Wrestlers Take Bronze at Elmhurst

Over the weekend, the wrestling team entered the Al Hanke Invitational and delivered an impressive performance, claiming third place with three weight-class titles and two runner-up finishes.

By Alison Gill

The University of Chicago wrestling team took third place over the weekend at the Al Hanke Invitational at Elmhurst College.  

Propelled by three weight-class titles and two runner-up finishes, the Maroons totaled 94 points, falling behind champion St. John’s (124 points) and host Elmhurst (121 points) in the 12-team tournament.  

“We had some of our pretty talented guys stay home today—we covered just seven weight classes, so putting five Maroons in the finals and finishing third was pretty good work,” head coach Leo Kocher said on Saturday.  

At 149 pounds, top-seeded first-year Maguire Pecci began the meet on a high note, picking up a pin in the quarterfinals and then a decision win in the semifinals. In the finals, he faced Ulises Jacobo of Harper College. Pecci continued his impressive debut season, pinning Jacobo in 3 minutes and 31 seconds to capture the tournament title and improve his individual record to 17–6.  

Third-year Kyle Peisker, who leads the team with 22 individual wins this season, joined Pecci atop the podium. In the opening round at 174, it took Peskier all of 56 seconds to record a pin to advance. Next, he won by technical fall and two decisions to earn his spot in the title match. Squaring off against Drew Matticks of Milwaukee School of Engineering, Peskier took the crown with a 13–5 major decision over the two-seed.  


Fourth-year heavyweight Patrick Mulkerin rounded out the trio of Maroon winners. Beginning the tournament as a three seed, Mulkerin strung together four decision wins in the 285 division. He defeated North Central’s Isiah Ziegler by a score of 4–2 in the championship match to pick up his 17th win of the season.  


Additionally, third-year Steve Bonsall, a past All-American, reached the finals in the 157-pound class before falling to second-seeded Keone Derain (Elmhurst) by a 7–3 decision. Fourth year John Jayne also finished as runner-up in the 184 division, losing to top seed Mark Miller (Elmhurst) in the finals, 6–4.  Bonsall moved to 17–3 on the year, while Jayne is now 3–2. 


“Our team crushed it on Saturday, and I am by no means surprised. The team has worked hard to build on our strengths and improve on our weaknesses. I relish the idea of meeting Elmhurst this weekend. We know what we need to improve on, and with our full varsity squad—we forfeited three weight classes Saturday—we wolves will be sure to dominate this [upcoming] Saturday [against Elmhurst],” said Bonsall.  

So far, the South Siders have followed up a historic 2017–18 season with another strong outing. After winning the UAA last year for the first time since 2011, the team this season has posted a 6–3 record in dual meets. Bolstered by standout performers, the team currently holds the No. 20 spot in the NWCA national rankings.  

Bonsall and Peisker are both considered among the top wrestlers in the nation, according to d3wrestle.com. Bonsall currently sits at No. 4 nationally at 157 pounds, while Peisker ranks as No. 8 in the 174-pound class. First-year Cole Reimer (149) and third-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer (165) are also considered national championship contenders in their respective divisions.  

The Maroons will face a familiar foe this weekend, hosting the Elmhurst Bluejays in a dual meet at Ratner Athletic Center at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 19.