Inexperienced Harvard wrestlers couldn't muster enough strength to win important light and middle weight matches as both Cornell and UMass dumped the Crimson in a triangular meet held here Saturday.
In the opening duel, the Big Red routed Harvard, 22-6, losing only three decisions to the Crimson. UMass won the meet by edging Cornell in a down-to-the-wire battle, 18-15, and drubbing Harvard, 22-12.
The Crimson needed wins in 118, 126, 134, 142, and 150 to gain at least a five-match deadlock with the Big Red and Minutemen, both wielding power in the higher weights.
The absence of injured Carl Biello at 134 forced Harvard to gamble with 126-pound freshman Bill Haley in Biello's spot and freshman Mitch Silverman at 126. Haley lost a close match to Cornell's Kevin Lillehei, 3-2, and squandered a lead against UMass to lose again, 7-5. Silverman looked weak and lost decisions to Cornell and UMass by ten-point margins.
Only grappling veteran Dan Blankinger (118) and freshman George Baker (142) pulled off convincing wins in the light and middle weights. Sophomore Mike Dee fell victim to what Harvard coach John Lee called "stage fright" and lost his third and fourth straight matches of the season.
"The season so far has been frustrating as hell," Lee said after the meet. "We're in trouble in the lower weights without the reliable performances of wrestlers like Biello."
Both Cornell and UMass pounded away at Harvard's Rock Hinkle in the 158 contest. The Crimson's 167-pound strongman Bruce Johnson lost a heart-breaker to the Big Red's Dave Crawford. Going into the second round with a 3-3 deadlock, Crawford slapped on a quick cradle and pinned Johnson. John Keough, who split duties with Johnson, fell to UMass's Clyjord Blom in a close 7-6 decision.
Crimson captain Richie Starr (190) and freshman Jim Strathmeyer (177) nabbed Harvard's only wins in the heavy weights. All-Ivy Starr executed impressive takedowns and took both of his duels handily. Strathmeyer bounced back from an 8-3 drubbing by Cornell to crush his UMass opponent.
Cart Cullig debuted in the unlimited level looking sluggish and tired and lost to Cornell, 13-5. Harvard's Paul Dowling fell to the UMass heavyweight, 4-1.