Photo of Sean Murphy courtesy of Gil Talbot.
The Story Line
The Harvard wrestling team closes out its dual meet season in New York this weekend with matches Friday at Columbia and Saturday at Cornell.
Scouting the Crimson
Harvard heads into the weekend with a 2-12-1 overall record and a 0-3 Ivy mark. The Crimson is led by senior co-captains J.P. O’Connor and Louis Caputo. O’Connor is ranked No. 1 at 157 pounds and sports a 24-0 record, while Caputo is sixth at 184 pounds with a 17-2 mark. Harvard has wins over Sacred Heart and Franklin & Marshall and a tie with Hofstra.
Scouting the Lions
Columbia is 6-10-1 overall and 0-3 in Ivy League action as we head into the final weekend of dual meets. Kyle Gilchrist paces the team in wins with 22 at 125 pounds. He is one of four grapplers with 15 or more wins on the season.
The Lions lead the all-time series 44-31-2 that dates back to 1923 after splitting the last four meetings. Harvard earned a 25-18 victory in Cambridge last year.
Scouting the Big Red
No. 6 Cornell, who boasts five All-Americans and seven NCAA qualifiers, is 6-4-1 in dual action and unbeaten in Ivy League matches. The Big Red is looking for its eight straight Ivy title this weekend and to extend its Ancient Eight dual meet streak which now stands at 41.
The Big Red has seven grapplers ranked in the Intermat Wrestling Top 20 poll. Kyle Drake (141) and Mack Lewnes (174) are both ranked at the top of their respective weightclasses. Troy Nickerson (125) is second in the nation. , Cam Simaz (197) is fifth, Mike Grey (133) is 10th, Steve Bosak (184) and Justin Kerber (165) are 16th.
Cornell sports a 46-9 record against Harvard in a series dating back to 1946-47. The Big Red extended its win streak in the series to eight straight with last year’s 34-9 victory in Cambridge.
J.P O’Connor leads the Crimson with a 24-0 record this season. Louis Caputo, who only started competing in January, is not far off with his 17-2 record. O’Connor has 13 bonus point wins, while freshman Steven Keith has 10.
The Harvard Victory Club
J.P. O’Connor moved into second on Harvard’s all-time wins list with 121 career victories. Louis Caputo is second with 120 wins. Jesse Jantzen ’04 holds the program record for wins with 132.
Wrestling and Volunteering
During preseason the Harvard wrestling spent several weekends volunteering in the community and bonding with each other. J.P O’Connor spearheaded the team to help out with a Habitat for Humanity project in Dorchester. The team worked together off the mat to help out a community by hanging sheet rock and painting. The team helped out the Harvard Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) in a three-mile walk as a tribute to Myles Brand, the former NCAA President who passed away in September. During the January break from classes, members of the team volunteered at the Lutheran Church Homeless Shelter in Cambridge. The wrestlers worked four shifts several times a week.
Harvard takes a week off to prepare for the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships at Lehigh.