O’Connor wins

Patrick Newell

J.P. O’Connor was a humble, well-spoken young man when I first spoke with him nearly a decade ago. That same young man grew up, and is now a national champion.
Tonight, at the NCAA Division One Wrestling Championships in Omaha, Nebraska, O’Connor completed a perfect 35-0 season winning the 157-pound title over Cal-Poly’s Chase Pami, 6-4. O’Connor, who is second all-time on Harvard’s all-time wins list, gave the Crimson their third-ever national title, and second in six years behind Jesse Jantzen’s title in 2004. John Harkness stood alone as Harvard’s lone national champion for 66 years winning the national championship in 1938. O’Connor, who battled injuries throughout his career, made sure Harvard fans did not wait nearly as long between national titles.
Speaking after his win to ESPN’s matside reporter, O’Connor offered a comment that typifies his sportsmanship and thoughtfulness. Paraphrasing slightly, O’Connor said: “Chase is a great competitor and he beat me last year. He’s probably the reason I’m here today.”