Wrestlers Make History

Third-year wrestler Kyle Peisker placed fifth and first-year wrestler Ben Sarasin placed seventh at the NCAA DIII Championships to nab two All-American honors.

By Diestefano Loma

This past weekend, with the conclusion to the Division III Wrestling Championships, third-year Kyle Peisker and first-year Ben Sarasin brought back All-American finishes to the University of Chicago wrestling program. Sarasin arrived here by winning the 174-pound bracket. Peisker earned a bid to the National Championships by placing third in the 184-pound bracket.   

On the first day of the competition, the two Maroon competitors each engaged in three grueling battles. Sarasin started off strong, receiving a 7–4 decision victory over his opponent. Despite falling in his second match by a 9–5 finish, Sarasin bounced back with a dominant 10–5 victory, which sent him to the quarterfinals the following day.  

Peisker’s journey for glory didn’t come without a roadblock, in the form of a loss, where he was pinned in 1:27. This loss didn’t deter Peisker, who ended the day winning his next two matches by a 9–1 major decision and a 7–5 decision. This guaranteed both competitors top-eight finishes for the whole tournament. This was an especially astonishing feat for Sarasin, who is now the third first-year to make the All-American podium. 

As the second day of the National Championships rolled along, the duo came in motivated to leave their mark. In the 184-pound weight class, Peisker defeated Josh Edel of Coe College with a 9–3 decision. Ultimately, he was pinned by his next opponent, representing Johnson & Wales University. To close off his run, Peisker took home a fifth-place award for his weight class, after a medical forfeit from his opponent. He ended this year with a 36–7 record.  

Sarasin, who wrestled in the 174-pound class, competed against Tanner Vassar of Augsburg University. The hard-fought match ended in Vasser prevailing with an 8–6 decision. He was able to overcome his next opponent in order to capture seventh place in the tournament. Sarasin concludes his season with an impressive 32–8 record. With a talented squad that is only getting better, the wrestling team conclude their season preparing for the next one. Despite not having progressed further in the tournament, Sarasin and Peisker proudly represented UChicago and are even more motivated to outdo themselves.  

When asked about both Maroons’ performances, head coach Leo Kocher said, “Ben and Kyle rose to the occasion for this national competition. Ben battled hard in his losses and wins—being able to bounce back from a loss is crucial to reaching the podium. Kyle was not seeded to place in the top eight, but his fifth-place finish surpassed both wrestlers that placed ahead of him in our regional two weeks ago. That is a timely turnaround.”