Maroons look to recapture conference crown

By Thomas Choi

After a strong start to their season, the Maroons will look to continue their success when they return from winter break.

The South Siders are currently 2–1, having defeated Wheaton and North Central but fallen short to Elmhurst College, which is the third strongest team in DIII. They also performed strongly at the Concordia Open, where many of the teams, including the winner of consecutive national championships, were ranked higher than Chicago.

“I thought the team improved every time out,” head coach Leo Kocer, now in his 35th season, said. “At Concordia, Chicago wrestlers placed in five different weight classes in a pretty competitive tournament.”

With a fresh new group of wrestlers from the incoming class of first-years, they are ready to take the UAA Championship once again. They have won it in nine of the past 12 years.

“The freshmen are looking good. They have filled eight of the 30 starting spots in our three dual meets and they have been very competitive,” Kocher said.

Kocher has high hopes for the team this year and is hoping for the improvement of each individual.

“We just want each wrestler to focus on doing his best to help the team succeed—making the optimal choices that will make him and his teammates better,” he said.

The Maroons are currently ranked 28th in DIII. However, they believe they will be able to climb higher on the list this season.

Fourth-year Joeie Ruettiger leads the team with a 9–2 record this season and is currently ranked ninth in the nation in the 149 lb. weight class. However, many other members of the team will also be worth watching.

“I think every weight class is capable of impressive performances,” Kocher said.

The next stop on Chicago’s journey is Colorado Springs, where the team will spend six days of winter break on a training trip. There, the Maroons will continue to work on their solid foundation.

“I look forward to building on where we are right now in the next four weeks.” Kocher said.

When they return, the season will resume with the Ken Kraft Midlands Championships at Northwestern on December 29 and 30. Meets at Knox, Elmhurst, and Wheaton will round out their winter road schedule.

The Maroons will have two meets at home in February, one of which will be the UAA Championship on February 16 against NYU and Case Western.