At a meet that showcased the team’s depth, Chicago’s wrestling team swept three duals at the Concordia Wisconsin Duals on Saturday. The wins bumped the team’s record up to 3–1 on the season, with a lot of wrestling left to go. The team wrestled against three teams in the tournament, first against UW-Eau Claire, winning 28–7. The next match, against UW-Platteville, presented more of a challenge, but the Maroons pulled out a 19–18 win. In the final match, Chicago beat Concordia Wisconsin 34–10.
“Two of the matches went as we had hoped,” said Head Coach Leo Kocher. “Both University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Concordia Wisconsin have a few good athletes, but are trying to rebuild,” said Kocher. The Maroons were able to capitalize on the inexperience between themselves and each of these two opponents to secure two solid wins. The match against UW-Platteville was more of a challenge.
“Our one-point win against Wisconsin-Platteville was a real uphill battle for us,” said Kocher. Initially down 15–3, the team clawed back to 18–15, at which point second-year Jeff Tyburski wrestled to a 9–8 win, which tied the team scores at 18 apiece. Chicago won the dual on tiebreaker criteria because the team had won matches in six of the 10 weight classes.
According to second-year Ryan Hoyt, the early deficit was due to two early bouts. “Our 133 got pinned and I was winning my 149 match and my opponent caught and pinned me, which is why the score was much closer than the match,” said Hoyt.
Overall, despite the hiccup against UW-Platteville, it was an encouraging weekend for the team. “Between the actual duals and the exhibition matches, all the first-years were able to get their first college match in,” said Hoyt.
The added experience for the first-years will help the team’s depth, which the team is trying to emphasize this year. “We demonstrated that we had some depth—that we have a number of athletes who can play a role in our meets. We utilized 16 athletes in the duals and others were ready to step in,” Kocher said. “We also saw that our first-years can make an important contribution to team success.”
Depth and experience are even more important given that the team’s first loss on November 8 was due largely in part to a lack of experience. “The loss in our first dual last Tuesday can be chalked up to a lack of experience in college matches and wrestling opponents that already had three or four matches under their belt to our none this season,” said Kocher. The matches at this weekend’s duals should help to remedy this situation.
That said, it is a process, and the team plans to keep working to fix mistakes and gain experience.
“Now that everyone on the team has gotten a few matches in, we know what we can improve on and the kind of intensity to expect from our opponents,” said Hoyt.
The team continues its season this weekend, at the Concordia Wisconsin Open on the road this Saturday at 9 a.m.