With the business end of the season coming up, the University of Chicago wrestling team is heading into what will be a very competitive and exciting meet. The Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational will host 35 teams in a two-day event. Most of the teams will be DIII teams, with Case Western, a conference rival, in the mix. This will be the first and last time that the Maroons will see any conference team before the UAA meet on February 12 in New York City.
Many of the top DIII teams will be competing, likely making this the most competitive DIII meet outside of the NCAA Tournament. This high level of competition will allow Chicago to show what they have been working toward all season.
The South Siders will meet many of the same teams that competed at the December 3 MSOE Invitational, where they finished fourth out of 12 teams, falling short to Central College, Wheaton College, and University of Wisconsin–Platteville. With both Wheaton and UW–Platteville at the meet this coming weekend, the Maroons have an opportunity to make up for a close loss.
The Maroons are looking to gain revenge on Wheaton College, to whom they lost this past weekend 25–21. They were in the lead in this dual meet-up until the final match. Chicago and Wheaton College remain very competitive against each other as they are very evenly matched. The excitement grows as both Elmhurst and UW–Stevens Point will also be at the meet this weekend, the two teams that Chicago fell short to at the Al Hanke Invitational just last week.
This weekend will be an opportunity to show what the team is truly capable of. When asked about the expectations and team preparation for the meet, third-year Cristen Bublitz was very positive and determined, saying, “Our team is looking ready to hit the grindstone and do whatever it takes to be a real contender. Our freshmen are improving and continue to compete at a high level every weekend. We have some guys back from being injured that are ready to start showing their worth, too. Overall, I think we are a very well-prepared team that has the ability to surprise some people. The tournament this weekend at Wheaton will be a great test of our talent because it is probably one of the toughest regular season tournaments in all of DIII wrestling. We are prepared and ready to go!”
In a time when it counts the most, the team will be able to put their hard work and dedication into action against a very tough field, previewing the level of competition they will display in the UAA and potentially NCAA tournaments.