CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The Columbia wrestling team held a 15-9 advantage heading into the final two bouts Friday against Harvard, but a major decision and decision by the Crimson in the 197-pound and heavyweight bouts gave the home team a 16-15 win at the Malkin Athletc Center.
Harvard took the early 3-0 lead with a win in the 125-pound bout, but Columbia came right back with a win in 133-pound bout. Matt Bystol trailed Shay Warren, 1-0, heading into the third period, but quickly tied the match with an escape 10 seconds into the final period. The Columbia junior quickly turned around and took down Warren, to take a 3-1 lead. Warren managed to cut the deficit to just one, but Bystol held off his late attempts at a takedown and scored three points for the Lions.
The next two bouts went down similarly to the first couple, as Harvard went up 6-3 with a win in the 141-pound bout, but Columbia responding to tie the match in the 149-pound bout.
No. 5 Steve Santos picked up his 21st win of the season, defeating Todd Preston, 1-0. Preston spent most of the first two periods evading Santos' advances with the lone point coming on the Columbia co-captain's escape to start the second period. In the final minute of the third Preston began to engage Santos, but it was too late, as Santos showed his endurance and held on for the 1-0 decision, tying the match score at 6-6.
In the 157-pound bout, Jake O'Hara and Walter Peppelman went head-to-head in a bout that saw both the coaching staffs and the crowd lobbying loudly for points. Peppelman would win the match with a 3-0 decision and the Lions would be docked a team-point for arguing the takedown Peppelman was awarded, giving Harvard a 9-5 advantage.
Showing its resiliency, Columbia got the points right back in the next bout, as Josh Houldsworth captured a major decision in the 165-pound bout. Houldsworth carried a 4-0 lead into the final period and added three more points in the first 40 seconds with an escape and takedown. The Columbia junior added another takedown and the riding time point to lock down the 10-1 major decision.
Stephen West gave Columbia its first lead of the match with another close decision. West and Cameron Croy entered the third period tied at 3-3 with the Columbia co-captain beginning the final period down. West was able to escape from Croy 11 seconds in to take the lead and then held off Croy's late attempts to shoot to hold on for the 4-3 victory. With the win, West stayed on pace with Santos with a team-best 21 wins.
Columbia extended its lead to 15-9 with Drew Rebling securing a 5-2 decision over Michael Mocco. Rebling and Mocco entered the final period tied 2-2, but Rebling took the lead with a strong reversal at the start of the third. Rebling continued to maintain an advantage through the remainder of the period for the win.
The momentum would shift though in favor of the Crimson in the 197-pound bout as James Fox posted a major decision to close the Lions' lead to two, 15-13, setting the stage for a deciding bout at heavyweight.
Columbia's Chris Manna held his own well against the larger Nicholas Gajdzik, but the Harvard freshman recorded full riding time in the entire second period and then posted an escape to start the third for the 2-0 decision. The win gave Harvard the narrow victory, 16-15.
The Lions will look to bounce back in the season finale at Brown Saturday. That match is slated to begin at 12 p.m.
Harvard 16, Columbia 15
125: Jeffery Ott (H) wins by decision over Penn Gottfried (C) - 14-8
133: Matt Bystol (C) wins by decision over Shay Warren (H) - 3-2
141: Steven Keith (H) wins by decision over Alec Mooradian (C) - 7-0
149: Steve Santos (C) wins by decision over Todd Preston (H) - 1-0
157: Walter Peppelman (H) wins decision over Jake O'Hara (C) - 3-0
Columbia docked a team point by referee for arguing a call.
165: Josh Houldsworth (C) wins by maj. dec. over Devin Gobbo (H) - 10-1
174: Stephen West (C) wins by decision over Cameron Croy (H) - 4-3
184: Drew Rebling (C) wins by decision over Michael Mocco - 5-2
197: James Fox (H) wins by maj. dec. over Nick Mills - 11-2
HWT: Nicholas Gajdzik (H) wins by decision over Chris Manna - 2-0