Wrestling Completes Comeback to Top Boston University, 23-15

Fox registered a first-period fall to give the Crimson the upper hand (Robert Preston).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard wrestling team won four straight bouts to overcome a 15-6 deficit and defeat Boston University Saturday night, 23-15, in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Malkin Athletic Center.

Harvard (3-4, 2-4 EIWA), which was competing at home for the first time this year, won a total of six weights against the Terriers (2-7, 1-6 EIWA) to capture the Charles Cup for the second straight year and final time in the series. Three of the Crimson's victories were of the bonus point variety with two wins coming in overtime.

Harvard went on top 6-4 in the team scores following the 141 lbs. bout, but BU rattled off three straight wins to go in front, 15-6, and set up the comeback by the Crimson.

The meet began at 125 lbs. where Bubba McGinley took an early lead with an ankle pick against Max Mejia, wrestling his first match of the season after returning from injury. Mejia cut his deficit in half with an escape midway through the period, but McGinley came back with another ankle pick for a 4-1 lead. The Terrier added a pair of takedowns in the second and four more in the third, and with more than 3-minutes of riding-time advantage earned the major decision, 15-6.

Dane Harlow gained the early advantage over Jeffrey Ott at 133 lbs., scoring a takedown off the initial scramble. Ott evened the score with a reversal moments later, before a reversal by Harlow and back points put the Terrier in front, 6-2. Ott rode Harlow throughout the second period to send the match into the third with the score unchanged, where Harlow was penalized for stalling three times to send the match into overtime. The sophomore went right to work off the initial whistle, shooting in on a quick double-leg blast for the victory, 8-6.

Todd Preston and Tyler Scotton went scoreless through the first period before a quick escape in the second gave Preston a 1-0 edge at 141 lbs. Scotton was stonewalled by Preston on two shot attempts as the period wore on, and the two headed into the third with Preston still holding the one-point advantage. It was Preston who shot first in the final frame, scoring at the edge of the circle with a strong double-leg for a 3-1 win.

Nick Tourville controlled the action at 149 lbs. against Nicholas Stager, registering three takedowns and back points in the first period for a 9-2 margin. Tourville added a takedown in both the second and third periods, and with riding time advantage walked away with the 16-6 major decision.

The pace was quick at 157 lbs. as freshman Tyler Grimaldi went toe-to-toe with No. 8 Nestor Taffur. Taffur scored the first takedown off the opening whistle and added a pair of back points, but a reversal by Grimaldi moved the score to 4-2. A second takedown by Taffur gave the senior a 7-3 advantage at the end of the period, with Grimaldi earning an escape to begin the second to make the score 7-4. Grimaldi got in on Taffur twice in the stanza but was unable to capitalize, until his third attempt, a high-crotch, found its mark to bring the score to 7-6. An escape by Taffur before the buzzer edged him ahead, and another to begin the third period made it a three-point margin, 9-6. Grimaldi went in for the high-crotch once again midway through the frame, but this time Taffur countered and scored the takedown himself. Two sets of back points and riding time advantage gave the Terrier the major decision, 16-6.

The pace was much different at 165 lbs. as an escape by Mitchell Wightman was the only scoring through two periods. Brennan Smith countered with an escape of his own midway through the third, and after neither wrestler was able to score during a scramble late in the frame the match went into overtime. The pair was again evenly matched through the first sudden victory period, with Wightman's escape in the tie breakers proving to be the difference in the 2-1 decision.

Eric Morris got things back on track for the Crimson at 174 lbs., building a 6-0 lead over Eric Des Lauriers with a takedown and two sets of back points. Morris moved the score to 8-0 as he shrugged Des Lauriers off his back for a reversal in the second, and another reversal to begin the third put the Crimson in front 10-0. With more than 4-minutes of riding-time advantage, Morris took home the major decision victory, 11-0.

Cameron Croy scored first at 184 lbs. against Andrew Maksimovic, working his way to a takedown at the edge of the mat before adding two more takedowns for a 6-2 lead heading into the second. Croy continued to work the high-crotch, using it twice more in the period to extend his margin to 11-3. The senior co-captain tacked on two more takedowns and riding-time advantage in the final period en route to the 16-5 major decision.

James Fox had the upper hand at 197 lbs. as he out-quicked and out-worked Aaron Conrad. Fox, a two-time NCAA Qualifer, was able to counter Conrad's first shot attempt for the initial lead and then surprised the Terrier with an ankle pick to take a 4-1 edge. Fox then used a hammer lock to turn Conrad, and registered the fall at 2:56 to put Harvard back in front in the team scores, 20-15.

Heavyweights Nicholas Gajdzik and Alex Najjar were scoreless after one before an escape by Gajdzik off the opening whistle of the second period put the Crimson in front. Najjar evened the bout with an escape of his own early in the third, and the two into overtime deadlocked at 1-1. Najjar was the aggressor in the extra session, but Gajdzik countered his single-leg attempt and was able to get around behind for the victory, 3-1.

Harvard 23, Boston University 15
125: Bubba McGinley (BU) maj. dec. Max Mejia (HU), 15-6, 0-4
133: Jeffrey Ott (HU) dec. Dane Harlow (BU), 8-6 SV1, 3-4
141: Todd Preston (HU) dec. Tyler Scotton (BU), 3-1, 6-4
149: Nick Tourville (BU) maj. dec. Nicholas Stager (HU), 16-6, 6-8
157: No. 8 Nestor Taffur (BU) maj. dec. Tyler Grimaldi (HU), 16-6, 6-12
165: Mitchell Wightman (BU) dec. Brennan Smith (HU), 2-1 TB1, 6-15
174: Eric Morris (HU) maj. dec. Eric Des Lauriers (BU), 11-0, 10-15
184: Cameron Croy (HU) maj. dec. Andrew Maksimovic (BU), 16-5, 14-15
197: James Fox (HU) fall Aaron Conrad (BU), 2:56, 20-15
HWT: Nicholas Gajdzik (HU) dec. Alex Najjar (BU), 3-1 SV1, 23-15