Stage is Set for Peppelman, Keith and Fox at 2013 NCAA Wrestling Championships
Peppelman will attempt to become just the third three-time All-American in program history (Robert Preston).
Harvard wrestlers James Fox, Steven Keith and Walter Peppelman are among the 330 student-athletes who will begin their quests for national titles when the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships begin Thursday morning at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.
Harvard is sending three or more wrestlers to the national meet for the fourth time in the last five years. Keith and Peppelman each placed eighth last season and will look to repeat as All-Americans in Des Moines. Peppelman, seeded 11th at 157 pounds, also finished eighth in 2011 and is trying to become the third three-time All-American in Crimson history. Fox is making his second straight NCAA appearance at 197 pounds.
Schedule of Events (All Times Eastern)
Thursday, March 21
Friday, March 22
Saturday, March 23
Watch from Home
ESPN networks will carry all six Championships sessions. The first three will be carried online on ESPN3.com with a four-screen, four-mat viewing experience unique to wrestling. ESPNU will televise the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal-round wrestlebacks, and ESPN will air the finals session. ESPNU will utilize a two-mat, side-by-side viewing format in the quarterfinals and semifinals.
141 lbs.: Steven Keith • Senior
2012-13: 28-8, EIWA Fourth-Place Finisher • Career: 105-51
Keith, Harvard's fourth four-time NCAA qualifier, earned All-America honors at 133 pounds last season and has a challenging road to this season's quarterfinals at 141. First-round opponent Julian Feikert (21-17) of Oklahoma State earned an at-large berth in the 141 bracket after placing third at the Big 12 Championships, and the winner of their match could meet top-seeded, unbeaten Hunter Stieber (31-0) of Ohio State. Keith has registered seven major decisions, one technical fall and two falls this season. His 105 career victories are the seventh-greatest total in program history.
157 lbs.: No. 11 Walter Peppelman • Senior
2012-13: 18-3, EIWA Runner-Up • Career: 110-37
Peppelman seeks to join NCAA champions Jesse Jantzen '04 and J.P. O'Connor '10 on the list of Harvard's three-time All-Americans. That quest starts with a first-round matchup against Ohio's Spartak Chino (20-13). Sixth-seeded Alex Dieringer (30-2) of Oklahoma State could be waiting in Round 2. Peppelman ranks sixth in program history with 110 career victories and could pass Ed Mosley '00 for fifth with two victories in Des Moines. Four of his wins this season and 31 in his career have come by fall. He also has three major decisions and two technical falls in 2012-13.
197 lbs.: James Fox • Sophomore
2012-13: 13-4, EIWA Runner-Up • Career: 34-18
Fox won three matches before falling in the 197 final at the EIWA Championships. He has won by major decision on three occasions this season. Like Peppelman, Fox will wrestle Thursday against an Ohio Bobcat. His first-round opponent, Philip Wellington (20-13), won six of his final seven regular-season bouts and placed fourth at the Mid-American Conference Championships. The Fox-Wellington winner faces a potential second-round bout with top-seeded Dustin Kilgore (39-0) of Kent State.
Keith and Peppelman took different paths to their matching eighth-place finishes. Keith, seeded 11th, began the 133 tournament with three straight wins before bowing out of the championship bracket in the quarterfinals. He bounced back with a 5-3 defeat of Central Michigan's Zach Horan to earn All-America honors.
Undaunted by a first-round loss at 157, fourth-seeded Peppelman rattled off four straight wins, one by pin and two against seeded opposition. He edged No. 8 seed Frank Hickman of Bloomsburg, 2-1, to guarantee a top-eight finish and become just the seventh Harvard wrestler to secure All-America distinction in back-to-back seasons.
Corey Jantzen '11-12, a 149-pounder, knocked off 10th-seeded Cam Tessari , 10-8, to record a bout win in his final collegiate competition, and Fox suffered a pair of losses at 197.
Harvard at the NCAA Championships
Three student-athletes have claimed national titles in Harvard wrestling singlets, all as seniors: John Harkness '38 at 175 pounds, Jesse Jantzen '04 at 149 and O'Connor '10 at 157.
The Crimson boasts 27 All-America performances in program history, including 19 under Jay Weiss, the David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling. The Crimson has had at least one student-athlete reach the podium in each of the last seven years, and in 10 of the last 11. Harvard's 157-pounder has finished eighth or better in three straight NCAA meets.
On the Podium
A total of eight Crimson finished on the podium at the 2013 EIWA Championships led by finalists Walter Peppelman and James Fox. Steven Keith and Jeffrey Ott placed fourth and fifth, respectively, while Devon Gobbo (7th), Shay Warren (8th), Cameron Croy (8th) and David Ng (8th) each earned a trophy. Harvard's eight placewinners were the most for the program since 2001 while its seventh-place finish (78.5 points) was its best since 2007.
Harvard placed seven individuals on the All-Ivy League teams, the most for the Crimson since eight earned the award in 2001. Senior co-captains Walter Peppelman and Steven Keith headlined the list as first team selections, while sophomores James Fox and Ryan Osleeb were named to the second team. Junior Cameron Croy and freshmen Nicholas Gajdzik and Jeffrey Ott earn honorable mention nods. Click here to read the full story.
History in the Making
Walter Peppelman became the seventh member of Harvard's 100-win club this season with a 4-2 decision in sudden victory over No. 17 Scott Winston of Rutgers. Steven Keith has since joined Peppelman in the club as he picked up a 7-3 decision against Brown's Cortlandt Choate. Peppelman currently ranks sixth in program history with 110 wins while Keith is seventh with 105 victories.
The last Crimson to reach 100 wins was 2010 NCAA Champion and current assistant coach J.P. O'Connor '10. O'Connor finished his career tied with Jesse Jantzen '04 for the most wins in program history at 132. All eight members of Harvard's 100-win club have been coached by Jay Weiss, The David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling.
Related Link: Harvard Wrestling Media Center
Harvard closed its dual-meet schedule with five straight wins to finish the year with an 8-5 overall record and 5-4 in the EIWA. This marks the first time since 2000-01 that the Crimson has posted a winning record overall and in the conference, and marks the team's longest win streak since that same 2000-01 season.
Walter Peppelman posted a perfect 13-0 record in dual meets, becoming the first Crimson to go undefeated in dual-meet action since J.P. O'Connor '10 and Louis Caputo '09-10 did so in 2009-10. O'Connor was 15-0 in dual meets that season while Caputo finished the year 14-0.