Wrestler Josef Johnson Ends Distinguished Career at NCAA Championships

Published by Eliel Ig-Izevbekhai on March 19, 2018 at 1:35AM

While this weekend marked the official end of the wrestling season with the NCAA championships last weekend, it also marked the end of a distinguished career for one of Harvard’s very own. The Crimson’s lone competitor in the championships, senior captain Josef Johnson, capped off his wrestling career at Quicken Loans Arena after a fifth-place finish in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association Championships earned him a trip to the Cleveland, Ohio tournament to compete in the 174-pound class.

Johnson’s outstanding run came to an end in the consolation round of eight in the championships as he fell to senior David Kocer of South Dakota State. The loss came after a close matchup with the No. 14 ranked wrestler in the nation, Oklahoma senior Yoanse Mejias, in the round of 16. After Mejias tied in the third period, Johnson came back with the win in sudden victory to advance to the round of eight before falling by major decision in the subsequent round.

Johnson started the tournament with a tough matchup against the No. 4 ranked wrestler, junior Jordan Kutler of Lehigh. A close battle throughout the entire match ultimately resulted in a 2-0 decision in favor of Kutler with Johnson going scoreless in all three periods.

In Johnson’s first consolation round, the Piscataway, N.J., native took down sophomore Joseph Gunther of Iowa, resulting in a 3-1 decision in favor of Johnson. Gunther took the early lead with a quick escape to go up 1-0 before Johnson later tied heading into the third period. Johnson was dominant in the frame, registering a takedown and holding Gunther scoreless for the period.

In no way was Johnson new to success in the NCAA tournament. This year’s appearance marked his third in as many years. In his freshman season, he earned the Harvard wrestling team’s "Most Promising Freshman Award." In his sophomore campaign, he won a total of 17 matches and another team award, this time for most improved wrestler. His performances earned him NCAA qualifications for the first time as well.

Junior year showed even more improvement. Johnson posted a 30-13 record en route to another NCAA tournament appearance. He earned his captain title as well. Johnson’s senior year brought more of the same with a 29-13 record as well as two COOP student-athlete of the week honors.

Johnson finishes his career 92-56 record overall. Coach Jay Weiss praised Johnson for his contributions to the team throughout his four years.

"He's done everything the right way since he stepped on campus, and has made his mark on the program with leaderships, work ethic, and friendship," Weiss said. "I am extremely proud of everything he has done for the Harvard wrestling program."

Dahlke and Leung Represent Women's Swimming and Diving at NCAAs

Published by Leon K. Yang on March 19, 2018 at 12:16AM

At this year’s NCAA Championships, two members of the Harvard women’s swimming and diving team brought their talents to the national stage. Sophomore Miki Dahlke and senior Jing Leung competed in the meet in Columbus, Ohio, which stretched for four days starting on March 14.

On day two of the championship meet, Dahlke raced in the preliminaries for the 100-yard fly and 200-yard freestyle. In the 100-yard fly, she finished in 21st with a time of 52.35, and in the 200-yard freestyle, she touched the wall in 1:48.00. In the 100-yard freestyle, Dahlke finished in 48.87.

This year’s performance marked Dahlke’s second trip to the NCAA Championships. She competed in the 50-yard, 100-yard, and 200-yard freestyle last year.

Dahlke’s championship run comes after impressive swims in the Ivy League Championships. The Mill Valley, Calif., native set records in the 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard freestyle, and 100-yard butterfly and was ultimately crowned the the Ivy League High Point Swimmer of the Meet and also received All-Ivy Fi

Leung competed in platform diving on Saturday. She accumulated 217.85 points in the preliminaries. The senior entered the championship meet after capturing first place at the NCAA Zone A Diving Championships with a score of 514.85. This was her third appearance at the NCAA Championships. At the Ivy League Championships, she was also named the Ron Keenhold Career High Point Diver.

—Staff writer Leon K. Yang can be reached at

Angela Ruggiero '04 Steps Down as Chair of IOC Athletes Commission

Published by Ronni Cuccia on March 17, 2018 at 5:06PM
The Rink that Ruggiero Built

Angela Ruggiero played here at Bright-Landry Hockey Rink for four years, graduating in 2004.

