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Eight Placewinners Help Wrestling to Seventh Place at EIWA Championships

Peppelman, Fox placed second at the 2013 EIWA Championships (Robert Preston).

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – A total of eight Crimson finished on the podium led by finalists Walter Peppelman and James Fox as the Harvard wrestling team took seventh place at the 2013 EIWA Championships.

Three Crimson earned a trip to the NCAA Championships with their performances over the weekend, including Peppelman, Fox and Steven Keith. Peppelman and Fox placed second at 157 lbs. and 197 lbs., respectively while Keith finished his tournament in fourth place at 141 lbs. Freshmen Jeffrey Ott came one win shy of an automatic bid to the national tournament with a fifth-place finish at 125 lbs.

"When you have a big tournament like this you are going to have ups and downs," Jay Weiss, The David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling commented. "I feel our guys came to fight this weekend and we lost some close battles that could have gone either way. We took a big step forward this weekend and our expectations for the national tournament and next season continue to rise."

Devon Gobbo also earned a place on the podium and capped his first tournament off with a seventh-place finish. Shay Warren, Cameron Croy and David Ng each finished eighth.

Harvard's eight placewinners are the most for the program since 2001 while its seventh-place finish (78.5 points) is the team's best since 2007. Cornell took the team trophy with 142 points as Navy (117.5), Penn (110.5), Lehigh (101.5) and Rutgers (91.0) rounded out the top five.

Peppelman opened his final EIWA Championships in impressive fashion, pinning Eric Norgard from Franklin & Marshall just 36 seconds into the action. He returned during the morning session to post a 6-0 decision over Roy Hernandez of Penn, the eighth seed, before taking out Colulmbia's Jake O'Hara, seeded sixth, with a 1-0 decision.

In his second career finals appearance, the senior was defeated by No. 2 Joseph Napoli of Lehigh, 5-0.

Fox was solid in all three of his matches on Friday beginning with an 11-4 decision over Princeton's Daniel Santoro. The sophomore then earned a 7-4 decision against No. 7 Tyler Lyster of Bucknell and was up 5-2 on Navy's Peter Huntley, the third seed, before Huntley defaulted due to an injury.

Fox came up short against top-seeded Micah Burak of Penn in the finals, dropping a 6-3 decision.

Keith, the second seed at 141 lbs., advanced to the championship semifinals with a 6-0 decision over Columbia's Alec Mooradian and a 9-3 decision over No. 7 Anthony Salupo off Lehigh. He was knocked out of title contention via a 6-3 decision at the hands of Penn's CJ Cobb, the third seed.

The senior returned strong in the wrestle-back bracket, taking out fourth-seeded Trevor Melde of Rutgers, 6-0, before falling to top-seeded Michael Nevinger of Cornell, 3-0, to finish fourth.

Ott wrestled four times on Friday to earn a place in the consolation semi's. He began the day as the fifth seed at 125 lbs. and turned in a dominating 18-3 tech fall against Army's Hunter Wood in his first match. After being pinned by American's David Terao, the fourth seed, he bounced back with a pin of Sacred Heart's Joe Harris at the 1:24 mark and a 5-4 decision over eighth-seeded Patrick Prada of Navy.

Ott was one win away from securing himself a trip to the NCAA Tournament on Saturday but fell in tiebreakers to sixth-seeded William Waterson of Brown, 4-3. The freshmen bounced back to record a 13-0 major decision over Army's Hunter Wood for fifth.