Johnson Earns Third Trip To NCAA Championships, Wrestling Closes Out EIWA Tournament

Josef Johnson secures third appearance in NCAA Championships (Gil Talbot).
Josef Johnson secures third appearance in NCAA Championships (Gil Talbot).

Josef Johnson (174) secures third appearance in NCAA Championships (Gil Talbot).

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – Closing out the 114th EIWA Championships, senior Josef Johnson solidified his third trip to the NCAA Championships with fifth-place finish at 174 pounds on Sunday. As a team, Harvard tallied 49.5 points overall, good for 11th place.

In his first match of the second day, Johnson earned a 7-3 decision over Hofstra's Sage Heller to advance to the consolation semifinals against Cornell's No. 18 Brandon Womack. Although Womack claimed the 4-0 decision, Johnson took the fifth-place bout from Columbia's Tyrel White. 

Tied at one after the third period, Johnson took match against White with a reversal in the second tiebreaker to secure the 3-2 decision and his third trip to the national tournament.

At 141 pounds, sophomore A.J. Jaffe won his first match of the second day, defeating Princeton's Pat D'Arcy with a 4-1 decision. The Illinois native was one win away from qualifying, but an escape by Lehigh's Luke Karam with a minute left in the third period of the consolations semifinals knocked Jaffe out of contention. However, Jaffe secured fifth-place an 18-7 major decision against Brown's Zeke Salvo.

Sophomore Hunter Ladnier (149) followed his classmate, advancing to the consolation semifinals with a 5-1 decision over Hofstra's Ryan Burkert. Like Jaffe, Ladnier was one win away from securing a second trip to the NCAA Championships, but was pinned by Navy's Jared Prince with three seconds remaining in the third period. 

Entering the second day, freshman Brock Wilson was one win away from becoming Harvard's second straight freshman to appear in the NCAA Championships. Wilson took an early, 2-0, lead against Army's Lucas Weiland, but momentum shifted. Weiland won the next eight points to pick up the 9-2 decision. Wilson finished seventh following a 5-0 decision against Binghamton's Tristan Rifanburg in the seventh-place match.

Junior Nolan Hellickson rounded out the Harvard wrestlers on day two of the EIWA Championships with seventh-place finish. Dropping a 2-0 decision to Drexel's Zack Fuentes, Hellickson pinned Princeton's Matteo DeVincenzo at 5:27 in the seventh-place bout.

What's Next
Johnson will compete at the NCAA Championships beginning on March 17 in Cleveland, Ohio.