This Friday and Saturday, the University of Chicago wrestling team will continue its march toward victory at the NCAA DIII Upper Midwest Regional. The Maroons will head north to Minneapolis, where they will compete against 16 other teams from around the Midwest region. The top three finishers from each weight class will advance to the 2018 NCAA DIII National Championships for a total of 30 wrestlers representing the Midwest.
Chicago will look to build on their strong finish at the UAA Championships on February 10, where they defeated Case Western and dethroned the reigning champions from NYU, snapping their six-year win streak. The Maroons started out by crushing Case Western, winning 90 percent of all weight classes and coming out on top with a final score of 40–3. The final matchup was much closer, with NYU winning more individual bouts. But Chicago came out on top with bonus points 21–19 to capture their 16th UAA Championship. The Maroons not only brought home the title, but head coach Leo Kocher and the team’s assistant coaches also won Coaching Staff of the Year, first-year Jason Crary won Rookie of the Year, and three wrestlers—fourth-year Devan Richter (125 pounds), second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer (165 pounds), and fourth-year Nick Ferraro (174 pounds)—were placed on the All-UAA Team.
The victory was a culmination of the hard work the team has done over the season, but the training hasn’t stopped there. With the Upper Midwest Regional up ahead, the team has been pushing themselves in preparation for what will be an intense and competitive meet.
“This weekend is regionals. As a team, we have worked hard all year and look forward to this time of the year,” said first-year wrestler Will Britain, who will be competing this weekend. “There are a lot of wrestlers who are capable of placing at regionals and moving on to nationals in two weeks. We have had a great season and are looking to finish strong.”
The No. 22 Maroons have shown that they are quite formidable this season, but four other top-25 teams will be competing in Minneapolis, including the host team, No. 2 Augsburg College. Chicago will have a chance at a second victory over Wheaton, which the Maroons beat 21–18 earlier this season, as well as a chance to avenge a 56–0 loss against UW–Whitewater. The Upper Midwest Regional is one of the most competitive of the six taking place around the country.
The Maroons compete in the Upper Midwest Regional this Friday and Saturday starting at 11 a.m. on Friday at Si Melby Hall at Augsburg University. Fans can also stream the tournament live online.