The Back Page's Athlete of 2011 Results: Ortiz v. Peppelman, Jones v. Wright

Published by Robert S Samuels on January 18, 2012 at 3:12AM

2011 was a big year in Harvard athletics. Women’s soccer captured its third Ivy League championship in four years. The men’s basketball team took home a share of the Ancient Eight title and entered the nation’s Top 25, both firsts in program history. Football set a modern-era program record for points in a season, scoring 374 points en route to a 9-1 finish and a league crown. Four other teams—men’s fencing, men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew, and softball—also finished 2011 on top of the Ivy League standings.

There were a number of standout individual performances as well. Women’s fencer Alexandra Kiefer captured the NCAA Foil Individual title. Men’s basketball forward Keith Wright became just the second player in Harvard history to take home Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Women’s soccer and lacrosse captain Melanie Baskind was named to the First Team All-Ivy in two different sports and was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year in soccer.

We at The Back Page have taken on the tall task of determining the best Harvard athlete of 2011. Here’s how it will go down: we’ve selected 16 standout Harvard athletes—eight male and eight female—and set up two single elimination brackets. Each round, Harvard’s finest will square off in head-to-head matchups. And based on their performances in 2011, we will determine who advances and who is eliminated until just one male and one female remain. Then, the two champs will square off to determine the top Harvard athlete of 2011.

Last week, we went through each of the individual matchups. Now, it’s time to reveal the winners. First, we take a look at two first-round men’s matchups.

Check back all this week as we go through our selections.

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Harvard Rises in Rankings, Reaches No. 24

Published by Robert S Samuels on January 16, 2012 at 3:12AM

The Harvard men's basketball team rose to No. 24 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll after picking up wins over Monmouth and Dartmouth.

Last week, after losing to Fordham, the then-No. 21/22 Harvard men’s basketball team plummeted out of the AP Top 25 and fell four spots to No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

This week went a bit better for the Crimson, which gained ground in both of the two major polls, released Monday afternoon. Fueled by wins over Monmouth and George Washington, Harvard moved to No. 24 in the coaches poll and picked up six more points in the AP.

With the Crimson’s at-large hopes largely shot thanks to the Jan. 3 loss to the Rams, Harvard will likely have to take the Ivy League title to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 66 years. 1-0 in league play so far thanks to a 63-47 win against Dartmouth at Lavietes Pavilion, Harvard has only conference games left on its slate.

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Injuries Sideline Miller, Webster

Published by Martin Kessler on January 12, 2012 at 3:12AM

Junior Christian Webster, pictured above, and freshman Corbin Miller suffered injuries recently and were forced to sit out against Monmouth on Tuesday. Coach Tommy Amaker does not have a timetable for the guards' return.

The Harvard men’s basketball team’s backcourt took a hit this past week, as both freshman sharpshooter Corbin Miller and junior wing Christian Webster went down with injuries.

Miller suffered a ligament strain in his left thumb that has forced him to miss the Crimson’s past two games. Webster joined Miller on the bench for Tuesday’s matchup at Monmouth having taken a shot to the hip during practice.

“[Webster] didn’t practice Thursday,” Harvard coach Tommy Amaker said. “He said he felt better, but he still wasn’t able to practice, so he’s been out. Corbin the same way.”

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The Back Page's Athlete of 2011, Round 1: Jones v. Wright

Published by Martin Kessler and Robert S Samuels on January 09, 2012 at 3:12AM

2011 was a big year in Harvard athletics. Women’s soccer captured its third Ivy League championship in four years. The men’s basketball team took home a share of the Ancient Eight title and entered the nation’s Top 25, both firsts in program history. Football set a modern-era program record for points in a season, scoring 374 points en route to a 9-1 finish and a league crown. Four other teams—men’s fencing, men’s heavyweight and lightweight crew, and softball—also finished 2011 on top of the Ivy League standings.

There were a number of standout individual performances as well. Women’s fencer Alexandra Kiefer captured the NCAA Foil Individual title. Men’s basketball forward Keith Wright became just the second player in Harvard history to take home Ivy League Player of the Year honors. Women’s soccer and lacrosse captain Melanie Baskind was named to the First Team All-Ivy in two different sports and was selected as the Ivy League Player of the Year in soccer.

We at The Back Page have taken on the tall task of determining the best Harvard athlete of 2011. Here’s how it will go down: we’ve selected 16 standout Harvard athletes—eight male and eight female—and set up two single elimination brackets. Each round, Harvard’s finest will square off in head-to-head matchups. And based on their performances in 2011, we will determine who advances and who is eliminated until just one male and one female remain. Then, the two champs will square off to determine the top Harvard athlete of 2011.

After examining the matchup between Josue Ortiz and Walter Peppelman last night, we now turn to a faceoff between men's basketball star Keith Wright and men's volleyball standout Matt Jones.

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Fordham Loss Hurts Harvard in Both Major Polls

Published by Daniel A. Grafstein on January 09, 2012 at 3:12AM

Despite a shocking 60-54 loss to Fordham on Tuesday, Harvard managed to remain in the top 25 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, coming in at No. 25. But the Crimson’s didn’t fare as well in the AP Top 25, receiving just 16 points and falling 10 spots, well out of the rankings.

In the coaches poll, Harvard extended its four-week stint, though the squad dropped four spots. Garnering 58 points, the Crimson made the top 25 with 15 points to spare.

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