Harvard will look to build momentum entering the EIWA Championships (Gil Talbot).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Heading to Long Island for its final dual of the 2016-17 season, Harvard wrestling will take on EIWA foe Hofstra on Friday, Feb. 17 at the David S. Mack Physical Education Center. The first bouts are scheduled for 7 p.m., and will be broadcast on GoHofstra.com.
Last Time Out
Capping its home slate and Ivy League schedule on Friday night at the Malkin Athletic Center, Harvard (2-8, 2-6 EIWA, 1-4 Ivy) wrestling fell to Brown, 23-12. Prior to the match, the Crimson celebrated its dedicated class of six seniors: Henry Cousins, Zach Dinan, Nicholas Gajdzik, Colby Knight, Jeffrey Ott and Colton Peppelman.
Harvard tallied four wins on the day, each by decision. Three underclassmen picked up wins on the day, sophomore Samuel Goldman (133) and freshmen A.J. Jaffe (141) and Hunter Ladnier (149), along with senior Josef Johnson (174), who recorded his team-high 25th win of the campaign.
Harvard (2-8) has combined for 137 wins with 20 pins over five tournaments and 10 duals, led by a 25-8 mark from Josef Johnson. Freshman A.J. Jaffe has contributed 18 victories, including a team-high eight in dual action, while Nicholas Gajdzik and Hunter Ladnier have tallied 16 and 15 triumphs, respectively. Johnson placed in every tournament he appeared in, including top-three performances at the Jonathan Kaloust Open, Keystone Classic and Franklin & Marshall Open, which he won.
In the Rankings
Junior Josef Johnson has appeared in the national rankings at 174 pounds by multiple outlets. With two wins over top-20 opponents this season, Johnson is slotted at No. 20 in both the InterMat and TrackWrestling rankings and at No. 26 by the NCAA Coaches Panel. Additionally, Johnson ranks 18th in the NCAA RPI at 174 pounds, and is joined by A.J. Jaffe (141) and Nicholas Gajdzik (285), who rank 29th and 28th, respectively, in the RPI at their weight classes.
Hofstra is 6-8 on the season, including a 2-6 mark over EIWA opponents. The Pride has seen two previous Ivy opponents, falling to both Cornell and Columbia. Sage Heller has a team-high 23 wins at 174 pounds, while Mike Hughes (285) and Ryan Burkert (149) have triumphed 18 times apiece.
125 Connor Sakmar
125 Jacob Martin
*Rankings: NCAA Coaches' Panel/InterMat Wrestling/TrackWrestling
Inside the Series
Harvard trails in the all-time series with Hofstra, 8-9-1, but picked up a victory last season at the Malkin Athletic Center. The Crimson can tie the series with a win in New York on Friday.
Off to a Fast Start
A trio of Harvard freshmen have posted multiple win streaks to start the dual slate. Kyle Bierdumpfel (165), A.J. Jaffe (141) and Hunter Ladnier (149) are a combined 17-6 in dual action, with each posting a winning streak of at least three bouts in a row to open the heads-up slate. Jaffe has a team-best 8-2 mark in head-to-head matchups.
Ivy League Digital Network
The Ivy League Digital Network returns for a fourth season as the home for all live streaming and on-demand video content for each of the conference's eight institutions. Broadcast in full HD and featuring a live score bug and play-by-play and color commentary, the Ivy League Digital Network provides fans with unprecedented access to the Ancient Eight.
Multiple subscription options are available to fans, including school-specific and league-wide passes. The ILDN is also available on Apple TV and Roku. To learn more about the Ivy League Digital Network or to sign-up today, click here.
Success at 174
Johnson has posted a 24-8 record in 2016-17 to lead the team. An NCAA qualifier a year ago, Johnson rattled off six wins in a row to close the Keystone Classic and start the Midlands Championships, and five-straight at the Franklin & Marshall Open. The Piscataway, New Jersey native podiumed in each of his four tournaments, and is 57-38 in his career.
The EIWA Championships loom on the horizon, with Bucknell hosting the event March 3-4 at Sojka Pavilion. Harvard landed three automatic NCAA qualifiers a year ago while taking ninth as a team.
Oh Captain, My Captain
Harvard wrestling will be led by a trio of captains this season: seniors Nicholas Gajdzik and Jeffrey Ott and junior Josef Johnson. All three are in their first season in the leadership role.
In the Classroom
Excelling in the classroom as well as on the mat, the 2015-16 Harvard wrestling team posted the highest GPA in the nation, as announced by the National Wrestling Coaches Association. The honor marked the 14th time Harvard landed in the top-10 since the award's inception.
At the Helm
Jay Weiss is in his 23rd season as the David G. Bunning '88 Head Coach for Harvard Wrestling. Weiss is a two-time EIWA Coach of the Year, and mentored a pair of national champions in Jesse Jantzen (2004) and JP O'Connor (2010). Under Weiss' watch, Harvard has tallied 17 EIWA champions and 19 All-Americans.
Harvard travels to the EIWA Championships March 3-4 at Bucknell. The event will be covered by FloWrestling, and tickets are available through the Bucknell Campus Box Office. Action will begin March 3 at 11 a.m.