February 3, 2009

Wrestling travels to Wheaton to prepare for UAAs

Wrestling's final result this weekend was beside the point. For the Maroons, the focus was on getting a little more practice and preparation before the season's biggest meet.

With the UAA Championship just a week away, Chicago opted to give some its top wrestlers a weekend off to rest and get healthy, and the team fielded only five athletes in the Pete Wilson Invitational at Wheaton. Those five had solid outings, but with their limited complement of competitors, the Maroons wound up finishing 30th out of the 31 squads competing.

“We were prioritizing being healthy and prepared for the UAAs,” head coach Leo Kocher said, “and we limited the participants to the five people who we thought needed the matches and who were not recovering from injury or illness.”

In the 125-pound bracket, first-year Jimmy Schoettle was ranked sixth going into the tournament and made it to the quarterfinals before losing to the third-seed, North Central's Joe Norton. In the consolation bracket, Schoettle lost to Elie Naoum of John Caroll, who went on to finish fourth.

Competing at 141 pounds, first-year Ben Jarso won one match in the championship bracket before losing to the four seed. Jarso picked up a win by a fall in the consolation half but then got knocked out of competition by Wabash's Andrew Kepchar.

First-year Matt Hart, who wrestled at 149 pounds, got a win over Virgil Pope of the Milwaukee School of Engineering but got eliminated by losing his next two matches.

At 157 pounds, fourth-year Spencer Burns got pinned in his first match by Elmhurst's Sheldon Hubbard. He recovered to win two decisions in the consolation round, but his run was cut shot by a pin by Lakeland's Jonas Flok, the seventh seed.

For his opening match in the 165-pound bracket, first-year Chris Canty was paired with the top seed, Corey VanGroll of UW–Parkside. Canty kept it competitive, only losing by a 4–1 decision, which was the closest anyone would come to VanGroll until the championship bout. Canty scored decisions over Manchester's Chris Becker and David Bernholt of Case before being eliminated.

Overall, Chicago's wrestlers earned 11 points, putting them ahead of only Maranatha, which had just 1.5 points. Parkside finished first with 145 points, followed by UW–LaCrosse with 133 and North Central with 125.5.

The Maroons will travel to Case this Saturday to compete in the UAA Championship.