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For the Harvard wrestling team, the season has been a series of skirmishes and conflicts, all leading up to the inevitable final battle--the EIWA tournament in Lehigh, now just two weeks away.
Unfortunately, Harvard has been losing more than its share of skirmishes recently--including Saturday's losses to visiting squads from Brown, 41-0, and Seton Hall, which won 21-12.
"We had a long day," 158-pound sophomore Khris Reina said.
Once 4-2 the Crimson has now slipped to 5-7, with a 1-4 record in the Ivy League.
Brown dealt Harvard its first shutout of the year, but it wasn't easy--Co-Captain Frank Fronhofer and junior John Drosos each lost their matches by just one point.
Fronhofer--who formerly wrestled at 158 and then 150 pounds--competed in the 142-pound division for the first time all year and trailed 3-1 with less than a minute left to wrestle.
However, the wily and rugged Fronhofer scored one point for an escape to shrink the score to 3-2 with 38 seconds remaining.
But Fronhofer couldn't score a take-down in the closing seconds and suffered just his second loss of the season.
Drosos, the Crimson's 177-pound hulk, experienced the same "oh-soclose" feeling as he also endured a one-point loss. He led 2-0 at the onset but eventually succumbed, 4-3.
The match against Seton Hall was equally frustrating. Drosos and Fronhofer led the way in the fight against the Pirates, winning their respective matches convincingly. Freshman heavyweight Mike Terpstra also contributed to this effort by scoring his first career pin.
"I was happy I could help the team out in that way. The other guys out there worked really hard," Tersptra said.
The scrappy Harvard unit has two weeks to regroup and revitalize for the EIWA's, to be held March 5 and 6 at Lehigh University.
The top two or three wrestlers in each weight class at Easterns will advance to the national championships.
According to Reina, the wrestlers will use the upcoming week for "recuperating," and the following week for "hitting it hard again."
The recuperation period will be welcomed. Five starters are currently out due to injury but four of them--Co-Captain Chris Sanzone, 118-pound Craig Vitagliano, 190-pound junior Bill Counihan and heavyweight junior Zach Cooper--are expected back for Easterns.
But 134-pound junior Rob Donnino is not expected to return.
The experience of these fighters should make a difference in the team's attitude and performance.
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