Wrestling is a tough sport to begin with. The rigorous matches, the pain of "sucking" weight, the notoriously difficult practices all combine to make wrestlers a special breed of athletes.
Some people think wrestlers are crazy. Some think they are heroic. But everybody knows they're tough.
But the Harvard wrestling team hasn't seen tough like this in a while. Four starters (on a team of ten) are out for injury or personal reasons, and the dramatically depleted Crimson lost to Pennsylvania, 23-12, in Philadelphia last night.
'A Bit of Trouble'
The tri-meet also included New York University and Albany State College, teams Harvard beat 48-4 and 21-12, respectively.
"To be honest, anytime you lose that many starters and then start pumping and changing the lineups, you're going to be in a bit of trouble," Harvard Coach Jim Peckham said.
The Quakers were the real competition at the tri-meet, with NYU and Albany State along more for the confidence boost.
Peckham knew his team was already in a tough spot against Penn, but the loss of the starters made Harvard the solid under-dog.
Nevertheless, Harvard provided a few thrilling moments for the crowd and even made its coach happy--sort of.
"I'm pleased with the effort made by some of the wrestlers," Peckham said, a lukewarm statement if there ever was one.
Peckham singled out several wrestlers for praise. Junior John Drossos won two of his three matches in overtime, while 118-pounder sophomore Craig Vitagliano rallied from a five-point deficit in the last period against Penn to force an overtime, which he went on to win.
Co-Captains Frank Fronhofer and Chris Salzone turned in strong performances as well, according to Peckham.
"Fronhofer wrestled tough, hard and to the wire," Peckham said.
Sophomore Bill Forlano also received plaudits from his coach.