The deuces, they say, are wild. For the second time in two years, the Maroons finished second in the UAA Championship, behind NYU. Though they were not the overall victors in Saturday’s competition in Hyde Park, the South Siders did come away with three individual awards.
The meet was structured in the form of three duals. NYU beat Case 43–6 in the first one. Then, Chicago beat Case 40–9. In the final, the Maroons faltered to NYU, 24–15.
Individual victories came from second-year Joe Ellis (141 pounds), fourth-year Joeie Ruettiger (149 pounds), and second-year Devon Range (157 pounds). These wins earned each a spot on the All-Association Team.
“Joe [Ellis] had a stunning match against NYU,” second-year Timothy Salazar said.
“It was an exciting match that really got the crowd going,” second-year Ryley Hankenson said of Ellis’s win.
Ruettiger’s win helped the team as a whole.
“The pin was beautiful and really helped keep our momentum going,” Salazar said. “He was the only pin of the meet.”
Range’s win was especially impressive given the minimal amount of competition he’s faced this season.
Despite the second-place team finish, Chicago put up a good showing on the season. And there’s still more wrestling to be done.
“[The weekend] showed us that we still have work to do during these next two weeks before our national qualifying tournament, but we’re all competing well and need to keep our expectations high as we finish out the season,” Ellis said.
Up next, Chicago will attempt to qualify for the NCAAs. The team’s primary goal, for the season, is to qualify for the national tournament.
“We’ll learn from our mistakes, get healthy, and wrestle hard,” Salazar said.
One thing the South Siders won’t be able to rely on at the qualifier is home field advantage, which was a boon to this weekend’s competition.
“It was exciting to host conference this year,” Ellis said. “The crowd definitely helped us in some of the close matches.”
Looking beyond NCAAs, in the back of the Maroons’ minds lies the idea of long-term payback.
“This year went much like last year,” Hankenson said. “We had a good match with NYU both times, but we just weren’t able to come away with the win. Hopefully next year we can win UAAs on NYU’s turf.”
The Maroons have this upcoming weekend off, then head to Elmhurst on March 2 for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional.