Coming off last week’s Wheaton Invitational, wrestling will face off against North Central today, as they return to dual match competition.
North Central is a strong team and will be tough competition as Chicago looks to gain momentum heading into next week’s UAA Championships. Last year, North Central defeated the Maroons by a score of 37–3, a definitive victory, which the squad looks to avenge with a win today.
“Last year, we were defeated handily,” head coach Leo Kocher said. “North Central is a tough team—they placed 7th at the 31-team Wheaton Tournament and have been ranked somewhere in the top 30 for much of the year.”
The Cardinals’ seventh-place finish is all the more impressive, given that the field at Wheaton included 10 of the nation’s top 30 teams. The Maroons performed well in the tournament, as well, placing 18th overall and beating out the likes of 14th-ranked Elmhurst.
In the Wheaton Invitational, North Central won the 141-weight class with senior Andrew Zobac, who could prove tough for the Maroons to handle. However, first-year William Long also performed well for the Maroons, placing fifth in the 133-weight bracket.
While Long did not compete head to head with North Central’s Brayan Gonzalez, who is in the same weight class, he did place higher than he in the tournament. Long won five of his seven bouts during the tournament.
Today’s match is not only significant to the Maroons, who look to avenge last year’s loss, but also important in regard to preparation for next week’s UAA Championships. Chicago knows they will need to be both physically and mentally prepared for the contest.
“We are at the point now where we need to make sure each wrestler is mentally ready to compete every time out—everyone brings and maintains focus throughout their match,” Kocher said.