[img id="78662" align="alignleft"]
The University wrestling squad fell to 27th-ranked North Central this past Tuesday, by the decisive score of 37-3. The loss drops the Maroons to 1-6 on the season.
The Maroons had to wait until the heavyweight bout for their lone victory, a 9-2 decision from fourth-year Ryan Hatten. “Heavyweights frequently have close matches, but Ryan had more speed, strength, and technique against North Central,” head coach Leo Kocher said. Hatten had the initiative throughout his match, yielding only 2 points—both on escapes.
While Hatten has provided consistency in the heavyweight division, Kocher has talked about how the rest of the team needs time to “gel.” Specifically, he has talked about altering the Maroons’ lineup so that wrestlers are “competing in their optimal weight classes.” Second-year Francisco Acosta moved into the 133-pound division against North Central, but he was pinned in the third round by North Central’s Nathan Fitzenreider, the third-ranked wrestler in the division. Kocher was optimistic about the move but said, “he will take some time adjusting to the weight class—opening against [Fitzenreider] would be a tough inaugural match for anyone.”
Along with the addition of Acosta at 133, Kocher expects fourth-year Takumi Mihami to improve the lineup in the 174-pound weight class. Mihami, who was out against North Central due to an injury, began the season in the 184-pound division. First-year Sam Pennisi filled his vacated spot at 184.
Overall, Kocher expects more favorable results in the weeks to come. “Our schedule this year was front-loaded with nationally ranked teams…in the next 3 weeks we should be more competitive in our dual meets and the run-up to the UAA Championships.”
The Maroons head to Knox College this Saturday for the Knox Duals tournament. A few wins at Knox would give the Maroons something positive to build on as they head into the second half of their season and approach the February 5 UAA Championship in New York. “The program has always shot for peaking as a dual meet team for the UAA Championships,” Kocher said. “I think every wrestler can take it up to another level.”