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Keith, Peppelman Set to Compete at NCAA Championships

Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletic Communications.

Particulars
Two members of the Harvard wrestling team will compete at the 2011 NCAA Wrestling Championships at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa.

ESPN Coverage
*** All coverage is live. All times are Eastern. ***
Thursday, March 17
Session I: 11 a.m. on ESPN3.com
Session II: 6:30 p.m. on ESPN3.com

Friday, March 18
Session III: 10:30 a.m. on ESPNU HD/ESPN3.com
Session IV: 7 p.m. on ESPNU HD

Saturday, March 19
Session V: 11 a.m. on ESPNU HD
Session VI: 7:30 p.m. on ESPN HD/ESPN3.com simulcast

All-Star
Assistant coach Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov will represent Uzbekistan in the USA Wrestling National Team All-Star Dual Meet that will be held as part of the festivities at the 2011 NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships.

The event is set for Thursday, March 17, between the first and second sessions of the NCAA Championships, on the competition mats in the Wells Fargo Center. It is free of charge and NCAA fans will not have to leave their seats to enjoy the action.

There are seven matches as part of the All-Star Dual Meet. It opens with an exhibition bout between two of the United States top freestyle wrestlers, followed by a six-match USA vs. The World Dual Meet.

The 74 kg/163 lbs. freestyle bout will feature Ryan Morningstar of the United States against Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov of Uzbekistan. Morningstar was a two-time All-American for Iowa and Abdurakhmanov was an All-American for American in 2006.

Last Time Out
Harvard finished 10th at the Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association (EIWA) Championships behind five place winners. Sophomores Steven Keith and Walter Peppelman earned automatic bids to the NCAA Championships based on their fourth and fifth-place finishes, respectively.

The Seeds
Walter Peppelman is the 11th seed at 157 pounds and could face sixth-seed Derek St. John (Iowa), third-seed David Taylor (Penn State), seventh-ranked Bryce Saddaris (Navy), 10th-ranked Daryl Cocozzo (Rutgers) and second-ranked Steve Kittery (American) in the championship bracket.

Keith is unseeded at 125 pounds and would face top-seeded Anthony Robles (Arizona State) if he wins his first round bout.

All-Americans
Two thousand and 10 marked the fifth year in a row Harvard had at least one All-American. Sixteen of Harvard's 24 All-Americans have come in the last 11 years. The Crimson has had seven All-Americans from 2006-2010.

NCAA Qualifiers
Harvard sends two qualifiers to the 2011 NCAA Championship. The Crimson has had at least one qualifier for 16 years in a row and 19 of the last 20 years. Harvard had as many as six qualifiers in 2001.

Leader of the Pack
Head coach Jay Weiss (Franklin and Marshall '90) is in his 17th season at the helm. He has coached 52 NCAA Qualifiers, 15 EIWA Champions, 16 All-Americans, two NCAA Champions and a NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Wrestler.

Also Matside
Pat Owen is in his fourth season as an assistant coach at Harvard. Owen, a 2004 Michigan graduate, was a three-time NCAA qualifier. Joining Weiss and Owen in the corner is Sean Harrington, who was a two-time All-American at Massachusetts-Lowell, and Muzaffar Abdurakhmanov, a two-time junior national champion and All-American at American University.

NCAA History
Harvard has placed in the top 55 of the NCAA Championships 26 times. The Crimson's highest finish was in 1938 when it placed seventh behind NCAA Champion John Harkness. Harvard also scored a team-high 29 points at the 2007 championships behind three All-America performances.

Top NCAA Finishes
1938 - Seventh
1930 - 12th
1999 - 20th
2004, 2007 - 22nd
1953, 2002, 2010 - 23rd

Most Points Scored at NCAAs
2007 - 29
2004 - 26.5
2010 - 25
1999, 2003 - 22.5
2002 - 22 2000 - 15.5

Ivy League Honors
Sophomore co-captain Walter Peppelman and freshman Cameron Croy earned spots on the 2011 All-Ivy League wrestling teams as voted by the league coaches. Both are first-time conference selections.

Peppelman earned a spot on the All-Ivy League first team after a perfect 5-0 mark in Ancient Eight competition. Croy sported a 3-1 record in Ivy League action and is 12-17 on the season at 184 pounds.

Statistical Leaders
Walter Peppelman paced the team in victories this season winning 29 matches. He boasts a 29-6 overall record. He has 16 wins by bonus points, including six wins by fall, six major decisions and four technical falls.

Steven Keith was second on the team with 22 wins, with 11 by bonus points.

The Joining the Club
Walter Peppelman's 29 victories this season puts him three away from joining the Harvard top-10 list for wins in a season.

First Round Match-up
Walter Peppelman's first round opponent is Vincent Salminen of North Dakota State. Flash back to one year ago when Salminen met another Harvard opponent in the first round, eventual NCAA Champion J.P. O'Connor. O'Connor won, 15-2.

Free Fallin'
Walter Peppelman has six wins by fall this season, and has picked up 14 wins in his career. Overall the Crimson has 14 wins by fall on the year.

In front of the Home Crowd
Walter Peppelman hails from the Keystone state, less than two hours from the city of the 2011 NCAA Championships. Pennsylvania has been a home away from home for the last few years, as the last six EIWA Championships have taken place in the Keystone state. The Crimson also compete at Lehigh one year and the following year compete at Penn, marking at least one trip to Pennsylvania each season.

Community Outreach
The Crimson is doing its share of community service each year. During the month of January, Harvard wrestlers volunteered with the Mission Hill After School Program to tutor residents of the Alice Taylor housing complex, a low income section of Roxbury. Earlier in the year, Jackson Salovarra '11 organized an event where Harvard went to a church near campus to help weatherize the church rectory. The Crimson spent all day insulating and closing the house up for the winter, which will save the rectory thousands of dollars in the long run. These projects are just a small sample of how this program gives back to the community.