No. 25 Wrestling Closes Out Dual Meet Schedule at Columbia
Harvard will travel to New York City to take on Columbia in its regular season finale (Gil Talbot).
The Story Line
The No. 25 Harvard wrestling team will close out the dual meet portion of its schedule Saturday, Feb. 18 when it takes to the mat against Columbia at 3 p.m. in New York City.
Rank and File
The Crimson reclaimed the 25th spot in the Intermat tournament strength rankings on Tuesday and has been featured among the top 25 teams in the nation four of the last five weeks.
157-pounder Walter Peppelman went 3-0 over the weekend and is currently ranked No. 7 in the individual rankings. Peppelman, who has been featured as high as fourth, earned his 25th career fall on Sunday against Lehigh's Brian Tanen to move into third place on the school's career falls list. The junior co-captain is 21-4 overall this season, with nine falls, one tech-fall and four major decisions.
Corey Janzten, who has been out of action the past two weekends, moved up one spot once again to No. 6 at 149 lbs. The senior is 7-2 on the year since returning from injury, with two wins over opponents ranked in the top eight.
Steven Keith remained as the No. 12 grappler at 133 lbs. after picking up a pair of wins last weekend. The junior has set a new career-high for wins with his 26-7 record, while his 10 major decisions lead the team. Keith has posted four wins over opponents ranked in the top 15 this season.
Harvard (5-9, 2-6 EIWA)
Columbia (6-4, 2-3 EIWA)
Raising the Bar
At 5-9 on the year, Harvard has matched the program's highest win total since the 2002-03 season when it went 6-7-1. The Crimson's two wins in the EIWA also match the program's highest total since posting a 4-1 conference mark in 2000-01. Harvard will be looking to improve upon both those totals on Saturday against Columbia.
Senior co-captain Walter Peppelman currently ranks third in Harvard history with 25 career pins, while his nine falls this season put him one shy of matching his career-high and 10th place on the school's single-season list. His 84 career wins, meanwhile, put him two short of entering the school's all-time top 10.
Check out highlights of Peppelman's 25th career fall below.
Jay Weiss, the David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling, was wired for sound when the Crimson hosted Army in its home opener Jan. 28.
Senior co-captain Walter Peppelman won 10 straight matches from Jan. 6 to Feb. 4, and won the first nine of those bouts without allowing a single point. He opened the streak with six consecutive first period falls and tacked on two major decisions for good measure.
Infusion of Youth
Harvard's lineup features eight freshmen, four of which have been fixtures in the starting lineup. 197-pounder James Fox has burst onto the scene with an 18-10 record, and was ranked No. 27 in the second of three coaches' panel rankings released by the NCAA. David Ng has carried the load at heavyweight all season long to the tune of an 9-15 record, while Josh Popple has posted a 7-6 record at 174 lbs. since returning to the lineup after missing the fall semester due to injury. Joe Barbato and Max Mejia have split time at 125 lbs. and have combined for a 4-16 mark.
What a Start
Harvard went 3-1 to open the dual meet portion of its schedule, marking the team's best start to a season since going 5-1 in 1995-96. The Crimson defeated Rider, 22-15, before falling at No. 24 Rutgers, 33-12, and then posted victories at Millersville, 43-0, and Franklin & Marshall, 29-12.
The Crimson posted a shutout at Franklin & Marshall, dominating the Diplomats to the tune of 43-0. This was Harvard's first shutout since defeating Boston College 31-0 on Feb. 9, 2002 at the MAC, while the team's 43 points scored were the most since a 50-0 win at home over Columbia on Feb. 9, 2001.
Twice As Nice
Harvard earned EIWA Wrestler of the Week honors in back-to-back weeks in the form of Corey Jantzen (Jan. 9) and Walter Peppelman (Jan. 16). Jantzen garnered his second career wrestler of the week accolade after going 4-0 in his return to the Crimson lineup, including a 7-4 tiebreakers decision over then unbeaten and third-ranked Mario Mason of Rutgers. Peppelman went 3-0 at the Lone Star Duals to earn the award for the first time in his career with a pair of pins and a 2-0 decision over Oklahoma's Matt Lester, currently ranked No. 15.
On the Podium
The Crimson competed in four tournaments to being the year and put a total of 15 grapplers on the podium. Six Crimson placed at the Binghamton Open, led by Walter Peppelman and Steven Keith who each took third. Peppelman earned the first tournament title of his career as seven Harvard wrestlers placed at the Keystone Classic, while both Keith (3rd) and freshman James Fox (7th) stood atop the podium at the Cliff Keen Las Vegas Invitational. Keith also took eighth at the Midlands Championships to lead a contingent of four Crimson who competed in the tournament.