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Top Moments in Harvard Wrestling History: #1-#5

Pictured to the right is the 1938 Harvard wrestling team which featured the program's first national champion, John Harkness '38 (pictured front row, center).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - First established in 1913, the Harvard wrestling team is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2013-14, making the Crimson one of the oldest collegiate wrestling programs in the nation. As part of that celebration GoCrimson.com has released the "Top Moments in Harvard Wrestling History," concluding this week with No's. 1-5.

Make sure to follow the Crimson throughout this historic season via Twitter (@HarvardWrestlin) and use the hashtag #HW100Years to join in the conversation.

To learn more about the history of Harvard wrestling, visit the team's Media Center by clicking here.


Tied #1 Alone at the Top:
J.P. O’Connor ’10 (pictured at right) capped off an unbeaten senior season by winning the 157-pound title at the 2010 NCAA Wrestling Championships. In front of a sold out crow of 15,919, the Oxford, N.Y., native avenged a 2009 loss to two-time All-American Chas Pami of Cal Poly with a 6-4 win, ending a dominant run through the tournament in which he outscored his opponents 51-10. With the win, O’Connor became the third national champion for the Crimson, and the first wrestler in program history to complete an undefeated season.  The final victory also tied O’Connor with Jesse Jantzen ’04 for the program record in wins with 132.


Tied #1 Mission Accomplished:
Jesse Jantzen ’04 won Harvard’s first NCAA wrestling championship in 66 years when he captured the 149-pound title in 2004. Jantzen was named the Most Outstanding Wrestler of the championships after outscoring his opponents 53-15, etching his name among those of the legendary Dan Gable and Cael Sanderson.  His final victory came via a 9-3 decision over Zack Esposito of Oklahoma State, who would later go on to win the weight class at the 2005 NCAA Championships. Jantzen’s cheering section in St. Louis included John Harkness ’38, the first Crimson grappler to have won an NCAA title.


Tied #1 A Champion is Crowned:
John C. Harkness ’38 (pictured below with Jesse Jantzen '04) became Harvard wrestling’s first NCAA national champion on March 26, 1938 when he defeated Oklahom’s Marshall Word for the 175 lbs. title. Harkness, the Crimson captain that season, also won the EIWA title and was named the EIWA’s Most Outstanding Wrestler.


#4 An Era of Dominance:
Jesse Jantzen ’04 graduated in 2004 as the most accomplished wrestler in Harvard history. The Crimson’s all-time leader in wins (132), win percentage (.910) and pins (50), Jantzen’s accomplishments also include;

2004 NCAA Champion
2004 NCAA Most Outstanding Wrestler
3 Time NCAA All-American
3 Time EIWA Champion
4 Time NCAA Qualifier
2 Time EIWA Fletcher Award Recipient
2002 EIWA Sheridan Award Recipient
2004 EIWA Wrestler of the Year
2004 Ivy League Wrestler of the Year
2002 EIWA Most Outstanding Wrestler
2001 Ivy League Rookie of the Year


#5 Kings of the Hill:
Harvard captured its first EIWA team championship in 2001 on the heels of three straight top-four finishes. The Crimson lineup that season featured EIWA champions Matt Picarsic ’01 (133 lbs.) and Dawid Rechul ’02 (HWT), as well as runner-up Jesse Jantzen ’04 (149 lbs.).  A total of eight Crimson finished on the podium, including Keven El-Hayek ’01 (3rd, 125 lbs.), Max Odom ’03 (3rd, 157 lbs.), Pat O’Donnell ’03 (4th, 165 lbs.), Francis Volpe ’00 (3rd, 184 lbs.) and Reggie Lee ’03 (5th, 197 lbs.).