After having traveled across town last weekend to compete in the Al Hanke Invitational at Elmhurst College, the Maroons now have the opportunity to take the Eagles on in a more familiar setting: their beloved Ratner Center.
The 5–3 Maroons are coming off a series of strong individual showings last weekend. Chicago finished with 83.5 points, earning them fifth place in a field of 11. Olivet Nazarene University came away with first place with 141 points. Coming off a series of victories, the fifth-place finish was uncharacteristic. However, the South Siders still came away with a pair of weight class titles at 165 and 174 pounds.
“Despite the length of the tournament, I think most of our guys were able to stay really focused on their matches. That was a key component to our success,” said second-year wrestler Paul Papoutsis.
Papoutsis dominated his first two matches and then proceeded to earn victories in both the semifinal and championship matches to win the 165-pound weight class title.
On his performance, Papoutsis said, “I was really pleased with my performance last weekend. I haven’t won a tournament in a while, so it felt great to pick up a gold medal.”
First-year Nick Ferraro also captured first place with four decisive wins. Entering the tournament as the No. 4 seed, Ferraro upset both the No. 2 and No. 1 seeds to capture the championship title. This performance, combined with an eight-match winning streak, resulted in Ferraro being named the UAA Wrestler of the Week.
Two fourth-years managed to pick up bronze medals as well. Fourth-year Mario Palmisano saw his 11-match winning streak come to an end at the hands of eventual tournament champion Mack Green, of Trine. Green is seeded No. 2 in the nation in his weight class. Palmisano bounced back in the consolation match, though, to earn a third-place finish. Fourth-year Adam Wyeth picked up a third place finish in the 133-pound weight class after bouncing back from a loss in the semifinals to earn a pin the second period of the consolation match.
The Maroons hope to continue this momentum heading into this weekend’s meet. While Elmhurst placed third last weekend, the Maroons remain confident in their ability to dominate this time around. The Eagles are sliding in right behind the Maroons with a record of 4–3 and should prove to be an equal match for the Maroons, but with the location now in their favor and key talents making their way back into the lineup, spirits are high in Hyde Park.
“I think we’re going to be really competitive against Elmhurst and it should be a great meet.” Papoutsis said.
The meet begins at noon on Saturday at the Ratner Athletic Center.