South Siders look ahead following tough Wheaton Invitational

The wrestling squad competed in the stacked Pete Wilson Invitational Tournament, placing 21st overall on the weekend.

By Sarah McNeily

The Maroon wrestlers traveled to Wheaton this weekend to compete in the annual Wheaton College Pete Wilson Invitational Tournament. The No. 2 UW–Whitewater placed first on the weekend with 173 points and two weight-class titles, while the Maroons scored 20 team points.

Overall, the Maroons finished 21st out of 32 teams, nine of which are currently ranked in the National Wrestling Coaches Association (NWCA) top 30. The South Siders sent eight wrestlers to the tournament to add to the total count of 260 wrestlers and competed in day one of the tournament with match ups against No. 12 Alma College, Wheaton College, Case Western Reserve, and Elmhurst College, among others.

Second-year Chicago wrestler Paul Papoutsis reached the second day of the competition after advancing in the consolation bracket on Friday. Papoutsis held a 3–1 record in the 165-pound weight bracket on Friday, winning his first two matches with one pin. Papoutsis was defeated in the quarterfinals by the No. 2 seeded wrestler in the tournament and finished the day with a 10–5 win. Papoutsis then withdrew from the competition to finish in eighth place overall.

First-years Elliot Henderson (141 pounds) and Nick Ferraro (174 pounds) each picked up two victories on the day, along with second-year Michael Sepke (149 pounds).

Henderson received a bye in the first round, and lost to Adam Yde of UW–Parkside in the second round before defeating Austin Jenkins of Ferrum College. He then lost to Bryant Roby of Mt. Union.

Sepke lost in his first match to Ben Kazimir of Mt. Union College, but defeated Brendan Gaynor of UW–Oshkosh and Chris Williamson of Messiah College before losing in his fourth match.

Ferraro took a loss in the first round to Jamie Jakes of Alma College. He then defeated Matt Tusick (John Carroll) and Nick Lees (CWRU) in the consolation bracket before losing to Garrett Chase of Baldwin Wallace College.

Ferraro was positive about the team’s performance.

“Paul made it to day two and a few of us wrestled close matches to returning All-Americans and qualifiers, and I think the next time we meet those returning qualifiers we will be better prepared for what they do,” Ferraro said.

Despite their overall finish, the Maroons are more confident after coming out of the Pete Wilson Invitational.  Ferraro noted that this was “a tough tournament will get us ready for regionals,” and that the Maroons now “know what we need to work on to get the edge on some of our tougher opponents after both wrestling and watching them.”

The Maroons look forward to the regional tournament two weeks from now, especially after earning some tough wins over UAA opponent Case Western at this weekend’s tournament. But first, the South Siders will face off in a dual meet against No. 29 Augustana College this weekend and look to defeat a tough team to continue their current two-meet winning streak.