Wrestling Heads to Northwestern for Midlands Championships

Wrestling Heads to Northwestern for Midlands Championships

Johnson paces the Crimson with a 10-2 mark this season (Robert Preston). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Hitting the mats for the final time before the turn of the calendar, Harvard wrestling will compete at the Midlands Championships Dec. 29-30, hosted by Northwestern at Welsh-Ryan Arena. The finals will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Last Time Out
Traveling west for the first time this season, Harvard wrestling totaled nine victories at the 2016 Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite.

Freshman A.J. Jaffe led the Crimson in winning his first two bouts at 141 pounds, topping Minnesota's Gannon Volk by major decision, 11-2, and Cal Poly's Colt Schilling by decision, 6-2. Jaffe faced 16th-ranked Logan Everett from Army in the quarterfinals, falling by decision, 10-4. Jaffe battled Purdue's Kyle Ayersman to open Saturday's action in the second consolation round of eight, but fell by decision in a hard-fought bout, 4-0.

Full Release: Jaffe Leads Wrestling at Cliff Keene Las Vegas Invite

Scouting Harvard
Harvard has combined for 63 wins with five pins over three tournaments, led by a 10-2 mark from junior Josef Johnson and a 9-7 mark by freshman Hunter Ladnier. A.J. Jaffe and Nicholas Gajdzik have also tallied eight and seven wins, respectively. The Crimson had student-athletes place in each of the first two tournaments this season, the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat Open and the Keystone Classic.

About the Tournament
71 ranked wrestlers, including 38 in the top-10, will compete at #Midlands54. Action on Thursday will get underway at 9:30 a.m., with the second session beginning at 7 p.m. The third session opens Friday at noon, with the final round kicking off at 7 p.m. on the Big Ten Network.

Last Year's Event
Harvard missed the 2015 Midlands Championships due to weather-related travel issues. James Fox '15 placed third at 197 pounds at the Crimson's last midlands in 2014, while current student-athletes Johnson and Gadzjik won two bouts apiece.

Enter Freshmen
A trio of freshmen kicked off their careers with four or five victories at the Jonathan Kaloust Bearcat open: Jaffe (141), Ladnier (149) and Kyle Bierdumpfel (165). Jaffe and Ladnier took fifth with four victories apiece, while Bierdumpfel triumphed five times en route to a sixth-place result. Ladnier followed up the performance with a sixth-place result at the Keystone Invite, while Jaffe led the Crimson in advancing to the second day at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invite.

Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a fourth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.

Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. The ILDN is also available on Apple TV and Roku. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.

Oh Captain, My Captain
Harvard wrestling will be led by a trio of captains this season: seniors Nicholas Gajdzik and Jeffrey Ott and junior Josef Johnson. All three are in their first season in the leadership role.

The Class of 2020
Harvard wrestling announced the addition of seven newcomers for the 2016-17 campaign: Kyle BierdumpfelZeth DeanDonovan DoyleA.J. JaffeAaron KrukHunter Ladnier and Connor Sakmar. The seven incoming freshmen hail from six different states and will compete in five separate weight classes.

In the Classroom
Excelling in the classroom as well as on the mat, the 2015-16 Harvard wrestling team posted the highest GPA in the nation, as announced by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The honor marked the 14th time Harvard landed in the top-10 since the award's inception.

At the Helm
Jay Weiss is in his 23rd season as the David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling. Weiss is a two-time EIWA Coach of the Year, and mentored a pair of national champions in Jesse Jantzen (2004) and JP O'Connor (2010). Under Weiss' watch, Harvard has tallied 17 EIWA champions and 19 All-Americans.

What's Next?
Harvard heads to Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the Franklin & Marshall Open Jan. 7. The meet will be broadcast on GoDiplomats.com.