In search of its 16th conference title, the University of Chicago participated in the 2017 UAA Wrestling Championship and came home with the silver medal as a team. The Maroons defeated Case Western in their first match but lost to hosts, and eventual champions, NYU. With the results, the team moved to 6–4 on the season in dual meets. The Spartans dropped to 2–7, and the Violets improved to 17–4. By posting two wins out of two matches, NYU claimed its sixth-consecutive UAA team championship.
In the first match-up of the day, Chicago and Case Western dueled it out to the expected outcome. The Spartans possessed an initial 12–3 advantage with three wins out of the first four matches, but first-year Grant Morrison threw a wrench in their momentum with a 5–3 decision win at 141 lbs. From 157 lb. onward, the South Siders dominated to sweep the final six matches and claim a 29–12 team victory. First-year Steve Bonsall started the comeback with a 6–4 decisionat 157 lb. Third-year Nicholas DiNapoli (165 lb.) and second-year Jason Lynch (184 lb.) triumphed by major decision, while fourth-year Paul Papoutsis (174 lb.) and second-year John Jayne (197 lb.) recorded pins. Second-year Duncan Payneput the cherry on top with a 2–1 decision at heavyweight.
With the win, the Maroons moved onto face the No. 18 nationally ranked Violets. The lopsided 35–3 score line was unrepresentative of the tightness of the matches,with only one of NYU’s victories coming from a result other than a decision. Morrison provided the South Siders with their only win in another close match, scoring an 8–7 decision.
Following the meet, Morrison and Payne were announced to the UAA All-Association team with Morrison earning honors in the 141 lb. and Payne in the heavyweight class. Morrison was also awarded UAA Rookie of the Year for his outstanding performances throughout the season.
Team captain Papoutsis commented, “Morrison wrestled exceptionally well, taking home ROY [Rookie of the Year] from the meet. Additionally, Duncan Payne came up with a big win with his bump up to heavy weight to take home a UAA title.” Asked about the team’s performance, he said, “We wrestled tough, but NYU showed us some areas where we need to improve.
The team will work in the coming weeks to prepare for regionals, and we will definitely send a couple of guys to the [NCAA] tournament in a month.” The UChicago wrestling team will next feature at the NCAA Midwest Regional Tournament, held in Fort Wayne, IN, from February 24–25.