Just when it looked like the Harvard wrestling squad could turn its season around, the team followed up its victory last weekend with a string of losses.
The Crimson (2-13, 1-2 Ivy) went 0-for-3 this weekend, failing to build momentum after last Saturday’s win over Princeton. Harvard was defeated, 25-18, at Boston University (10-5-1) on Friday and then lost back-to-back matches against Brown (1-7, 1-2) and Hofstra (11-4-1) on Saturday afternoon at the Malkin Athletic Center, 24-17 and 39-8, respectively.
HOFSTRA 39, HARVARD 8
Harvard ended the weekend with its third loss, going down to Hofstra after tying the squad last year, 20-20. Despite the loss, two of the Crimson standouts, co-captain Andrew Knapp and sophomore co-captain Walter Peppelman, picked up wins in the contest.
Peppelman showed no signs of stopping in his matchup against Matt Spataro, cleaning up, 18-0. The Harvard wrestler earned four near falls in the first two periods, taking the lead, 14-0. Peppelman continued his dominance and closed out the win with a technical fall for the Crimson’s first win of the dual.
By the time Knapp stepped out onto the mat, Harvard was already assured a team loss against the Pride, but that did not stop him from giving it his all against Paul Snyder. After the first period, the two were scoreless, but they traded escapes at the beginning of the second and third periods to stay tied, 1-1.
After three periods, the match was tied and went into overtime. The two were even throughout most of the period, but with only 20 seconds left in overtime, Knapp went on the attack. He took down his opponent with only 16 seconds left to win, 3-1.
“We had basically been tying up the whole time,” Knapp said. “I was trying to slide by him...but then he took a bad shot. Actually the take down was kind of a reaction shot...it was a great way to end it.”
BROWN 24, HARVARD 17
The match against Brown was much closer, but the Crimson still could not pull out a win, dropping the matchup to the Bears for the third time in three seasons.
Sophomore Steven Keith put Harvard out in an early lead with three points. Keith remained on top for the entire three rounds, dominating his opponent at 125 pounds. The performance was a reversal of Keith’s two losses last weekend against opponents from Penn and Princeton.
After Peppelman picked up another win for the Crimson, freshman Cameron Croy won Harvard’s third matchup at 184 lbs. He and his opponent remained scoreless for the first period, but Croy earned a quick escape and a takedown to go up, 3-0. Despite the victory for Croy, the Crimson remained down to Brown, 24-11.
Right after Croy stepped off the mat, junior Bryan Panzano continued Harvard’s win streak with a dominating performance over Brandon Shull. He quickly gained the lead with one point, and then earned a takedown and a reversal to further extend his lead. Panzano finished off the matchup with a 5-1 win and gave a fist pump to his supporters in the crowd at end of the match.
“When it goes your way it’s really a great feeling,” Panzano said, “So that was sort of the fist pump, I think, and acknowledging all of the people who were rooting for me along the way.”
BOSTON UNIVERSITY 25, HARVARD 18
The Crimson won five of the ten matches against Boston University, but the effort just wasn’t enough to pull it through the matchup.
Freshman Joseph Marino picked up his sole victory of the weekend on Friday with an 8-0 major decision over Jordan Frease, giving Harvard the lead. Sophomore Adam Hogue also picked up a decision to extend the Crimson’s lead, but Harvard lost the next three matchups to lose the dual.
—Staff writer Steven T. A. Roach can be reached at email@example.com.