A tremendous effort from the University of Chicago wrestling team guided them past No. 25 Augustana College 21–18 on Friday night at Henry Crown Field House. The upset improved the Maroons’ dual meet record to 5–3, while the Vikings fell to 8–6. The ability to finish off close matches was the key factor in the home team’s victory.
The night started with a forfeit at 125 lb. and an 8–5 decision victory at 133 lb. that put the visiting side up 9–0 at the outset. However, UChicago took the next six matches and wrestled a hold on the competition as a whole. First-year Grant Morrison continued to be in form after a strong performance at the Pete Willson Invitational the previous week, and he scored a 12–6 decision at 141 lb. Fellow first-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer faced a familiar opponent in Augustana’s Matt Sears as they had a rematch from the Pete Willson Invitational. Once again, the 149 lb. Lee-Lermer was able to grind out a narrow 5–4 decision win. Another standout performer from the last weekend, first-year Steve Bonsall at 157 lb., took the pivotal match in the meet, as his convincing 19–1 technical fall victory swung the overall score in the South Siders’ favor, 11–9.
With the lead in hand, the Maroons did not relent and added 10 more team points through the next three middleweight matches at 165, 174, and 184 lb. First-year Kyle Peisker earned a 14–5 major decision. In his last home meet ever, fourth-year Paul Papoutsis got the result he was looking for, with a student crowd amassing to support him in the stands. Papoutsis surely heard the chants as he took down his opponent by an 8–2 decision. Building on Papoutsis’s momentum, second-year Jason Lynch delivered UChicago’s last blow and final points of the game with a 5–4 victory over Christos Giatras, the first place performer in the 184 lb. weight class at the Pete Willson Invitational.
The Vikings were able to keep the match interesting, winning the last two matches by decision and fall, but ultimately could not muster enough points to reclaim the lead and the match. UChicago head coach Leo Kocher was proud of the team’s mentality and perseverance after dropping the first match to forfeit and then facing a lineup that included two champions from the Pete Willson Invitational. He highlighted the battle that the middleweight classes put up as well as the first-year performers.
This coming weekend, the Maroons will head to New York City, where NYU will play host to the UAA Championships.