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While the greatest teams produce consistent results, they also display a level of resilience and persistence that carries them through the toughest times. Even though the Harvard men’s wrestling team has lost more matches than it has won, the squad still continues to fight and pick up wins.
The Crimson traveled to Penn and Princeton this weekend for its first Ivy matches of the year, splitting its two contests.
Harvard (2-10, 1-1 Ivy) picked up its second dual win in as many weekends, defeating Princeton (4-8, 1-2) narrowly, 21-15. The squad failed to carry this momentum to Penn (8-4, 4-0), losing a lopsided contest, 35-7. Despite the loss to the Quakers, the team seemed satisfied with the level of play the team displayed this weekend.
“I definitely felt we could have wrestled better against Penn,” co-captain Andrew Knapp said. “But I really felt we wrestled well against Princeton…It was a great team effort.”
PENN, 35, HARVARD 7
The Crimson put up a tough fight against Penn but could not stop the Quakers as they rolled to a comfortable 35-7 victory, capping off a perfect 2-0 record for the weekend.
For sophomore Steven Keith, this weekend proved to be anything but perfect.
After picking up two victories last weekend against Army and Lehigh, Keith lost in a 10-3 major decision to No. 19 junior Mark Rappo.
The Crimson’s chances did not get any better, with sophomore Shay Warren and freshman Joseph Marino losing at 133 and 141 lbs., respectively. The two losses gave Penn a big early lead, putting the Quakers up, 10-0.
As co-captain, sophomore Walter Peppelman should be used to picking up the team when it’s down, and this time proved to be no different. Peppelman crushed freshman Brad Wukie, 8-0. It was his sixth major decision victory of the season.
“I was pleased with my performance,” Peppelman said. “I always felt that my team could win and come back.”
Unfortunately, Harvard could not capitalize on the momentum from Peppelman’s victory.
Four of the remaining five Crimson wrestlers lost their bouts to give Penn the decisive victory. Freshman Cameron Croy was the only other Harvard winner in the contest, defeating junior Erich Smith, 10-6.
HARVARD 21, PRINCETON 15
The Crimson got the trip started off on the right foot with a win against Princeton early on Saturday. It was the squad’s second win of the season and first against an Ivy League opponent.
The Tigers got off to an early lead against Harvard. As Keith proved in his freshman season and much of this year, he’s often the one with his hand raised at the end of the match, but he was surprisingly pinned at 5:34 by sophomore Garrett Frey.
Despite the early setback, the Crimson quickly regained its footing. Warren earned a 5-3 decision against sophomore Richard Krop, cutting down the Tigers’ lead.
Harvard dropped the next two bouts, including a forfeit at 149 lbs. Down 15-3, the Crimson mounted what seemed to be an insurmountable lead and made an even bigger comeback to trounce the Tigers.
Harvard’s wrestlers swept the next six matchups to earn the victory.
“We just trusted our training and…everyone did their part,” Peppelman said of overcoming the deficit. “Everyone wrestled really well.”
Peppelman picked up his first win out of two for the weekend with a 2-0 decision over junior Daniel Kolodzik. Croy also earned the first victory of what would turn out to be a perfect weekend for him. He defeated senior Michael Erdman, 5-1, at 184 lbs.
Knapp wrapped up the day for the Crimson with a dominating performance. The 285-pounder toppled his opponent, sophomore Charles Fox, by a score of 7-1.
As the Harvard wrestling program has shown thus far, the team will continue exhibiting persistence and resilience to find more success this season.
—Staff writer Steven T. A. Roach can be reached at email@example.com.
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