The varsity wrestling team roared into Hanover Saturday night for its Ivy League opener and tied a hapless Dartmouth team up in knots, 47-6. The one-sided affair, which evened the Crimson's record at 3-3, was the third victory in the last four starts for the rapidly improving Harvard squad.
Dave Albert (118 lbs.) opened the action with his first win of the year. Any doubt about the eventual outcome that might have remained after Albert's triumph was quickly dispelled, as the next three Harvard grapplers, Milt Yasunaga (126 lbs.), Bill Mulvihill (134 lbs.), and George Baker (142 lbs.) all pinned their opponents in easy fashion.
It's quickly becoming clear that this talented trio in the lower weights will be the backbone of the team. Yasunaga's ability was no mystery; he was the best wrestler on the team last year.
However the success Harvard is enjoying at the next two weight classes comes as a surprise. Mulvihill is only a freshman. Coach Lee expected him to be a excellent addition to the team but says he thought it would take some time for him to get used to college competition. Apparently, he needed no time at all; Mulvihill has already won four of six matches in his first season.
Baker posted a fine record two seasons ago as a sophomore, but last year left the team. He returned after this year's opening match loss against Springfield, and Lee immediately pressed him into service. The layoff showed, as Baker lost three of his first four contests, but he worked hard over vacation, and with his success at Dartmouth appears to have returned to top form.
For the first time in three years, Lee says he is optimistic about Harvard's Ivy League chances, and pins his hopes on the improvements he sees in the addition of Mulvihill and Baker.
Against the overmatched Dartmouth wrestlers, Harvard never let up. Kelly Jenson (150 lbs.), filling in for an ailing Tom Bixby, followed the three pins by beating his opponent in a one-sided decision, and Jim Corcoran (158 lbs.) followed with another win, despite an injured knee which hampered his mobility.
Ed Bordley (167 lbs.), a blind freshman making his third start of the campaign, ran up against Dartmouth's best wrestler, Rick Clark. The two had battled to a 5-5 deadlock by the middle of the second period when Clark pinned Bordley for Dartmouth's only points of the night.
The success was short lived. In the next match, Harvard captain Jim Strathmeyer took on a good opponent, Steve Garnett, and came away with a hard fought 7-4 decision.
To end the contest, Sal D'Agostion (190 lbs.) and Kip Smith (UNL) notched pins against their foes in short order.
With an initial Ivy victory under their belts, the Harvard grapplers can look forward to the Ivy campaign with more confidence than has been warranted in recent years.
There are, of course, a few obstacles left to be dealt with. First, Lee has three wrestlers hobbled with various knee ailments: Bixby, Corcoran, and Jon Franklin (158-167 lbs.). Second and more importantly, Ivy favorites Princeton and Yale still remain to be beaten.
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