Johnson was an NCAA qualifier a year ago (Robert Preston).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Hitting the mats for the first time in 2016-17, Harvard wrestling will open its 103rd season at the Jonathan Kalhoust Bearcat Open, hosted by Binghamton on Sunday, Nov. 13. The action will get underway at approximately 9 a.m.
Harvard returns a plethora of talented wrestlers for 2016-17, led by junior Josef Johnson (174), who qualified for the NCAA Championships a year ago. Johnson tallied 17 victories last season, including a sixth-place result at EIWAs. Senior Jeffrey Ott (133) leads all returners with 24 victories in 2015-16, including a sterling 10-2 mark in dual action. Senior Nicholas Gajdzik (285) and junior Nolan Hellickson (125) also posted double-digit victories a year ago, with 18 and 15 wins, respectively.
Scouting the Field
One of the largest tournaments in the fall slate, over 400 wrestlers from a variety of schools will make their way to Binghamton's Events Center for the Jonathan Kalhoust Bearcat Open. Student-athletes from around the country, including EIWA foes Franklin & Marshall, Army, Cornell, Brown, Hofstra, Navy and host Binghamton, will be in attendance.
Last Year's Event
Nicholas Gajdzik led the squad with four victories in his junior campaign, pacing the Crimson with a second-place finish. Wrestling at 285, Gajdzik picked up a pin, a 6-2 decision and a 3-1 sudden victory to reach the final round. Elsewhere, Jeffrey Ott, Todd Preston '16 and Devon Gobbo '16 reached the semifinals of their respective weight classes.
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.
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.
The Class of 2020
Harvard wrestling announced the addition of seven newcomers for the 2016-17 campaign: Kyle Bierdumpfel, Zeth Dean, Donovan Doyle, A.J. Jaffe, Aaron Kruk, Hunter Ladnier and Connor Sakmar. The seven incoming freshmen hail from six different states and will compete in five separate weight classes.
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 treks to Philadelphia for the Keystone Classic, hosted by Penn at the Palestra. The tournament will begin in the morning and run through the day.