There is no doubt that wrestling is a big sport at Cornell. Ranked No. 15 in the NCAA, No. 3 in the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) and boasting four nationally-ranked wrestlers, it is one of the nation's top programs.
Yet there is also no doubt that things got a little too close for comfort for the Big Red (9-4, 3-1 Ivy) on Friday night, when the Crimson (6-5, 2-2 Ivy) came to town.
The Harvard squad proved a formidable foe, battling to within two points before eventually falling 20-12. Propelled by several strong individual battles on the mat, the Crimson came close to the upset but left Ithaca unable to seal the victory.
"It is frustrating because we are every bit as good if not better than these teams," said junior Matt Picarsic.
However, on Saturday the Crimson got the victory that eluded them the night before as they visited Columbia and pounced the Lions, 37-6. In a meet of pure domination, Harvard's superiority included a technical fall, three consecutive pins, and two major decision defeats.
"I was concerned about Saturday with the team coming off a tough loss and with the long trip from Ithaca that morning," said Harvard Coach Jay Weiss. "But the meet showed a lot about the resiliency of the team."
Friday night against Cornell marked the last of an extremely tough string of competitors the Crimson has faced in the past month, including Lehigh and Penn, also Top Twenty teams in the NCAA. And much like its experience with those two teams, the Crimson's meet with Cornell showed a Harvard squad of enormous talent and potential that has threatened to upset but has been unable to come away with the win.
Yet the Crimson will have another chance to face them all again in what is the most important tournament of the season. The Crimson hopes to capitalize on the lessons of these meets and use them as a springboard for the upcoming EIWA tournament, the qualifying tournament for the NCAA.
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