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Heavyweight Dennis Fenton manhandled Harvard's Kip Smith, 9-1, in the final bout last night to give UMass a 21-17 upset over the visiting Crimson matmen.
The match was really decided one bout earlier--since everyone expected Fenton to win his contest--when Harvard's Fred Smith (190 lbs.) got called for four stalling points in the third period while blowing an 8-2 lead on the way to a 10-8 defeat.
"He just clutched up, he capsized," a bewildered coach Johnny Lee said last night. "Fred's a great wrestler in practice, and he tries like hell, but he just doesn't have any confidence in himself competitively."
The match was a see-saw matter from the very beginning. After Minuteman Peter Sachon tied Harvard's Dave Albert (118 lbs.) in knots, 9-4, Crimson co-captain Milt Yasunaga (126 lbs.) pinned his foe to finish his senior year with a fine 10-1-1 record.
Bob Cusumano (134 lbs.) dueled to a draw with his opponent before Brian Adler (142 lbs.) gave UMass' best grappler a tough fight before bowing out, 4-3.
The two squads traded the next two bouts, Tom Bixby (150 lbs.) falling to Minuteman Kevin Griffin, 6-0, before Jim Corcoran (158 lbs.) won easily for the Crimson, 9-3. With four bouts remaining, the team score was knotted at 14-14.
UMass took a brief lead when Harvard's Chris Kimball (167 lbs.) lost his first varsity start, 4-3, on a takedown at the final buzzer. But Crimson grappler Sal D'agostino (177 lbs.) ran his near-perfect record to 12-1 with his ninth pin of the season.
Lee wasn't worried. While Kip Smith figured to lose at heavyweight, Fred Smith figured to give Harvard three points at 190 lbs., and Harvard figured to win, 20-17 or 20-18.
But then came Fred Smith's third-period nightmare.
With the surprising loss, Harvard finishes the regular season with nine wins in 15 outings, the school's first winning record since 1971-72. The rest of the action this year will be for individual honors, as the squad travels to Syracuse this weekend for the Eastern Individual Tournament.
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