Keep an eye on Banaszak and Papoutsis at regionals

Chicago wrestling prepares for the NCAA Midwest Regional tournament that’s on Saturday.

By Bronagh Daly

After finishing second once again to NYU in the UAA Championships, the Maroons head to the NCAA Midwest Regional this Saturday in an attempt to delay the end of their season.

After an exciting 28–18 win over Case Western at UAAs, Chicago ended the competition with a 21–18 loss to NYU.

Even though the loss may have been disheartening, the team still came home with several wins in both matches, including three UAA titles, which has kept the squad’s morale up throughout its preparation over the past few weeks.

“The team is definitely really excited for this weekend,” first-year Charlie Banaszak said. “We probably wrestled our best match in the UAA finals against NYU. We didn’t win, so I think that just made us more hungry for the win at regionals.”

With this in mind, Chicago has been preparing harder than ever for this Saturday’s competition.

“Our practices have also been really good ever since UAAs,” Banaszak said.

This weekend’s competition will be unique. Unlike most of the competitions leading up to Saturday’s match, regionals do not have a team-based mindset. As a result, the team has had to add an extra type of focus to its practices.

“We’ve all been working on the things specific to our styles since regionals is an individual tournament,” Banaszak said. “So our individual performances are what counts.”

This has made the team’s preparation much more personalized in the past week leading up to Saturday’s events.

“Individuals competing in the Regionals have been given a large degree of freedom to work on individual technique,” Banaszak said.

Even those Maroons who are not participating directly have still been attending practice and helping teammates who intend to compete prepare in whatever ways they might need.

“Some guys are making weight. Some are taking it easy. Some are polishing off their moves,” fourth-year Jeff Tyburski said.

Teammates intend to continue to help with these tasks as much as they might be able to right up until Saturday morning.

While watching each member of the team prepare, one can see possible standouts who have become increasingly prominent in the past two weeks.

Tyburski believes that Banaszak will finish his strong season with a bang, performing well at regionals and continuing on to Nationals.

Banaszak himself believes another Maroon is ready to shine on Saturday.

“I think [first-year] Paul Papoutsis has really been on the upward trend, so I think he’s going to be one to watch at the UAAs,” Banaszak said.

The match will begin Saturday at 9 a.m. in Crawfordsville, Indiana.