The wrestling team successfully defended the UAA title this past Saturday, prevailing over Case Western Reserve 39–14 and NYU 22–14.
Crucial victories against NYU by third-year Matt Hart and fourth-year Troy Carlson propelled Chicago to their second straight championship. Carlson, second-year Jimmy Schoettle, third-year Chris Oster, and third-year Ryan Hatten each won individual UAA championships.
“Many of these guys, from the freshmen through the seniors, picked up the team when it was needed of them,” head coach Leo Kocher said. This is the 14th UAA title for Kocher, who is in his 31st year at the helm.
Chicago defeated Case, winning seven of the 10 weight divisions with four pinfalls. Case lost to NYU in the first round, setting up a showdown for the title between NYU and Chicago—as has become the norm.
“In the last four years the championship has come down to the dual meet between us and very competitive NYU squads,” Kocher said.
Chicago started out strong against NYU, winning three of the first four matches. The most significant bout in the lower weight classes was between third-year Matt Hart and NYU’s Gabriel Gleason, which Hart won on a last second takedown 6–4.
“Matt Hart’s victory was crucial in our win because we knew their strongest part of their lineup was between 157 and 174. Without his victory we would have been hard-pressed to come out with the win,” Oster said.
NYU stormed back, winning the next four matches. With only two matches remaining, NYU led 14-10. With the Violets forfeiting the heavyweight bout, the fate of the dual essentially depended upon the outcome of the contest between Carlson and NYU’s Jamie Myers, who came into the match with an 18–14 record. Carlson, who is currently ranked third nationally in the 197-pound weight division, controlled the pace of the bout and pinned Myers early in the third period.
“When we won three of the first four matches we knew we were in good shape. NYU had a good wrestler at 197, but I did not think he would be able to stay with Carlson,” Kocher said.
Troy Carlson could certainly be labeled the team’s most valuable wrestler this past season. He is undefeated in dual matches and was named the association’s Most Outstanding Wrestler. Looking ahead, Carlson is the lone Maroon favored to win the regional tournament on February 20, which would qualify him for the national tournament.
Perhaps the unsung heroes of the NYU dual are the Chicago wrestlers who, despite failing to win their matches, did not yield a single pin. While the weight divisions were split evenly 5–5 between the two squads, the major decision by Schoettle, Carlson’s pin, and the forfeit for Hatten edged the score in favor of Chicago.
“Our coaching staff saw us and NYU as evenly matched, and the fact that we went 5–5 in our matches confirmed it. But the important thing was all of our guys who lost still wrestled close matches,” Kocher said.
This year’s win marks the second straight conference championship for Chicago and the team’s third UAA win in four years. When asked how the 2010 wrestling squad would fare against the 2009 championship squad, Kocher replied simply, “It would be a pretty good duel.”