The Maroons traveled to Elmhurst, IL this weekend for the Al Hanke Invitational. The Maroons competed well but only brought wrestlers in seven out of the 10 weight classes. However, four made the semifinals of a very competitive invitational. According to Intermatwrestle.com, Elmhurst College’s team ranks eighth in the latest DIII wrestling poll.
The 11-team meet was won by the UW–Stevens Point, with the Maroons finishing a respectable sixth, considering they brought so few team members.
The first-years stood out during this meet: Mason Williams, Jason Lynch, Louis DeMarco, and Luke Iida all had multiple victories in such a tough meet. Lynch and DeMarco both placed fifth in their respective weight classes. Williams opened his tournament at 149 pounds with two first-period pins. He followed this up with two tough losses to finish fourth. Iida also showed impressive form by dominating two matches with major decisions of 17–9 and 15–7, respectively.
Second-year wrestler Cristen Bublitz said of the first-years’ performance, “The
first-years have played a huge role on the team this year. We have a great class of younger wrestlers that are willing to step into starting sports and preform. They are very dedicated to wrestling and it shows in their performances.”
The leaders on the squad also stepped up, as second-year Nick Ferraro battled at 165 pounds and fourth-year Paul Papoutsis at 174 pounds. Ferraro won his first two matches, advancing to the semifinals. However, the competition proved tough, and he placed sixth in one of the most competitive weight classes. Papoutsis also faced top-notch competition. He eventually fell in a close semifinal match at 6–4. Papoutsis dominated the consolation bracket by taking out his first opponent with a score of 14–0 and his second with a first-period pin. With the pin, Papoutsis snagged third place.
Papoutsis is looking forward to the rest of the year and the continued improvement of the team. “We’re going to keep training hard and continue to improve as a team,” Papoutsis said. “Regionals are not that far away so we’re going to have to really ramp it up.”
Chicago’s next meet is on Friday, January 22 at Elmhurst College.