In late February, Angela Ruggiero ‘04a former Harvard ice hockey playerstepped down from her position on the International Olympic Committee Athlete’s Commission. The IOC is a group that represents all Olympic athletes across the world. She served on the IOC for eight years and before that played in four Olympic Games, winning a gold medal in 1998, two silvers in 2002 and 2010, and a bronze in 2006. She is also the all-time leader in games played for men or womens’ United States Ice Hockey. Ruggiero is considered one of the greatest female hockey players of all time and also one of the best Harvard Hockey players in history.

Angela Ruggiero ranks sixth in all-time career points at Harvard with 96 goals and 157 assists, for a total of 253 points. Ruggiero also won the Patty Kazmaier Award in 2004, which is given to the top player in U.S. women’s collegiate hockey. During her time at Harvard, the Crimson had a 109-13-5 record. In 2015, she was inducted in the Hockey Hall of fame, only the fourth women ever to receive that honor.

Ruggiero was elected to the International Olympic Committee Athletes’ Commission in 2010. A few of the projects she has helped with while on the IOC include keeping the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer 2016 on track, advocating for women in the sports world, and also bringing the Olympics to Los Angeles- her hometown- in 2028. Another part of her role on the IOC includes giving out Olympic gold medals. Ruggiero placed the medals around the necks of the US Women’s soccer team in 2012, the US women’s basketball team in 2016, and on the US women’s hockey team about a month ago. Even though Ruggiero will no longer be on the International Olympic Committee she still plans to stay involved in the workings of the Olympics. Ruggiero is still on the ethics commission, the digital technology commission, the Beijing 2022 commission, and on the Olympic Channel board of directors.

Jaylen Brown, Intellectual and Friend of Harvard Basketball

Published by Eliel Ig-Izevbekhai on March 09, 2018 at 8:54PM
Professor Jaylen Brown

Celtics second-year wing Jaylen Brown spoke in front of a packed crowd at the Harvard Graduate School of Education on March 1.

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When eighteen-year-old Jaylen Brown was considering what college to attend, he had offers from the perennial basketball powerhouses. Kansas, North Carolina, UCLA, Kentucky, and Michigan all flooded the then five-star recruit and now star Celtics small forward’s house with recruitment letters. Like most recruits, Brown considered many factors. He weighed his compatibility with the coach, location, his potential NBA prospects, but above all else: academics.

With offers from some of the most storied programs in college basketball history, Brown surprised many by selecting University of California, Berkeley. In a visit and discussion at Harvard Graduate School of Education last Thursday, the Celtics star spoke on his time at the University.

“My best experience was just taking classes there,” Brown said. “The basketball was whatever it was. The chips fall into place, but the educational experience I had at Cal, second to none.”

Education was the topic echoed throughout Brown’s talk. Whether it was his educational experience at Cal, the stratified educational system of the United States, or his growing relationship with Harvard University, Brown stressed the importance of quality education.

Once said to be “too smart for basketball,” he is now a living example of the fact that worlds of sports and education do not need to be mutually exclusive. Brown, a chess player and multilingual speaker, has been cultivating his intellectual interests, despite his NBA commitments.

One of these interests has been affecting the lives of young athletes just like his eighteen-year-old self, causing Brown to become heavily engrossed in the world of Harvard basketball.

Brown has made connections to several team members and has even faced off against players on the team, including a match with sophomore forward Seth Towns. He has done all this while stressing the importance of education and the platform that sports can offer.

Brown’s combination of intellectual interests and experience in the recruitment process have made him very involved in the Harvard College recruitment process.

“I talked to Tommy [Amaker] a few times,” Brown said. “He actually invited me on campus for some recruitment stuff and I came up to the school to play some open gym.

Brown and coach Tommy Amaker have created a bond over the past few years over their common goal of building up student-athletes as well as Harvard basketball. In 2016, The Celtics forward was involved in the recruitment of 5-star recruit Wendell Carter.

