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Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov joined the Harvard wrestling staff as an assistant in 2008-09, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and experience on both the collegiate and international levels. Abdurakhmanov made his name known collegiately as an All-American at American University and a two-time junior college national champion at Colby Community College, and has won multiple medals on the international stage.
In 11 seasons since his arrival in Cambridge, the Crimson has celebrated a national champion in J.P. O'Connor '10, five All-Americans, 25 NCAA qualifiers and 46 EIWA placewinners.
In 2012, Steven Keith '13 and Walter Peppelman '12-'13 both reached the podium at Nationals, marking the seventh consecutive season and fourth with Abdurakhmanov on staff that Harvard had produced at least one All-American. Additionally, Peppelman was just the seventh student-athlete in Harvard history to reach the podium in back-to-back years while Keith and Peppelman became the first Crimson teammates to earn a place on the podium at the same tournament since Louis Caputo '09-'10, Max Meltzer '07 and J.P. O'Connor '10 did so in 2007. Harvard now boasts 27 All-Americans in program history, including 19 under head coach Jay Weiss.
In 2013, Abdurakhamanov, who is the brother of Harvard volunteer assistant coach Bekzod Abdurakhmonov, helped Harvard post its first winning record in dual meets (8-5) and its first winning record against the EIWA (5-4) since 2001 with seven Crimson earning All-Ivy selections, the most since the same year. At the EIWA Championships, eight Crimson finished on the podium with three grapplers earning a spot in the NCAA Championships.
The 2014 season saw the return of an EIWA champion to Cambridge as sophomore Todd Preston won the 141-pound title. Preston's performance, which included a sudden-victory overtime win over ninth-ranked Luke Vaith of Hofstra in the finals, was so impressive that the conference coaches awarded him Most Outstanding Wrestler honors, making him the third Crimson grappler to receive the award. Preston was one of five Harvard wrestlers to reach the podium at EIWAs, and was joined at the NCAA Championships by junior co-captain James Fox, who made his third consecutive trip to Nationals.
During the 2015 campaign, David Ng (heavyweight) earned a bid to the NCAA Championships and was one of three Crimson wrestlers to earn All-Ivy honors.
In 2016, Devon Gobbo (165) won the EIWA champion and joined Todd Preston (141) and Josef Johnson (174) at the NCAA Championships. A total of five Crimson grapplers earned All-Ivy League honors.
In 2017, Harvard sent three wrestlers to the NCAA Championships, including Johnson, Jeffrey Ott and Hunter Ladnier. Ladnier and A.J. Jaffe were named to the all-Ivy second team, while off the mat senior Henry Cousins was the recipient of the Hoopes Prize earned the Gates Cambridge Scholarship.
The 2018-19 campaign was a trying effort for Harvard as it suffered through injuries up and down the lineup, but Ladnier won a team-best 22 matches, including five against EIWA action, at 157 pounds. Lukus Stricker, a 133-pound sophomore, had 16 victories, including a team-high six in EIWA action en route to Honorable Mention all-Ivy League honors.
Abdurakhmanov joined the Harvard staff after spending two seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, American University. In his first season with the Eagles, American crowned its first national champion in Josh Glenn and the next season put two individuals on the podium at the NCAA's.
Abdurakhmanov, one of the finest wrestlers to ever don the American University colors, made a lasting impression on the program in just two years. During the 2004-05 season, his first season at AU, Abdurakhmanov became the first EIWA champion in school history with a 12-11 decision over Derek Zinck of Lehigh at 157 lbs. Combined with his championship and a 27-1 overall record, Abdurakhmanov entered the NCAA Championship as the fourth seed. His tournament run was cut short as he was slowed by a knee injury and was eliminated in the third round.
Coming back at 165 pounds for his senior year, Abdurakhmanov again dominated the competition. He defeated then-No. 13 Stephen Anceravage of Cornell, 9-3, in the EIWA finals for his second-consecutive conference championship and was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Wrestler. As the No. 3 seed in the NCAA tournament, Abdurakhmanov placed third with his only loss coming by way of a 4-3 decision to the returning National Champion, Johny Hendricks of Oklahoma State, who later went on to repeat. His third-place finish, the highest in AU wrestling history at the time, earned Abdurakhmanov All-America honors.
Before becoming an Eagle, Abdurakhmanov spent two seasons at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas. As a Trojan, Abdurakhmanov won two Junior College National Championships, was twice named a JUCO All-American and was also once named Outstanding Wrestler.
Abdurakhmanov is also a three-time Uzbekistan National Champion and a Junior World runner-up. In 2004 he placed second at the Sunkist International Tournament and in 2006 placed second in the New York Athletic Club International Tournament. Abdurakhmanov represented Uzbekistan on the 2001 senior national team at the World Championships.