Depleted Crimson Suffers Three Losses

O’Connor shines, but injuries take their toll in lone star duals

It is extremely difficult for a wrestling team to put up a fight in dual meets when an undermanned lineup faces some of the nation’s top competition. Harvard learned that firsthand when it traveled to Texas this Saturday for three dual meets known as the Lone Star Duals with a depleted squad.

The Crimson (0-4) competed without freshman Corey Jantzen (141 lbs.), who was recovering from a sprained knee, forcing it to forfeit the 141-lb. weight class for the length of the three-meet tournament. The team was also without junior Andrew Flanagan (165 lbs.) due to a high ankle sprain that has repeatedly sidelined him this season.

Injury defaults by junior co-captain Louis Caputo (184 lbs.) and senior Matt Button (165 lbs.) against Michigan further dispelled any hopes for a competitive weekend.

“I can’t let [injuries] hold us back,” coach Jay Weiss said. “I see everything as geared toward the end of the season. It was disappointing, of course, since we were hoping to go against Michigan with our full lineup, our best against their best. It would’ve been exciting, but it didn’t work out. But we still have to get something positive out of this weekend.”

Harvard’s bright spot was sophomore J. P. O’Connor, who was voted outstanding lightweight wrestler of the tournament after improving to 13-1 on the season with three wins.

“It’s really a good thing to have a break now with final exams,” Weiss said. “If this team ever gets healthy, it will be by far the best team we’ve had.”

The Crimson will be seeking its first dual victory of the season when it returns to the mat at home against Lehigh and Army on Jan. 26.


Things started out badly for the Crimson when it faced powerhouse Michigan (8-1).

Harvard held the lead at 6-3 after two matches, when freshman Shay Warren pinned Chris Diehl in 1:26 at 133 pounds.

After the forfeit at 141, No. 5 O’Connor battled against No. 7 Josh Churella, defeating him in a close 5-4 match to tie the score at nine.

Latessa recorded Harvard’s last win of the dual meet with a 5-3 decision, giving the Crimson its second lead of the day at 12-9.

Everything went downhill from there, however, with the Wolverines racking up 26 straight points in five consecutive victories.

Button, facing No. 1 Eric Tannebaum, had to retire after coming down hard on his hip, foregoing the rest of the day’s matches. No. 9 Caputo’s injury came against Tyrel Todd, who had beaten him earlier this season at the Cliff Keen Invitational.

“I was looking forward to seeing this match,” Weiss said. “I thought Louis could get [Todd] this time. But he twisted his knee, much like what happened to Corey [Jantzen], and now we just hope for the best.”


Against the Bison (4-2), Harvard fell behind early, 12-0, before O’Connor and Latessa again gave the Crimson something to cheer about with a major decision and a close decision victory, respectively, to trim the deficit to 12-7.

Harvard did not win another bout until senior Billy Colgan notched a major decision against Justin Lagosh at 197. Sophomore heavyweight Andrew Knapp followed with a pin of Tyler Hemmesch in 4:11. The two combined to give the Crimson 10 points and a respectable 25-17 finish.


The Tar Heels (2-1) dealt Harvard its final blow of the day. Injuries finally caught up with the Crimson as it managed only one win to finish the day’s competition.

—Staff writer Tony D. Qian can be reached at