February 26, 2015

Maroons trek to IN to face field of 12 at Midwest Regionals

The Maroons will head to Crawfordsville, IN this weekend to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional for the chance to advance to the NCAA National Championships.

Postseason is the time when Chicago wants to be at the peak of its performance.  After placing second in the UAA, the squad turns to its fundamentals and strong mentality to help them advance to the national championships.

“Going into the NCAAs, we are really just trying to focus on applying the fundamentals we have worked on all season as well as staying positive mentally,” said fourth-year Mario Palmisano.

The Maroons have 11 other strong teams in the Midwest region with them to make for a field of 12, five of whom are nationally ranked. These teams include No. 2 UW-Whitewater, No. 3 Wabash, No. 4 UW-La Crosse, No. 12 Alma, No. 26 Olivet, Elmhurst, Manchester, North Central, Trine, and Wheaton.

“Wrestlers compete individually at the regional tournament against the other wrestlers in their weight class from the aforementioned teams,” Palmisano said.

From there, the top three individuals in each weight class will move on to the national championships.

The Maroons are excited to attempt to qualify for NCAAs, the tournament they have been training for all season. The season has been long and demanding, but Chicago is confident in its level of performance and believes it possesses the mental strength to push through this last part of its season.

Now that the team has passed UAAs, the focus shifts from team to individual performance. Some standouts at UAAs that will definitely be people to watch at regionals are first-year Devan Richter, first-year Nick Ferraro, and Palmisano, all of whom made the All-Association team.

“To be successful this weekend, we need to wrestle at our best. We need to compete at the pinnacle of our performance. At the end of the season is where it all comes together. Most importantly, we need to stay tough mentally. This tournament is a grueling one but it is the one we have been waiting for all season,” Palmisano said.

Chicago knows it has to give this weekend’s tournament its all to make it to Hershey, PA for the NCAA National Championship.  The Maroons hope to let their performance this weekend reflect all of their hard work this season.

“At this point, there isn’t much to do besides go in there and wrestle our hearts out,” Palmisano said.

The first match of the weekend starts Saturday at 9 a.m. at Wabash College and will be streamed online.