Wrestling Set To Face Trio of Schools at Pitt Duals

Wrestling Set To Face Trio of Schools at Pitt Duals

The dual matches are the first for the Crimson in 2016-17 (Robert Preston). 

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Shifting from a tournament slate to a schedule of dual matches, Harvard wrestling will travel to the Pitt Duals Jan. 14 to face No. 8 North Carolina State, Binghamton and West Virginia. The Crimson will start the festivities against the Wolfpack at 9 a.m., continue at noon against Binghamton, and finish at 1:30 p.m. against the Mountaineers.

Last Time Out
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.

Full Release: Johnson Wins Championship at Franklin & Marshall Open

Scouting Harvard
Harvard has combined for 97 wins with 16 pins over five tournaments, led by a 18-5 mark from Josef Johnson and double-digit wins from freshmen Hunter Ladnier and A.J. Jaffe and senior Nicholas Gajdzik. Johnson has placed in every tournament he has appeared in, including top-three performances at the Jonathan Kaloust Open, Keystone Classic and Franklin & Marshall Open.

Scouting NC State
Ranked No. 8 in the country, NC State holds a 4-1 mark in dual meets. Kevin Jack (141) has a team-high 21 wins, while Thomas Bullard (157) holds the team lead with six pins.  

Scouting Binghamton
The Bearcats are 2-2 in dual meets this season, including a 1-1 record against Ivy opponents. Vincent Perez (165) and Steve Schneider (184) lead the squad with 11 wins apiece, while both have one triumph by fall.

Scouting West Virginia
The Mountaineers are 0-7 on the season, with three losses coming against nationally ranked foes. Cory Stainbrook (133) leads the team with a 9-6 overall record, while Christian Monserrat (141) has nine wins of his own with three pins.

Last Year's Event
In its first dual-meet action of last season, the Harvard wrestling team earned victories against Bloomsburg and Duke.

The Crimson (2-1) opened the day by toppling Bloomsburg (1-11) by a score of 40-3, marking the largest margin of victory in a dual match for Harvard since a 43-0 win over Millersville in 2012. Harvard also picked up a 23-17 win over Duke (1-4), but fell to No. 4 North Carolina State (16-0), 37-6.

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.

Success at 174
Johnson has posted a 18-5 record in 2016-17 to lead the team. An NCAA qualifier a year ago, Johnson rattled off six wins in a row to close the Keystone Classic and start the Midlands Championships, and five-straight at the Franklin & Marshall Open. The Piscataway, New Jersey native has podiumed in each of his four tournaments, and is 51-35 in his career.

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 opens EIWA action at home against Franklin & Marshall and Bucknell, at noon and 2 p.m., respectively. The home openers will be broadcast on the Ivy League Digital Network.