Harvard returns nine starters, three NCAA Qualifiers and two All-Americans from last year (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard wrestling team has received recognition from several media outlets this preseason and most recently was ranked 25th by InterMat in its preseason tournament-strength rankings.
The Crimson was predicted to finish in 25th place at the NCAA Championships with 17.5 points, just behind No. 24 Lehigh (19 points) and No. 23 Wisconsin (19.5). Penn State (107.5) was picked to win its third straight national championship with Iowa (93), Minnesota (89), Oklahoma State (87.5) and Ohio State (75) rounding out the top five.
Harvard also ranked 27th in W.I.N. Magazine's Preseason Tournament Power Index earlier this fall. The Crimson, along with Cornell (8th InterMat, 7th W.I.N.), Lehigh (24th InterMat, 24th W.I.N.) and Penn (29th InterMat, 28th W.I.N.), was one of only three Ivy League institutions and one of only four members of the EIWA represented in the top 30 in either poll.
Peppelman, a two-time All-American and EIWA Placewinner, has been ranked sixth by InterMat and Amateur Wrestling News and seventh by W.I.N. at 157 lbs. for the upcoming year. He has taken eighth at NCAA's each of the last two years while finishing fifth at EIWA's in 2011 and second in 2012. As a junior, Peppelman posted a 29-7 overall record with a 14-1 mark in duals and won 11 bouts by pinfall. He currently ranks seventh in program history with 92 wins and is third all-time with 27 falls.
Keith earned a place on the NCAA podium for the first time last season with his eighth-place performance at 133 lbs. He is a three-time NCAA Qualifier and EIWA Placewinner, having taken third at 125 lbs. in 2010, fourth at 125 lbs. in 2011 and third at 133 lbs. in 2012. He will make the move up to 141 lbs. for his senior season and begins the campaign ranked sixth in the weight class by AWN, eighth by InterMat and eighth by W.I.N. at 133 lbs. Keith went 34-11 last year with an 11-2 dual meet record and 11 major decisions. He needs just 11 wins to enter Harvard's all-time top 10.
Sophomore James Fox has also been featured in the preseason rankings and comes in at No. 19 according to W.I.N. and AWN and No. 20 according to InterMat. Fox went 21-14 on the year, becoming the first Crimson freshman to post 20 wins and qualify for Nationals since Keith in 2009-10. He was also one of only four true freshman to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships after placing seventh at the EIWA Championships.
Harvard is slated to open the season Nov. 11 at the Binghamton Open and will also compete in the Keystone Classic (Nov. 18), the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational (Nov. 30 - Dec. 1) and the Midlands Championships (Dec. 29-30) before hosting Rider on Jan. 5 in its home and dual-meet opener.