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The Harvard wrestling team bounced back from a lackluster three-loss weekend to outshine Yale, 28-11, in New Haven Saturday in its last dual-meet of the season.
The Crimson (13-4 overall, 3-3 Ivy) hit the nadir of its season with a surprise loss to Columbia. But just as Harvard rose up from the Cornell slaughter earlier this month, last weekend's blues couldn't keep the team down.
"We were just completely off last weekend," sophomore Sam Cole said. "This time it was a combination of Yale being really bad and us being on."
Nick Cianciola switched the Crimson on at 118-lbs., playing let-up/take-down with the opponent before getting a technical fall. Todd Cameron carried the current with a major decision, sparking up four points for Harvard.
Cole kept the electricity running, stunning his opponent at 134-Ibs. with a technical fall in the last period.
"The guy was stalling the whole match, "Cole said. "Once I got going I just ran right over him."
Aaron Danzig poured out his energy at 142-Ibs. for a 8-7 win.
"I think the first three matches, we just totally dominated them," Harvard's David George said, "and that set the tone for the rest of the match. Yale came out with a lot of enthusiasm and spirit and the light-weights took some of the air out of them. Sam and Nick were just letting their guys up and taking them down at will."
Captain Tim Kierstead went out with a bang at 158-Ibs. in the last dual-meet of his career, narrowly avoiding the tie-rut, 6-5.
Fred Jenkins knotted his match at 167-Ibs., but could hardly be disappointed. From his first performance of the season, Jenkins has made leaps and bounds.
"Fred met this same guy at the Coast Guard Tournament and lost the match," Harvard Coach Jim Peckham said. "Yesterday, the guy had to come up from behind to tie the match, so Fred had a great match."
John Willoughby got zapped by a late takedown and dropped his match by two at 177-Ibs. Joe Biland revived the Crimson spark with a first period pin at 190-Ibs.
"He kind of walked right into it," Biland said. "It probably would have been a decent match but I had a head and arm and just tossed him."
George wrestled heavy weight, almost 100 pounds above his usual 177-Ibs. class to step in for a sickly Dwight Cooper, but fell under the weight, 7-0.
"Someone told me he weighed 240 pounds," George said. "He was strong too. I couldn't really do anything."
But the Crimson as a team really did do something. And coming off of such a low weekend, what could have prompted the change?
"Last week, coach had a little talk about seniors and how they put four years in for us," Biland said. "So we kind of did it for the seniors."
The seniors and Coach Jim Peckham appreciated the win, as a fitting end to the season.
"We should have beaten Columbia," Coach Peckham said, "we gave that match away. But as for the rest of the season, the team did as well as they could have this year. Cornell is so powerful that a combined Harvard-Yale-Princeton team couldn't have beaten them."
Harvard will try to move beyond the few disappointments of the season for the Easterns in two weeks at Wilkes College, the qualifying tournament for nationals. The Crimson will have the third set of wrestle-offs next week to decide the final lineup for the tournament.
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