Younger Maroons looking to step up at Concordia Open

Wrestling travels to Wisconsin for the Concordia Open.

By Bronagh Daly

The Maroons are preparing harder than ever for their third match of the year this coming Saturday.

Unfortunately for Chicago, the squad is low on competitors as it heads into the Concordia University Open.

“We have been preparing as we would prepare for any other tournament or match,” first-year Nick Ferraro said. “A couple key members of our team are out of action with some injuries, but as always, the bus keeps rolling, and others have stepped up to fill the holes.”

Chicago still has high hopes that it can outdo last year’s performance, in which the squad placed three of its 15 wrestlers out of the competing members of the team. Thus far this season, the team has suffered a 25–12 loss to North Central and has also competed in the Trine University Open.

“We also have the debut of one of our sophomores, Mike Sepke, as he finally gets a chance to compete after missing last season for shoulder surgery,” Ferraro said. “Sepke will be someone to watch this weekend. He is undoubtedly the hardest worker in the room, and it will be great to finally see him wrestle!”

There will likely be other Maroon standouts, as well.

“Other wrestlers to watch are [second-year] Paul Papoutsis and [third-year] Steve Franke, both having placed this past weekend at Trine,” Ferraro said.

Strong efforts from all Chicago wrestlers will be vital, since second-year and returning All-American Charlie Banaszak is recovering from surgery.

Ferraro also feels optimistic about his own performance after earning the most wins at the Trine Open.

“After last weekend, I am much more confident in my abilities to wrestle at the college level,” Ferraro said. “And I hope to make the podium again this weekend. There are some D1 kids there, so the competition will be amped up, but I look forward to the challenge. Personally, I want to win this thing. A few of my friends who went on to wrestle in college will be there, and I look forward to competing against them again.”

He also spoke of his goals for the squad.

“After placing a wrestler in five out of 10 weight classes last week, the team and I are confident in our ability to match, if not exceed, our success from the Trine Open,” Ferraro said.

Overall, though, Ferraro spoke very highly of his team and of his first experience on the team.

“I am happy with my year so far, and I attribute a lot of that to the coaching I’ve had in the past and the coaching I have now,” Ferraro said. “I have been lucky to have been coached under a wide array of coaching styles, with Coach Kocher to cap it off. My past coaches technique and work ethic got me where I am today, and Coach Kocher will bring me to the top with his skills refining my wrestling. We have a long season ahead of us, and a lot of time to work on the things that I don’t do very well with.”

The Concordia Wisconsin Open will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday in Mequon, WI.