In the first outing of the year, both rookies and veterans made an entrance to the competition stage as Harvard wrestling took on opponents at the annual Binghamton Open. With two podium finishes and multiple falls registered, the Crimson had a strong performance on the day.
“When we go into tournaments like this, the main thing is to get the guys matches at this point in the season and kind of go from here,” coach Jay Weiss said. “We were able to see where we were lacking and where we needed to work on. I was really happy with the guys on the team because if this is where we are starting from, and I know we’re going to get a lot better.”
Junior co-captain and defending EIWA champion Todd Preston fought his way to the final of the 141-pound weight bracket, where he ultimately fell to Cornell’s Matt Grey. Preston commanded his first four matches of the day, winning by technical fall, quick decision, and two major decisions before falling short of first place.
“I had a good start and eventually actually fell to one of my former high school teammates,” junior co-captain Todd Preston said. “It’s the first tournament of the season, which I think is the best part because we have so much room for improvement. This tournament was just a stepping-stone, and I was honestly just trying to go out there, have fun, and do what I love to do.”
Newcomer Josef Johnson contributed a noteworthy performance in his first competition for the Crimson, as he registered a fall against Sacred Heart’s Mark Boyle to claim victory in the consolation semi-final. The freshman went on to complete the day with a solid 4-2 record.
“[The younger guys] might have all fallen a little bit short,” Preston said. “But that’s what you’ll get when you’re going up against some of the best wrestlers in the country. We’re a pretty young team, so we’re just getting the experience and competing against the best guys in the country to hopefully realize that we’re not that far away from beating those ‘best guys.’”
Johnson was not the only freshman to make a strong start in his Harvard athletics career. Fellow rookies Tyler Tarsi, Mason Miller, and Kanon Dean also snagged their first collegiate wins, with each registering a fall on the day. Miller advanced to the fourth consolation round when he bested the Pioneers’ Bobby O’Neill in the 141-pound bracket.
“Many of the freshmen got to wrestle in this tournament, which is great to see,” Weiss said. “This was their first shot at college wrestling and it’s a lot different. They adjusted really well. They often look back and say ‘I did some things well and I realize I didn’t do some things well and I have to work on that in practice,’ which I think if they do that then they’ll be fine.”
Co-captain James Fox matched Preston’s podium finish in his 197-pound weight bracket. While three of his matches were won more easily in falls, his match against Penn State’s Anthony Cassar was decided with a 9-4 finish. Unfortunately, Fox was unable to compete in the final of his weight class because of an injury.
Classmate Ryan Osleeb also performed well in the 133-pound class with two wins to claim a spot in the fourth consolation round. Juniors Michael Mocco and Josh Popple also earned two wins each, with Popple fighting hard to win a major decision in one of his matches.
“We wanted to be able to fight for seven minutes,” Weiss said. “And be able to really keep the action going because I really feel like a day like this—with only two weeks of practice—is just so valuable for us. We were trying to push the pace a little bit, and I felt we did that. We made mistakes that were easily fixable and we will [fix those], but I’m pleased.”
--Staff writer Emily T. Wang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Wrestling Drops Three Weekend Matches Against Conference FoesHarvard wrestling saw a tough road trip this past weekend, as the squad fell to Lehigh as well as Ivy League foes Princeton and Penn. Injuries continue to plague the Crimson as it goes into its last leg of dual-meet season.
Wrestling Drops Final Home Meet to ColumbiaIt was a disappointing Friday night for Harvard wrestling, as the squad dropped its final home meet of the season to Columbia at the Malkin Athletic Center, 27-12. With this loss, the Crimson moves on to a 3-8 overall record on the year.