November 25, 2013

First-years impress at Concordia University Open

The first-year Maroons set out to gain experience this weekend, but came home having accomplished much more.

Chicago (0–4) attended the 21st Concordia Open tournament this past Saturday, where it placed three of its 15 wrestlers. Two of those placed finishes were by first-years.

At 141 pounds, first-year Charlie Banaszak took third in his weight class, ending the day as the Maroons’ top finisher.

“Going into the tournament, I didn’t feel worried about the competition level. At the collegiate level, everyone you wrestle is going to be tough, so I never really stress about who I’m wrestling. I always try and focus on myself, because the only thing I can control is how well I wrestle,” Banaszak said.

The first-year picked up seven wins en route to a third-place finish, losing only one match the entire day.

“Six of my seven wins were really close matches,” Banaszak said. “My parents came from Washington, D.C. to see me wrestle this weekend, so being lucky enough to have done well is really special.”

First-year Henry Powell also did well in his first tournament, taking sixth place at 149 pounds with a 3–3 record.

“The five freshmen [who wrestled in the tournament] picked up great experience. They all seem to improve every time out.  Henry Powell has been wrestling some tough people and was still looking for his first win this season. He got it and then kept winning and ended up in the semifinals. It was a great effort, as was Banaszak’s.  Charlie knocked off some pretty good people on his way to his third place finish,” head coach Leo Kocher (M.B.A. '87) said.

Second-year Steven Franke, in the 174 pounds category, took sixth as well on a 4–3 record.

“Steve Franke wrestled for us quite a bit as a freshman last year but is clearly ahead of where he left off last season,” Kocher said.

Despite their success at this tournament, the Maroons know their job isn’t done, since they are only a third of the way through their season.

“I was looking for two or three more placers, but I still saw good things from our wrestlers and am anxious to do the work with our guys that will put them at the level here we know they belong,” Kocher said.