The Harvard Wrestling team opened its season last night with two big victories over non-league rivals Plymouth State and Boston University. The grapplers easily disposed of Plymouth, 39-2, and squeaked by their opponents from across the Charles, 21-19.
These two victories increased Coach John Lee's hopes for an improvement over last year's record--especially over the 0-5 Ivy portion of the overall 11-7-1 mark-as the Crimson showed its strengthe in the lower weight classes while demonstrating power in the heavyweights.
Harvard started the meet on the right note with a pin by Captain Rick Kief 28 seconds into the second period of the first match. Kief dominated Sean Ryan of Plymouth State after a quick takedown at the outset of the first period, and an outside cradle by Kief in the second put Ryan on his back and gave the Crimson its first decision of the season.
As the matmen were busy overpowering Plymouth, Lee feared another the with B.U.--the third in three years. The grapplers built up a Jead of 21-9, and cliched the tie in a key decision by Andy McNerney. Wrestling at 134 pounds,McNerney found himself losing 2-0 before opening up with some tough maneuvers on the mat. After the wrestlers traded takedowns and escapes for a 3-3 tie, McNernet muscled a fast reverse for a 5-3 lead. Wrestling his toughest in the third period. McNerney scored a pivotal takedown and flipped Gary Abbott for a three-point near-fall and the 10-4 victory.
Harvard's Mark Cooley and Phills thrilled the crodwith crucial decisions going into the final round of matches. Phills, a sophomore, demonstrated the smoothness and quickness that Coach Lee hopes will guide this wrestler to a stell ar grappling future.
The big man pinned his Plymouth State opponent in the first match and scored a superior decision over Larry McCiray of B.U. in his second contest of the evening. Waiting for the right moment to use his strength and weakness, Phills scored takedown after takedown against McCiray and mounted the score to 26-6, adding five key team points necessary for the victory. In his pin against Plymouth, Phils employed pure bullwork against his heavy opponent and took him down easily.
Cooley used sheer bulk to overpower B.U.'s John Finnegan by a score of 12-6. In a thrill-packed third period Cooley scored seven of his points with near-falls as he worked for the pin and only a strong fight by Finnegan kept B.U. alive.