Chicago was one of ten teams competing at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois for Saturday’s dual meet. The wrestling team competed against four other schools—Loras College, Knox College, Central College, and Wabash College—and finished the day even, with two wins and two losses. The Maroons started off the meet slow, losing to Loras 15–18, but eventually bounced back, defeating Knox 37–15 and Central 17–15. In their fourth match of the dual, however, the Maroons fell to Wabash 14–22, ranked 30th.
Leo Kocher, head coach of the Maroons, appreciated the level of competition in Galesburg. “While we dominated one of the duals [against Knox] we had a good challenge in the other three. There are ten weight classes contested in a dual meet and two of those, Loras and Central, we split 5–5 in the matches,” Kocher said. “We split 4–6 in our matches against Wabash, but two of our losses went into overtime. So we had some good competitive tests.” Even though the team lost to nationally-ranked Wabash, Josh Hotta was excited about the performance. “My proudest moment would have to be having the close dual with Wabash,” Hotta said. “It showed that we can be competitive on a national level.” One notable outing came from third-year James Layton. He went 3–1 on the day and was named the UAA Athlete of the Week. The team hopes to build off the Knox performance, which puts them at 5–4 on the season. “Now we have to use our success at the Knox duals to focus in on the national qualifiers,” second-year Ryan Klein said.
“From where we started at the beginning of the season, this group is about halfway to where we ultimately want to be,” Kocher said. “It is just a matter of higher mental concentration, higher intensity, and a belief that hard, disciplined, work will pay off.” Chicago will hit the road for the Elmhurst Invitational on January 14 at 9 a.m.