Athlete of the Week Runners-Up: Cheek, Wrestling Post Elite Results

Published by Leena Ambady on March 20, 2017 at 7:45PM

While this week’s Athlete of the Week honors went to members of the Ivy League Championship winning women’s squash team, four other student-athletes had especially impressive performances this week, earning them Athlete of the Week runners-up honors.

Hunter Ladnier, Jeffrey Ott, Josef Johnson, Wrestling

This weekend, Harvard Wrestling traveled to Lewisburg, Penn. to compete in the 113th EIWA Championships. Though the Crimson earned 10th place as a team, the highlights of the weekend were three bids to the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis earned by senior Jeffrey Ott, junior Josef Johnson, and freshman Hunter Ladnier. Seventh-seeded Ott finished earned spot with a win in the semi-finals over Drexel’s third-seeded Kevin Devoy, who turned his knee mid-match and was forced to default. Earlier this year Ott himself suffered from a knee injury and was unsure whether he’d be able to return to the mat this season, let alone finish second place at the EIWA Championships and earn a coveted bid to the NCAA Championships. Tri-captain Johnson, on the other hand, has performed consistently this season, and added an exclamation point to his wrestling this weekend with his sixth-place finish and NCAA bid. This will be the the New Jersey native’s second trip to the NCAA Championships, as he also qualified as a sophomore. Ott and Johnson will be joined in St. Louis by freshman Ladnier, who performed a rare feat this weekend by becoming the first Harvard rookie to advance to the EIWA finals since 2007. Following two Friday victories, Ladnier split his matches on Saturday. He upset Lehigh’s top ranked senior Laike Gardiner 11-7 in the semi-finals, but fell 8-5 to Princeton senior Jordan Laster in the finals. Still, his performance was enough to book him a ticket to St. Louis for the weekend of March 16-18, where he, Ott, and Johnson will look to prove themselves amongst the best collegiate wrestlers in the country.

Morgan Cheek, Men’s Lacrosse

This Saturday, the men’s lacrosse team (4-0) captured a 13-10 win over Vermont (3-3), largely because of a stand-out performance by junior attackman Morgan Cheek. The Massachusetts native notched a season-high five goals in Saturday’s game, the first coming less than a minute into play. His outstanding play doesn’t come as a surprise, as he’s scored a hat-trick in every game this season. Cheek also had one assist, bringing him to a total of 16 goals and 11 assists in just four games this season. In addition to leading the Crimson in both these categories, he is the second-leading point scorer per game in the nation. Behind Cheek’s strong play, the Crimson has jumped to a 4-0 start this season, and will look to continue their unbeaten streak Saturday against Penn State.