Johnson Leads Wrestling on Day One of NCAA Championships

Johnson Leads Wrestling on Day One of NCAA Championships

Johnson went 1-1 to open the tournament (Hunter Martin).

ST. LOUIS – Three Harvard wrestlers trekked to the Scottrade Center in St. Louis for the 2017 NCAA Championships, and after one day junior Josef Johnson is still in contention after posting a 1-1 record. Senior Jeffrey Ott and freshman Hunter Ladnier also competed for the Crimson.

Johnson, competing at 174 pounds, opened the event against Ohio State's Bo Jordan, who was the tournament's third seed. Following a 10-1 defeat, the co-captain faced Stanford's Peter Galli in the first consolation round. Johnson scored four early points to take command of the bout, eventually winning 6-3 over the Pac-12's third-place finisher.

Battling at 133 pounds, Ott kicked off his first NCAA Championships against 10th-seeded John Erneste of Missouri. The co-captain dropped a tight 8-4 decision in the first round, and later fell to Cornell's Mark Grey in the consolation round, 10-2. Ott finished his Harvard career with 68 wins, including 15 pins.

Qualifying as a freshman, Ladnier opened against the No. 13 seed, Maryland's Alfred Bannister, at 149 pounds. Ladnier fell in the first stage, 14-5, and later dropped a 10-1 contest to North Carolina's Troy Heilmann to close his first NCAA Championships. Ladnier finished the season with 19 wins.

Johnson will look to continue advancing through the bracket at 174 pounds on Friday, taking on Northern Iowa's Taylor Lujan, the 13th-seed, in the second consolation round. The bout will be broadcast on ESPN3.