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Cole's Second-Place Finish Is Grappler's Sole Highlight

By Mick Stern

Sam Cole, co-captain of the Harvard wrestling team, was left with mixed feelings about the Warnick family after the Crimson kicked off its season at the East Stroudsburg (Penn.) Asics Tiger Open Tournament over the weekend.

Cole was excited that freshman teammate Mike Warnick had garnered a sixth-place finish in the 134-lb. division. But at the same time, Cole wished Warnick's older brother Dave had never showed up to the tourney. The Army senior edged Cole in the finals of the same division, 6-4.

"Mike looked really good in his matches," said Cole, who knocked off the sixth-ranked wrestler in the country in the semifinals. "I made a mental mistake in my final match."

Crimson wrestlers won a respectable 19 of 42 matches in the double-elimination tournament despite a lack of depth at several weight classes.

"We didn't do badly for a tournament of this nature," Harvard Coach Jim Peckham said. "We're missing some members of the team who we expected to have. We don't have the balance I wanted. Guys have grown out of their respective weight classes. I need more bodies. But I'm happy. We lost some matches that we would win in another month of practice. Still, we had some excellent performances."

Harvard standouts included Cole and freshmen Warnick and Zach Cooper, who compiled a 3-2 record in the 190-lb. class but failed to place.

"The tournament was good experience for me," said Warnick. "There's a big difference from the competition in high school."

In an odd twist of fate, Cole wrestled his final match of the day against Warnick the Elder, who was second in the East last year with 26 wins.

"I was in a weird position," said Warnick. "Watching Sam wrestle my brother was a strange experience."

The entire team may find themselves in a weird position before this season is over, with Cornell the team to beat and Harvard lacking the manpower to keep pace with the Big Red. After 118-lb. All-lvy candidate Nick Cianciola quit the team and backup Frank Fronhofer ballooned out of the weight class, Peckham is looking for lighweight help.

"We need more balance," said Peckham. "We need a competitive team from 118 all the way up to 275. Our best guys at low weight classes have outgrown them. If guys gain 50 pounds, what am I supposed to do? I'm rolling over in my grave at the lower weight classes."

Will the Crimson roll over on the mats? Only time will tell.

NOTEBOOK: The Crimson starts the regular season with a dual meet against Boston University and Cornell on Tuesday.

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