The win was Johnson's third top-three finish this season (Robert Preston).
LANCASTER, Pa. – Kicking off 2017 on a high note, Harvard wrestling had four student-athletes advance to the quarterfinal stage, including junior Josef Johnson, who captured the tournament championship at 174 pounds.
Johnson (174) went a perfect 5-0 en route to standing atop the podium, with three wins by decision, one pin and one via medical forfeit. After beating Charles Layer (Rowan at Gloucester) and Terrell Forbes (Old Dominion) in the first two rounds, Johnson toppled Nunzio Cowley (Binghamton) by a 7-0 margin, and he added his second-straight shutout with a 4-0 triumph against Cody Hughes (Virginia Tech). Johnson was dominant in the final round, eliminating Garrett Peppelman (Virginia), 6-2, to claim the tournament title.
Senior Jeffrey Ott (133) advanced to the semifinals with three-straight wins to start the tournament. After pinning Keanan Bottorf (Lock Haven) in the opening bout, he posted technical fall victories over Joe Sliwoski (Clarion) and Theodore Powers (Brown). Senior Nicholas Gajdzik (285) also reached the semifinal stage with three victories, including a decision over Gary Traub (unattached) and a victory by fall over Anthony Brownridge (Campbell).
Harvard heads to the Pitt Duals Jan. 14, where the Crimson will square off with No. 16 North Carolina State, Binghamton and No. 18 West Virginia.