Crimson Takes on No. 17 Penn State, N. Iowa and Sacred Heart in First Duals of the Season

Photo of Sean Murphy courtesy of

The Harvard wrestling team returns to Binghamton, N.Y., for the Journeyman/Brute Sprawl and Brawl Sunday, Nov. 22. The Crimson will face off against No. 17 Penn State, Northern Iowa and Sacred Heart in its first dual meets of the season.

Harvard takes on No. 17 Penn State at 11:30 a.m., followed by a 3 p.m. meeting with Northern Iowa and finally a 4:30 p.m. match against Sacred Heart.

The Competition
Combined Harvard and Penn have five nationally ranked grapplers. Harvard’s senior co-captain J.P. O’Connor is currently ranked third at 157 pounds. The Nittany Lions have four grapplers ranked in top 20 in the nation according to the most recent coaches poll: No. 6 Brad Pataky at 125, No. 4 Cyler Sanderson at 157, No.9 Dan Vallimont at 165 and No. 9 Cameron Wade at heavyweight.

O’Connor and Sanderson will be the only two ranked wrestlers to face off this weekend.

Scouting Penn State
No. 17 Penn State is 1-1 on the season after picking up a win over Bloomsburg, 23-15, and falling to No. 16 Lehigh, 23-14.

Penn State will also be competing against Rutgers and No. 13 Edinboro in the tournament.

The Series
This will be the first meeting between the Crimson and Nittany Lions since 1938. Penn State holds a 3-0 lead in the all-time series.

Scouting Northern Iowa
Northern Iowa comes into Sunday’s match at 1-2 after a victory against Eastern Michigan, 22-12, and two losses against Purdue, 24-9, and Stanford, 19-12.

Northern Iowa will face Rutgers and No. 24 Michigan State.

The Series
This will be Harvard’s first meeting against Northern Iowa on the mats.

Scouting Sacred Heart
Sacred Heart comes into the tournament 0-2 with loses to Rutgers, 43-0, and Drexel, 30-7. The Pioneers will be competing against Rutgers and No. 13 Edinboro in the tournament along with the Harvard Crimson.

The Series
Harvard looks to win its third straight against the Pioneers and leads the series, 4-2, going into this weekend’s tournament. The last win came Feb. 9, 2008 when the Crimson defeated Sacred Heart, 37-9.

Last Time Out
The Crimson started off positive in their first tournament of the season competing at the 2009 Open Nov. 15. Senior co-captain J.P. O’Connor was one of five Crimson grapplers who stood on the medal stand. O’Connor won the 157 pound weight class for the second year in a row, while three freshmen finished among the top six in their collegiate openers. Sophomore Walter Peppelman was third for his second straight top-six finish.

The Century Mark and Counting
J.P. O’Connor became the sixth Harvard wrestler to record 100 wins at Harvard. He did so at the Binghamton Open last Sunday. The Oxford, N.Y., native stands fifth all-time at Harvard with 102 career wins

On the Horizon
Harvard travels to Primm, Nev. for the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational Dec. 4-5.