Maroons Prepare to Spar

After a seventh-place finish last week, the Maroons look to even the score against North Central College.

By Emma Griffiths

This upcoming Saturday, the University of Chicago wrestling team will be facing an exciting team of wrestlers from North Central College, who are ranked 14th in the country. UChicago is currently No. 23. Coming off a seventh-place finish out of 12 teams last weekend, the Maroons are looking to improve their current national standings. There are high hopes to be in strong competition with this tough opponent. 

With a big opponent ahead of them, the Maroons will have to rely strongly on two of their first-years, Justin Crary and Will Britain. Both first-years are in the 157-pound bracket, finishing first and second, respectively, at last weekend’s meet. These were impressive feats considering that it was a 12-team meet with very strong competition. Currently standing at 3–0 for his season thus far, Crary was named the UAA Athlete of the Week. 

Another strong contender going into this weekend will be Duncan Payne, a third-year in the 197-pound bracket who finished third in last weekend’s meet. He is going to be looked toward for both leadership and performance as he works to continue making a big impact on the team. 

A few more UChicago wrestlers to look out for are first-years Quinton Mincy, Will Hare, and Gage Bayless, all three placing at the invite last weekend. There is a lot of promise with such strength in the future of the team. 

“We used this event to give some of our guys who had not been seeing a lot of action a chance to compete,” head Coach Leo Kocher said. “One of the wrestling program’s goals this season was to make sure any team member that wanted to compete would get multiple chances to do so. We only covered seven of the ten weight classes today and we placed in four of them and just missed in another two. Our wrestlers demonstrated that we have some true depth—particularly at 157 and 197, where two Chicago wrestlers claimed places.”

Fourth-year Cristen Bublitz is also very excited for this weekend, saying, “Our young guys really make our team what it is. They go out and are always able to get things done. North Central has been a tough opponent for us historically, but we should have no issue with them this weekend if our guys do what they do. It will be a good meet, and I look forward to the high levels of competition.” 

Third-year Mason Williams shares a similar sentiment, saying,  “We have about a month left until our regional tournament, so we are looking to start clicking on all cylinders. This weekend is going to be a pretty tough match. North Central has improved a lot this season and a victory over them this weekend would really give us the momentum to finish the season in the right direction training for the UAA Championship and the regional tournament.”

With enthusiasm all around, the Maroons are sure to have a very successful day on Saturday. The meet will take place in Ratner Athletics Center at 1 p.m.