The Harvard wrestling team outpaced Brown from the very beginning this past Saturday afternoon, seizing control from the outset and holding on to claim the victory. The Crimson (4-6, 3-6 EIWA) outlasted the Bears (3-8, 1-7) on the road for the second consecutive year, notching the win with a final score of 30-10.
“Our start made a huge difference for us today,” sophomore Devon Gobbo said. “[Sophomore Jeff Ott] came out really strong at 133, and right after that [sophomore Todd Preston] had a really big technical fall. They got the ball rolling for us, and the energy on our bench kept that mentality going the whole match.”
Following last week’s disappointment at the hands of Princeton and Penn, Harvard was focused on capturing its first Ivy League win of the season.
“It was a really great win for us, coming off two hard losses last weekend to teams that we felt we could’ve beaten,” Preston said. “It felt really good to be able to turn things around in our favor today.”
After an forfeit in the first matchup, the Crimson expanded its 6-0 lead to 9-0, with Ott registering a decision over Brown’s Anthony Finocchiaro. Preston matched this energy in the following round, outmaneuvering his opponent at the 141-pound weight class. These three straight victories gave Harvard a commanding 14 point lead, while the Bears remained scoreless.
“Today, we were the better team,” Preston said. “We had more energy on our side coming from the bench and our fans, and you could really see that in the way we wrestled.”
The Crimson’s hot start marked one of the best openings that Harvard has put up against an opponent all season, as the Crimson swept the opening three matches for the first time this year.
“We wanted to be the aggressive team in this match, and I think we really were,” Gobbo said.
Brown saw a slight shift in momentum in its favor towards the end of the day. Starting at the 174-pound weight class, Ricky McDonald kicked off a two round rally for the Bears. McDonald had a decision over Harvard senior Ian Roy, and his teammate Ophir Bernstein followed up with a decision of his own over senior Cameron Croy at 184.
That scoring spree was the last the Bears saw of the scoreboard for the rest of the competition. The Crimson’s heavyweights managed to close out the day with the same intensity seen in the first few rounds, keeping Harvard in control at the end of the contest.
“As a team everyone wrestled really well, from top to bottom,” Gobbo said. “We all wrestled aggressively all seven minutes of every match, and no one took any time off.”
Sophomore Nick Gajdzik repeated last week’s standout performance in the final matchup of the day against Brown’s Ryder Cavey. It took Gajdzik just a minute and 47 seconds to find his stride, as he managed to pin Cavey and register the fall for the Crimson.
Fellow heavyweight James Fox also contributed to the Crimson’s efforts. The junior kept his winning streak alive, beating Brown’s Augustus Marker, 12-3, at the 197-pound position. This victory marked Fox’s sixth straight dual meet win for the Crimson this season.
Other crucial performances for the Crimson came from Gobbo and freshman Tyler Grimaldi, who each registered a decision over his opponent at the midway mark of the contest.