Captain Dan Blakinger was the only bright spot for the Harvard wrestling team at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association meet held Friday and Saturday at the U.S. Naval Academy, turning in a strong performance to take second place in the 118 1b. division.
The Crimson finished ninth out of 16 teams overall in the meet, up three notches from last year, with George Baker at 142, Mike Dee at 150, and Jim Strathmeyer at 177 also accumulating points for the Johns.
After dispatching with Pennsylvania's Eric Waters in the quarter-final round, Blakinger met Sal Lanudo of Columbia. The wrestlers battled to a 1-1 tie after regulation, each managing an escape.
In the overtime period, neither contestant was able to come up with any points, but the referee awarded the decision to Blakinger for being the more aggressive wrestler.
Blakinger then advanced to the final round, taking on Ron Bryant of Pitt. Bryant, an extremely strong wrestler with enormous thighs, simply overpowered Blakinger and pinned him at 2:22 of the second period--the only time he has been pinned since his freshman year of high school.
Blakinger, however, was elated with his performance. "I was extremely satisfied because I beat two guys, Lanudo and Waters, who beat me earlier this year, although being pinned in front of all those fans was not the happiest moment of my life," he said yesterday.
Harvard coach John Lee yesterday said, "Blakinger did a good job. Bryant is exceptionally big for 118, and he was just too much for Dan to handle." Bryant also pinned all three opponents en route to the final.
Lee, assessing this year's performance of his team said, "Injuries really bothered us, especially the ones to Carl Biello and Jim Gebhard. Our lack of strength in the heavyweight classes also hurt. However, we have a young team, Blakinger being the only senior, and hopefully some of the excellent wrestlers who have applied to the school will be accepted." Lee was optimistic. "We should have a decent team next year," he said.