In their holiday trip to Sin City, the Maroons could have used a little more luck.
Competing December 21 at the Deserts Duals inside the Flamingo hotel in Las Vegas, Chicago put on a showcase against Pacific University but dropped lopsided bouts to top-tier opponents in their three other matches.
Helped by three forfeit wins, the Maroons lost only one individual matchup, a 13–4 decision at the 165-pound weight class, in a 48–4 romp over the Pacific. Four separate Maroon wrestlers ended their matches early with wins by fall, including an impressive showing by second-year Matt Hart, who needed only 10 seconds to take care of his opponent.
When it came time to match up against ranked foes, though, the Maroons lost their luster. Losing 32–8 to 14th-ranked SUNY–Cortland, Chicago had only two wins. Third-year Troy Carlson and fourth-year Justin Lucas won in the 174- and 197-pound weight classes, respectively. The Maroons did manage to take most matches to decision, however, losing only two by fall.
Squaring off against top-ranked Wartburg, the tourney organizer, Chicago managed three wins in a 37–15 loss, this time at 133, 149, and 285 pounds. The match saw more than a few changes to the Maroons’ usual lineup, with second-year Kyle Kocher replacing Hart at 141 pounds and his classmate Wes Rosamilia seeing his first action of the season as he came in for Carlson at 174 pounds.
While athletes like Nero and Carlson have been reliable winners for Chicago in their weight classes, certain roster spots are still giving the Maroons trouble. Despite wrestling three different Maroons in the slot, the team couldn’t find a win in the 165-pound class in any of their matches. The 125- and 184-pound classes also gave Chicago trouble in the desert, with only one win apiece throughout the four competitions.
In their last match, this time against 18th-ranked Williams, Chicago again couldn’t pull off an upset. Generally overpowered by a Williams team that won five matches by fall, the Maroons suffered a 33–14 loss but got victories from second-year Ben Hart at 133 pounds as well as Carlson and Nero. Carlson went 3–0 on the trip, while Nero tallied three wins and a loss.
In demolishing an unranked opponent and stumbling against stiffer challenges, the Maroons continued a familiar trend. With their three losses in Vegas, Chicago fell to 0–7 in dual meets against ranked squads this season, but the Pacific win improved the South Siders to 2–0 against unranked teams.
The team has been idle since coming back from Las Vegas, but it will return to action this Saturday with a match against Loras at Henry Crown. The Maroons have been strong at home in recent years, having won seven straight at Chicago before falling to North Central in their last match on campus.