While this week’s Athlete of the Week honors went to members of the Ivy League Championship winning women’s squash team, four other student-athletes had especially impressive performances this week, earning them Athlete of the Week runners-up honors.
Hunter Ladnier, Jeffrey Ott, Josef Johnson, Wrestling
This weekend, Harvard Wrestling traveled to Lewisburg, Penn. to compete in the 113th EIWA Championships. Though the Crimson earned 10th place as a team, the highlights of the weekend were three bids to the NCAA Tournament in St. Louis earned by senior Jeffrey Ott, junior Josef Johnson, and freshman Hunter Ladnier. Seventh-seeded Ott finished earned spot with a win in the semi-finals over Drexel’s third-seeded Kevin Devoy, who turned his knee mid-match and was forced to default. Earlier this year Ott himself suffered from a knee injury and was unsure whether he’d be able to return to the mat this season, let alone finish second place at the EIWA Championships and earn a coveted bid to the NCAA Championships. Tri-captain Johnson, on the other hand, has performed consistently this season, and added an exclamation point to his wrestling this weekend with his sixth-place finish and NCAA bid. This will be the the New Jersey native’s second trip to the NCAA Championships, as he also qualified as a sophomore. Ott and Johnson will be joined in St. Louis by freshman Ladnier, who performed a rare feat this weekend by becoming the first Harvard rookie to advance to the EIWA finals since 2007. Following two Friday victories, Ladnier split his matches on Saturday. He upset Lehigh’s top ranked senior Laike Gardiner 11-7 in the semi-finals, but fell 8-5 to Princeton senior Jordan Laster in the finals. Still, his performance was enough to book him a ticket to St. Louis for the weekend of March 16-18, where he, Ott, and Johnson will look to prove themselves amongst the best collegiate wrestlers in the country.
Morgan Cheek, Men’s Lacrosse