Keith and Peppelman have been voted team captains for the 2012-13 season (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard wrestling team recently hosted its annual postseason awards banquet where it announced the captains for the 2012-13 season and handed out its major awards.
Rising seniors Steven Keith and Walter Peppelman have been voted by their teammates as captains for next year after both earned All-America status at the NCAA Championships. Keith placed eighth at 133 lbs. and finished his season with a 34-11 record, the sixth most wins in program history. He also took third at the EIWA Championships, third at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and eighth at the Midlands Championships. For his efforts, Keith was also given the Richard Glover Award as the team’s most outstanding wrestler.
“I am excited for Steven to lead our team with Walter,” Jay Weiss, the David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling commented. “He puts an incredible amount of work into being great and that will undoubtedly rub off on his peers. He had a great season and is ready for his next step up the podium.”
Peppelman will be serving as captain for a third straight season and joins Louis Caputo ’09-’10 and Dustin DeNunzio ’98 as the only three-time captains in program history. Peppelman has taken eighth at NCAA’s as a 157-pounder each of the last two years, and this season placed second at the EIWA Championships. Peppelman went 29-8 overall in 2011-12, while his 92 career wins rank seventh in program history and his 27 falls rank third.
“Walter is and has been one of Harvard’s best leaders,” stated Weiss. “His passion to make Harvard wrestling better has always been clearly evident. He once again proved that he is one of the best in his weight class this year. I am excited for his final year in many ways.”
Josh Popple received the Henry Russell Ames Award as the team’s most improved wrestler. The freshman missed the first semester of competition due to an injury, but returned during the dual-meet portion of the schedule to post an 8-8 record at 174 lbs. Popple went 3-0 at the Lone Star Duals with a pair of tech-falls finished the year with two falls and three tech’s.
“Josh made huge strides this year,” said Weiss. “Unfortunately he missed a lot of competition in the beginning but he made up for it down the stretch. He has a very bright future with Harvard Wrestling.”
Corey Jantzen took home a pair of accolades as he was presented the Hardest Worker Award and the Richard Sullivan Award '59, given to the wrestler who has given the most back to Harvard. Jantzen battled through several injuries throughout his career, but broke through this season and qualified for his first NCAA Championships. Despite missing the first semester of competition, the senior vaulted into the national spotlight once again with a 7-4 victory in tiebreakers over then third-ranked Mario Mason of Rutgers in just his second match. Jantzen finished the year with a 10-7 mark at 149 lbs., including two falls and four major decisions.
“I can’t say enough about Corey,” Weiss stated. “He has dealt with so much adversity throughout his career and has always battled back stronger than ever. Corey came back after a season ending elbow surgery last year better and stronger than ever only to injure his shoulder a month out from the EIWA Championships. He prepared himself better than anyone could have done and practically wrestled the EIWA’s and NCAA Championships with one arm. Even then he defeated the wrestler who ended up placing fourth and only lost to the wrestlers who placed third and second. I am pretty sure we haven’t heard that last of Corey Jantzen. He has made a huge impact on this wrestling program.”
The Most Promising Freshman Award went to 197-pounder James Fox, who became the first Crimson freshman to record 20 wins and qualify for the NCAA Championships since Keith did so in 2009-10. Fox finished the year with a 21-14 mark, and was one of only four true freshmen in the country to receive an at-large bid to Nationals. He put together several impressive tournament runs, taking third at the Keystone Classic, fourth at the Binghamton Open, seventh at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational and seventh at the EIWA Championships.
“Foxy has so much potential, he was right there with some of the best wrestlers in the country this year as a freshman,” Weiss commented. “James is a great leader and great person. He makes me very excited about the upcoming years as the sky is the limit with him.”
The Beck Family Unsung Hero Award was presented to senior co-captain Bryan Panzano for his unparalleled leadership and commitment to the Harvard program. Panzano competed at four different weight classes throughout his career, including three this season, and was consistently looked to by his peers for guidance and help on and off the mat.
“Bryan has meant so much to this team,” said Weiss. “He is one of the most selfless people I know. He has always put the team ahead of his own goals from day one. We are going to miss Bryan as he always tried to push the team in the right direction. Many people in this program are better off because of Bryan’s efforts.”