Columbia, not considered one of the top squads in the Ivy wrestling league, upset favored Harvard, 21-18, on Saturday, December 18. The loss dropped the Crimson's Ivy record to 0-1-1 and dimmed Harvard's hopes for its first Ivy crown.
Harvard won six of ten bouts against the Lions, but three costly pins determined the outcome. Columbia exploited the Crimson's lack of depth. While Josh Henson met the Rhodes Committee and Dave Scanlon took the Law Boards, Columbia capitalized on their absence for the margin of victory.
In the second match of the triangular meet, Harvard rolled to a lopsided win over UMass.
Harvard also seemed unchallenged in the opening match as Dan Blakinger, Carl Biello, and Jerry Kahrilas each won good bouts in the first three weight classes. At 142, freshman Boris Holmes appeared to be continuing the rout as he led throughout his match. Holmes, however was suddenly pancaked by his opponent and pressed for Columbia's first points.
At 150 and 158 Harvard continued to build its lead with two more decisions, but Tony DuBon, like Holmes, was also pinned in a match he was leading at 167. Freshman John Kiel wrestled well in his first varsity match but lost a close decision at 177 to tie the team score at 15-15.
Ritchie Starr, recovering from his rib injury, replaced Scanlon at 190 and won the bout. But Angelo Mareno, suffering from both rib and neck injuries, had to wrestle at unlimited and was pinned for the deciding points.
The Crimson entered the 71-72 season with the strongest starting ladder in years but with its shallowest squad. Injuries have proven the squad's early downfall. Captain Colin Mangrum did not wrestle at 158 against Columbia because of a knee injury, and he reinjured the pulled ligaments yesterday in practice.
Starr, Scanlon, and Mareno have each been plagued by injuries, but Coach John Lee said he hopes all will be healthy this weekend.