putting [Wagener] on the mat because I know he’s going to be trying,” Weiss said. “That was a tough one, but we didn’t put together as a team, and we’ve got to figure that out.”
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