The Maroons will travel to Elmhurst this Friday to take on the Elmhurst College Bluejays, and this is not a new feeling for the squad. This is the second time in as many weeks that the Maroons will be in the Illinois city, as they competed in the Elmhurst Invitational last Saturday and notched a sixth-place finish out of 11 teams. Four of the South Siders placed in the top six of their respective weight classes in the invitational, and the Maroons will look to compound on this success in their upcoming match against the Bluejays.
The squad has a lot of respect for the Bluejay wrestling program, and, based on the Bluejays’ 4– 2 overall record, it is certainly warranted. The Bluejays are fresh off a strong second-place finish at the Elmhurst Invitational and are coming off two straight team wins against Loras and Concordia (WI). Chicago and Elmhurst haven’t faced any of the same teams this year, so this will certainly present a welcome change of pace for the Maroons.
The Bluejays are led by second-year 125 lbs. Anthony Munoz, who scored a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Regional last year as a first-year. At 141 lbs., the Bluejays have Jimmy Nehls, who transferred to Elmhurst from UW–Whitewater after an All-American season where he had a fifth-place finish in the NCAA tournament. However, the fourth-year was unable to defeat his former team, as the squad fell to Whitewater earlier this year. The losses notwithstanding, the Bluejays have had plenty of veteran leadership on their team, which has resulted in a season of success so far for Elmhurst.
Third-year Paul Papoutsis believes that even though Elmhurst is a strong opponent, if the Maroons step up their game, they have a solid shot to win.
“It will definitely be a tight match. We have some guys out, so the starters are going to need to come up big to pull out the win. All of our guys are going to need to wrestle at the top of their game to not only win, but get a few extra points with majors and pins to come out on top as a team. I have confidence that we can pull it out.”
First-year Cristen Bublitz had a similar sentiment with regard to the Elmhurst challenge, and believes that with an emphasis on technique the South Siders should be able to pull out a victory.
“Elmhurst is a very solid team. The key to coming out on top is that we need to be more technical in how we approach the meet. Our overall chance is very high,” he said.
The Maroons will be busing down to Elmhurst this Friday, January 22, to take on the Bluejays at 7 p.m., hoping to go back to their winning ways of earlier in the month.