For the Harvard wrestling team, the roadto Lehigh University--the site of the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) tournament--has been long and bumpy.
But finally, the Crimson has reached its destination. This weekend, the men of the mats will tackle Eastern foes like Army, Navy, and Rutgers in addition to the other five Ivy League members in the Eastern championships.
The tournament will determine the fortunate few who will advance to the NCAA Championships, to be held in lowa later this month.
With the return of three key wrestlers from injury, Harvard is expected to do fairly well. Senior 167-pound Co-Captain Chris Sanzone, 118-pound sophomore Craig Vitagliano and heavyweight junior Zach Cooper will provide the unit with a much-needed boost.
Sanzone's return is especially important because of his key leadership role. He has not wrestled since February 6, when he blew out his knee in a match against Princeton. Although his knee is not 100 percent, he will still take to the floor for what may be the last wrestling tournament of his career--despite the fact that he wrestled "live" for only two practice days this week.
"It's his senior year. He wants a last shot," Sanzone's 142-pound teammate, Pat Ramsey, said. "I'm sure he'll do everything possible to keep the injury from affecting his wrestling."
Unfortunately for Harvard, the recent layoff was not as kind to two other team members--it proved to be too short for 190-pound junior Bill Counihan and 134-pound Rob Donnino, who could not recover in time to compete in this tournament.
The return of Sanzone, Vitagliano and Cooper will complement the efforts of Harvard's "iron-men," 150-pound Co-Captain Frank Fronhofer and 177-pound John Drosos, who have led the team throughout the tumultuous journey of this season.
The top two or three wrestlers from each weight class at Eastern will be invited to compete in the NCAA Tournament. Last year, Fronhofer finished third in his weight class but was not invited--a snub Fronhofer is expected to overcome this time around.