This Friday, February 2, the University of Chicago wrestling team takes on Augustana College in Rock Island in the final bout before the UAA Championship. The match between the Maroons and the Vikings will allow Chicago to get one final chance to practice the techniques and moves that they have been working on all season and iron out kinks before the all-important championship meet.
This past weekend, the Maroons competed at the Pete Willson–Wheaton Invitational, the largest small-college tournament, facing fierce competition from 38 teams, 10 of which were ranked in the top 25. Over the course of the two-day meet, Chicago produced a strong showing, placing an impressive 14th place. The Maroons scored a total of 48 points, finishing higher than top-ranked teams, such as No. 14 North Central, which ended up 21st. This respectable finish proves that the UChicago team can compete with the best of DIII and is on track to close out the season on a high note. Looking at the progress the team has made so far, third-year Louis DeMarco said, “I think the team has come very far this season and is definitely beginning to peak. The freshmen have definitely been competing well and have raised the intensity in the room. Everyone is fighting, and those that don’t start every week don’t views themselves as a ‘second banana’ and are pushing the starters to their full potential.”
At the competition, the University of Chicago team had two wrestlers take home top-eight finishes in their respective weight classes. In the 157-pound weight class, second-year Steve Bonsall, the top seed, started out strong winning his first two matches: 9–2 against the No. 4 seed wrestler from Ohio Northern University, and 7–2 against the No. 7 seed from the UW–La Crosse. Bonsall ended with an impressive 16–1 technical fall victory against the No. 2 wrestler from Mount Union to take home third place.
Second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer also finished strong at the Invitational. Lee-Lermer started off in the 165-pound weight class with two wins of 7–2 and 13–6, one of which was against the No. 2 seed out of Olivet College. Landing on the podium for the second year in a row, Lee-Lermer fought a close battle against the No. 6 seed of UW–La Crosse but ultimately was defeated 6–3 to take fourth place.
Augustana College also competed at the Pete Willson–Wheaton Invitational, where the Vikings earned 17th place with their 35.5 total points. The Vikings had two wrestlers finish in the top eight, with one earning fifth place in the 135-pound weight class and a second wrestler earning eighth place in the 174-pound weight class. Augustana’s finish is comparable to Chicago’s, and the upcoming match will be an intense and important test for the Maroons. Regarding the upcoming dual meet, DeMarco said, “The Augustana meet should be tough, as they are a good team. It’s really our last meet before the postseason so it’ll be a nice test.”
The wrestling team will take on Augustana this Friday at 7:30 p.m. in Rock Island, IL.