Augustana meet will be key as postseason approaches

Wrestling head to Augustana for its last chance for improvement before the conference championships in a week.

By Bronagh Daly

Although momentum is picking up at the right time, the pressure is on for the Maroons as the postseason approaches.

Chicago will compete against Augustana College this Saturday in Rock Island, IL. This meet will be the last of the team’s regular season before UAAs.

“A tournament like last weekend’s gives us all a lot to work on individually to get ready for the dual,” fourth-year Sam Pennisi said.

The South Siders have been trying to learn from last weekend’s tournament at Wheaton College.

“We’ve been focusing on pinpointing specific weaknesses that became apparent during weekend and hoping to build on the strength and conditioning aspects of our matches as well,” fourth-year Jacob Smith said.

The squad is trying to keep calm and focused throughout this preparation, but the pressure has inevitably started to build.

“Although I try and maintain the same feelings of intensity before every match, the fact that the season drawing to a close has given me an extra sense of desperation to perform at my best,” Smith said.

Even so, the prospects for this Saturday’s tournament appear promising.

“We’re feeling really good,” first-year Paul Papoutsis said. “It’s going to be a tough match. We have a few guys missing from our lineup, but we’re just going to go there and leave it all on the mat.”

The competition won’t be completely new to Chicago, either.

“Some of us even saw Augustana at the dual,” Pennisi said. “So we’ll have had a look at our guy already.”

A few standouts have started to push forward in the past few weeks. First-year Charlie Banaszak is expected to continue the strong momentum that he has been building all season, and he’s also confident in his teammates’ performances.

“I think that our 133-pounder Adam Wyeth, our 149-pounder Jacob Smith, and our heavyweight Jeff Tyburski are really hitting their strides,” Banaszak said. “I think they’re going to do really well in the postseason.”

Even with this weekend’s match in the foreground, the Maroons can’t help but ponder how they’ll perform in the postseason, beginning with UAAs in just two weeks.

“We’ve been practicing really hard in preparation for the next few weeks, especially focusing on our technique,” Banaszak said. “I think our performance this weekend will be a good indication of the way we’ll perform at the UAAs.”

The match against Augustana will begin at 7 p.m.