HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Harvard wrestling returned to action for the first time in a month on Saturday, competing at the 56th annual Ken Kraft Midlands Championships in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Wrestling at 157 pounds, Hunter Ladnier, a team tri-captain, opened his day with a bang, pinning Northwestern's Erich Byelick at 4:25. The victory by fall was his first of the campaign, sending him to the third round of the championship bracket for a bout vs. John Vanbrill. The junior, however, could not replicate his performance as he lost a 12-9 decision to his Rutgers counterpart. Over on the consolation side of the field, Ladnier rebounded to record a 10-1 major decision against Cal Poly's Brawley Lamer, but then dropped a 12-1 major decision to Christian Pagdilao of Arizona State.
Meanwhile at 165 pounds, Tyler Tarsi started hot in his first action of 2018-19, earning two wins in as many tries. The senior tri-captain won by fall over Harlan Steffensmeier of Air Force (3:29) and then advanced past Campbell's Quentin Perez by decision, 7-5. Tarsi suffered a 4-3 setback by decision in the third round against Jacen Petersen of Arizona State, but returned to the mat to down Penn's Jack Conway (Dec., 10-3) in the consolation bracket. Tarsi's day ended with an 11-5 defeat by decision to Troy Keller of Buffalo.
Harvard finished with 15.0 points, sitting in a 26th-place tie in the 67-team field after the first day. The Crimson, ultimately, came in a tie for 32nd place.
- First-year Joshua Kim opened the tournament with victories in his first two matches. The freshman defeated Crew Fullerton of Franklin & Marshall by decision (12-5) and earned a major decision (11-2) over Old Dominion's Jack Bond. Kim, however, lost his 165-pound third-round championship bout and his consolation tilt.
- Nolan Hellickson earned a spot in the third round of the championship bracket at 125 pounds. The senior received a bye and then followed it with a 6-3 second-round decision over Willy Girard of Bloomsburg. Hellickson came up short in his final two decisions to wrap up his day.
- Ladnier (5.5 points), Tarsi (4.5) and Kim (3.0) were the team leaders in points earned for the Crimson. Hellickson picked up 2.0 points and was tied with Leo Tarantino for the fourth-most points recorded on the day. Tarantino won by major decision, 14-5, vs. Northwestern's Braxton Cody in the consolation round.
The Crimson will return to action on Jan. 5, when it competes at the David H. Lehman Franklin & Marshall Open in Lancaster, Pa. The tournament is Harvard's final tune-up before beginning its dual-match season.