It was one of those days when nothing goes right. Injuries, illness, weight problems and just plain bad luck plagued the Crimson wrestlers yesterday at Princeton as they succumbed to the Tigers, 36-3, in their third straight Ivy League loss.
The hapless grapplers never had a chance. An ankle injury suffered last weekend by Crimson regular Rick Beller forced freshman Howard Verlin into yesterday's starting lineup at 118. His 8-3 loss was an inauspicious start, both for the young wrestler's varsity career and for Harvard's afternoon.
But things went downhill from there. Andy McNerney, who has had problems making weight earlier this year, was unable again to make weight for yesterday's 134-lb. bout.
At that point, Crimson coach Johnny Lee was faced with another problem. He could ask Rick Kief to continue to work out in a rubber suit to lose the remaining pound needed to meet his normal 126-lb. limit or he could forfeit 126 and hope that the talented Kief could pull out a victory at 134.
Lee opted for the latter course of action, but the gambit failed. The eight-minute match took its toll on Kief, and the senior co-captain dropped a 6-5 decision to Princeton's Deehan.
For a while, it looked like sophomore Ed Gazvoda's performance at 142 might change the Crimson's fortunes for the better. But it was not to be. With the score tied at 6-6 in the third period, Gazvoda was turned and pinned by his Tiger counterpart and Princeton was well on its way to a shutout.
The trend continued in the next five weight classes. Brian and Dave Baer lost major decisions to their Princeton opponents by identical 10-2 scores at 150 and 167, and Sean Healey got the short end of a 7-5 decision at 158. Wes Carrion was dominated by the Princeton 177, pounder and lost a major decision, 12-3. And Mark Cooley's ailing knee caused Lee to forfeit the 190-lb. match.
Thirty-six to nothing. That was the situation when Harvard heavyweight Jim Phills took to the circle for the final match of the day. It took the sophomore three periods and a wide variety of moves, but he emerged with a 15-8 victory that earned the Crimson their only three points of the day.
Yesterday's Princeton victory marks the Tigers' fourteenth consecutive, triumph over the Crimson wrestlers.