The junior won his first two bouts of the afternoon (Robert Preston).
EVANSTON, Ill. – Taking a crew of seven to the Midlands championships, junior Josef Johnson led the charge for Harvard wrestling on the opening day of action, while five Crimson wrestlers tallied at least one victory.
Competing at 174 pounds, Johnson opened the tournament with a 7-3 victory by decision over Pittsburgh's Austin Bell, and followed the performance with a 4-2 sudden victory after taking down Rutgers' Jordan Pagano in extra time. The junior lost by major decision, 11-2, in the quarterfinals against Alex Meyer (Iowa), and will face Central Michigan's Christian Brucki on day two in the second consolation round of eight.
In the heavyweight division senior Nicholas Gajdzik tallied a pair of triumphs, beginning with a 3-2 decision over Brett Dempsey (American). After falling in the third round, Gajdzik rebounded with a 2-1 victory over Rider's Mauro Correnti, but his tournament was cut short after a 3-1 sudden defeat against Garrett Ryan (Columbia).
A trio of freshmen wrestlers tallied wins at their first Midlands. A.J. Jaffe led the trio with two victories at 141 pounds, pinning Rider's Evan Fidelibus after 2:21 of action and eliminating Northwestern's Alexander McKenna two bouts later by decision, 10-3. Hunter Ladnier won his opening contest by a 7-5 decision over American's Michael Sprague, while Kyle Bierdumpfel posted a major decision victory in shutout fashion versus Princeton's Riley Demoss, 8-0.
The second day of action continues at noon with the third session, while the fourth session will begin at 7 p.m. The first-, third- and fifth-place matchups will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.