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Adversity has long been a close friend of the Harvard wrestling team. But on this St. Valentine's Day weekend, their relationship blossomed.
The injury-ridden Crimson dropped matches to perennial power Cornell (42-3), Columbia (33-10) and Boston University (28-10), but hung tough to defeat Boston College, 28-18.
Harvard's record dropped to 5-5 overall, 1-3 in the Ivy League.
A healthy Harvard team would have fared much better. But with the recent loss of seven starters to injuries, Coach Jim Peckham had to field a young, inexperienced squad.
"It bothers you [to be injured]," junior Zach Cooper said. Joining Cooper on the sidelines were Co-Captain Chris Sanzone, junior Bill Counihan, junior Steve Aoki and sophomore Rob Donnino, which explains he Crimson's weekend misfortunes.
While these members could only sit and cheer their teammates on, Co-Captain Frank Frohofer tried to make up for it.
Fronhofer turned in an impressive weekend showing, as he went 3 0.
"Frank is unbelievable," Cooper said. "He is by far out best wrestler Even at practice, he never stops. I hope he is rewarded for all of his hard work."
The reward Cooper speaks of is the Eastern Championships. Lion hofer is virtually a lock for the four nament, which invites the top three wrestlers in cach weight class.
Fronhofer may not be the lone Crimson representative at the lone Crimson representative at the Easterns. Cooper, Counihan and junior John Drosos all stand a good chance of qualifying as well. But only if they are healthy.
That should be no problem for the 177-pound Drosos, fortunately, since he has somehow avoided the injury bug. He has performed very well lately, and this weekend was no exception.
"John did outstanding," Cooper said. "He's looking great. He has really turned up the volume."
Despite the Herculean efforts of Fronhofer and Drosos, the Crimson could not overcome the absence of so many key wrestlers. In a perfect world, Harvard would be favored to defeat the lions and Terriers.
Even with a healthy team, though. Harvard would have been hard pressed to make it close against Cornell. The Big Red is a head, shoulders, torso, waist and legs above the rest of the Ivy league.
How good is Cornell? Five of their wrestlers (out of a 10-man team) are ranked tops in the East. Their captain, 126-pounder David Sims isn't even a starter.
Needless to say, this David-and-Goliath matchup did not have a good outcome. Only Fronhofer could capture a victory in the Cornell meet, as the Big Red from Ithaca rolled up a decisive win.
These days, the Crimson can only hope for better news from the trainer. But as its top wrestlers return to the lineup, Harvard should finally be able to escape Adversity's grasp.
THE NOTEBOOK: 134-pound freshman Pat Ramsey, after wrestling Cornell's top-ranked Mark Fergeson: "It was an honor to wrestle someone who has such a great shot in the national championship."....Harvard will face Brown and Seton Hall at home on Saturday. Cornell defeated the Bears, 18-14.
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