The Maroon wrestling team was back in action on Saturday when they participated in Elmhurst’s College 36th Al Hanke Invitational. The Maroons managed to place a respectable seventh out of 12 teams at the meet, with six of the team’s wrestlers managing to place. The hosts, Elmhurst, took first place in the team rankings.
A particularly bright spot for the Maroons in terms of individual performance was the team’s 157-pound weight class. First-years Will Britain and Jason Crary managed to place second and first, respectively. Crary was crowned the champion of his weight class after defeating Britain by a 6–1 decision. Third-year John Jayne was particularly impressed by the overall team spirit exhibited by the team, and the fight shown by Britain and Crary: “The lads showed great spirit, especially our freshmen duo, who ran a train through the 157-pound weight class,” Jayne said. Although Britain will surely be disappointed by barely missing out on a first-place finish, he did manage an incredible overtime upset against the two seed in the weight class, on his way to the finals.
Other notable placings included third-year Duncan Payne, who took third in 197 pounds with a 4–1 record that included two victories by major decision and a single pin. First-year and fellow teammate Quinton Mincy managed to place sixth in the same weight bracket. Another first-year, Will Hare, took fifth in the heavyweight class, ending with a 4–2 record. Finally, first-year Gage Bayless grabbed sixth with a 2–3 record in a competitive 141 pound bracket. Bayless’s two victories included two first-period pins.
Head Coach Leo Kocher, in a statement to the Athletics Department recap of the event, emphasized that the coaching staff wanted to primarily use the competition to ensure that those who had not been able to participate as much were given the opportunity to do so. Kocher indicated that the results of the event really showcased the depth of the team, given that a weakened lineup still managed to place admirably. The team’s emphasis on youth is a valuable philosophy—it ensures that the team stays competitive for the years to come by giving the younger wrestlers competitive experience that cannot be overstated. Kocher noted that the team did not field wrestlers in every weight class, suggesting that the team’s performance was only a glimpse of their true potential.
The Maroons return to their home mats this weekend, when they face off against the second-place finishers at the Elmhurst Invitational, North Central College, at 1 p.m. The Maroons hope that they can build off their experiences at Elmhurst and other previous meets in order to gain another victory.