Wrestling Falls to No. 25 Lehigh in Dual Meet Finale, 29-12, Live on ESPN3

The Crimson hosted its first wrestling meet at Lavietes Pavilion live on ESPN3 (Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard wrestling team welcomed a national audience into Lavietes Pavilion Sunday afternoon as it closed its dual meet schedule against no. 25 Lehigh live on ESPN3.

A crowd of 827 was on hand to witness the dual, which was the first wrestling match ever held inside the 88 year old facility. Harvard saw its season finale spoiled, however, as Lehigh won seven of the 10 bouts for a 29-12 victory.

The Crimson (4-8, 3-8 EIWA) received wins from 141-pounder Todd Preston and 197-pounder James Fox, who each continued their respective winning streaks. Preston, a sophomore, has won six straight matches and 10 of his last 11 to improve to 19-8 overall, 10-1 in dual meets. Fox, meanwhile, has posted eight straight victories and is now 14-7 in his junior campaign, 10-2 in duals.

Samuel Ekanem notched Harvard's other victory with a forfeit at 184 lbs.

Lehigh (10-6, 6-2 EIWA) opened the meet with bonus points at 125 lbs. and 133 lbs. to jump out to a 9-0 lead. Preston scored first in his bout against Laike Gardner with a single leg, and scored an escape to open the second period for a 3-1 margin. An escape and takedown for Gardner early in the third put the Mountain Hawk in front, 4-3, but Preston quickly escaped to even the score. Still tied 4-4 with 0:30 remaining, Preston countered a shot by Gardner and got him to his back for the nearfall, and took the match by the final score of 9-4.

Lehigh won each of the next four weights and got bonus points at 149 lbs., 165 lbs. and 174 lbs., building a 26-3 advantage to secure the team victory.

The forfeit at 184 lbs. ended the Mountain Hawks' run before Fox took the mat against John Bolich. Neither wrestler was able to generate any offense in the first period and a quick escape by Fox in the second put him on top, 1-0. Fox looked to have scored a takedown midway through the frame but the wrestlers went out of bounds before points were awarded, and the two went into the third period with Fox still leading, 1-0. The junior rode Bolich for 1:34 before Bolich scored a reversal to take a 2-1 edge, but an escape and riding time advantage gave the victory to Fox, 3-2.

Lehigh closed the day out with a win at heavyweight, earning the team victory by a score of 29-12.

Harvard will break for two weeks before returning to the mats at the 2014 EIWA Championships, being held this year at The Palestra in Philadelphia March 8-9.

No. 25 Lehigh 29, Harvard 12
125: Darian Cruz (Lehigh) tech. fall Max Mejia, 23-6, 0-5
133: No. 6 Mason Beckman (Lehigh) major dec. Jeffrey Ott (Harvard), 16-4, 0-9
141: Todd Preston (Harvard) dec. Laike Gardner (Lehigh), 9-4, 3-9
149: No. 13 Mitch Minotti (Lehigh) fall Nicholas Stager (Harvard), 1:04, 3-15
157: Mike Stepien (Lehigh) dec. Tyler Grimaldi (Harvard), 10-7, 3-18
165: Ben Haas (Lehigh) major dec. Brennan Smith (Harvard), 14-0, 3-22
174: No. 18 Elliot Riddick (Lehigh) major dec. Ian Roy (Harvard), 12-2, 3-26
184: Samuel Ekanem (Harvard) win by forfeit, 9-26
197: James Fox (Harvard) dec. John Bolich (Lehigh), 3-2, 12-26
HWT: Doug Vollaro (Lehigh) dec. David Ng (Harvard), 2-0, 12-29