Brown and Carter hail from the same area, which created a connection between him and Carter’s family. The Celtics star advised the number five player in the class of 2017 to consider attending Harvard, citing his recruitment experience and the importance of education.

“At the end of the day, basketball is basketball,” Brown said. “You’ve got a whole life to live. So I said Harvard, I would love to see that,” Brown said. “I would love to see somebody coming from where I’m from [and] do that. If I could do it over again, I probably would have still went to [Cal] Berkeley but I would have at least considered Harvard because that’s a great school, that’s a great brand that’s attached to him, so I want him to do what’s best for him. But selfishly, I’d like to see him go to Harvard.’’

Harvard was one of the final four schools in the highly touted recruit’s decision. Though, he ultimately chose Duke university, Carter’s consideration of Harvard is a sign of things to come for the basketball program as a result of Brown’s support.

The Celtics small forward spoke last Thursday about athlete platforms, saying that he wishes to use his platform for a purpose. He may have found this purpose through his connection to the Harvard basketball program: recruiting student-athletes to enrich their educational journey as well as their basketball skills.

Hopefully this connection will grow, as Brown plans to take classes at Harvard while continuing his NBA career, citing the power of such a combination.

“I think there is a lot of power in that,” Brown said. “Such a prestigious university, having someone of such basketball stature and just combining the two. Sports and education, I think they overlap.”

Donato and Welch ('05) Named to U.S. Olympic Roster

Published by Spencer R. Morris on January 01, 2018 at 8:02PM
Harvard Wears Stars and Stripes

Current junior forward Ryan Donato will join former defenseman Noah Welch '05 in representing team U.S.A. in this year's Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Two players from the Harvard hockey program will represent the United States in the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Games, USA Hockey announced at the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic on Monday. Junior forward Ryan Donato received this distinct honor, as well as former Crimson blue-liner Noah Welch ’05.

The NHL’s decision to withhold its players from Olympic competition opened the door for players not traditionally in the selection pool to vie for American roster spots. The 25-man roster unveiled on Monday includes players from European professional leagues, those with AHL-only contracts, and a few NCAA student-athletes.

Donato is one of just four Division-I skaters to make the team, joining Boston University’s Jordan Greenway, Denver’s Troy Terry, and St. Cloud State’s Will Borgen. All but three players on the U.S. roster skated with a college program, with BU and Yale being the most common alma maters.

Donato’s play this season may have tipped the selection scale in his favor. Through 12 games, the Scituate, Mass., native has tallied 20 points (12G, 8A) and owns a +7 rating. Donato, who has inked the score sheet in every game this season, sits atop the nation in goals per game (1.00) and places second in points per game (1.67), behind only Canisius forward Dylan McLaughlin (1.69).

Even as an underclassman, the Boston Bruins prospect was an integral part of the Harvard attack, recording 21 points (13G, 8A) as a freshman and 40 (21G, 19A) the following year. The junior’s performance last season earned him First Team All-Ivy and All-ECAC honors in addition to a spot on the NCAA Tournament’s All-East Region team

While Welch graduated a decade before Donato sported the Crimson sweater, he achieved similar levels of success while in Cambridge. A two-time All-American, the defenseman captained the team in coach Ted Donato’s first year behind the Harvard bench and reached the NCAA Tournament in each of his four seasons. In 2010, the Brighton, Mass., native was named to the ECAC All-Decade Team for the 2000s.

After graduating, Welch played 75 games for multiple NHL organizations including the Pittsburgh Penguins, the team that selected him in the second round of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft. Welch currently plays for Växjö Lakers HC in the Swedish Hockey League.

Donato and Welch are just the two latest members of the Harvard hockey program to represent their respective nations in the Winter Olympics, as 28 Crimson graduates have played, coached, or managed personnel for their countries. This list, of course, includes coach Donato, who laced them up for the Americans in the 1992 Albertville Olympics, just a year after graduating from Harvard.

—Staff writer Spencer R. Morris can be reached at Follow Spencer on Twitter @SMorrisTHC.