Youth proved the key last night as four members of the Harvard varsity wrestling squad moved into the semifinals of the Coast Guard tourney in New London, Conn.
Awarded a bye for found one, sophomore, Paul Wideiman powered his way past Cadet Thomas of the Coast Guard Academy, 11-0. The versatile Widerman used a variety of leg rides to frustrate his inferior opponent.
Only the round-robin rules, which allow two losses, saved Widerman from early elimination after an unexpected loss in third round action. With the score locked, 7-7, and only a minute remaining, Widerman escaped from a hold but his opponent, a central Connecticut grappler, scored on a takedown and squeaked through with the 9-8 victory.
Fritz Campbell, the talented freshman from Montana, posted three straight wins last night to earn himself a crack at the winners semifinals against St. Lawrence's Barone, the number-one seeded 134-pounder who pinned all preliminary opposition. Campbell's final win of the evening looked like an exhibition on takedowns. He allowed Barone to escape time after time and then leveled him moments later for a 10-5 win.
Heavyweight Jim Phills wasted no time establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with. The former Canadian Junior champion chased his first man right off the mat with a pin at the 42-second mark. Power bowed to finesse in the next round when Phills notched another win, taking less than five minutes to pound his competitor with his array of upper body moves. His next match pitted him against Trenton State's 300-pound heavyweight but Phills used his skills wisely and cruised by another freshman stalwart, 16-8. Andy McNerney battled his way to the second day's matches with an impressive 9-2 win in his final clash. McNerney worked all week to polish his crab-ride and relied on that move to bring his man under control.
Captain Doug Mason pulled into the second round with a win under his belt but then dislocated his right elbow. The capable senior, who brought consistency to the middleweights, will miss several weeks. He will join co-captain Tony Cimmarrusti on the sidelines.
"I have big hopes for the final rounds. Paul Should rebound from the loss today and Campbell is awesome," Mason said last night. "Any of the guys could win."
Top-seeded Trenton State leads the tourney now, while Harvard is fifth.
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