This Friday and Saturday, the University of Chicago wrestling team has a chance to rebound from last week’s loss against No. 14 North Central. The 7–3 Maroons head to the Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational, a two-day event with 38 competing teams, of which 10 are ranked in the top 25. At one of the largest small-college tournaments, Chicago will go toe-to-toe with top competition.
Regarding last week’s loss against North Central, second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer offered insight into the team’s preparation and mindset heading into the Wheaton Invitational. “We lost a lot of close matches against North Central, so we’ve been working on certain positions that we weren’t able to capitalize on during the dual on Saturday,” said Lee-Lermer. The Maroons will look to close out key matches this Friday and Saturday and bounce back.
Facing many of the same teams that competed at the Al Hanke-Elmhurst Invitational earlier this month, the Maroons will get a chance at redemption and an opportunity to improve on their seventh place finish out of 12 teams. Chicago will look to get big wins against some of the top DIII teams in the country, including No. 8 Wisconsin-Whitewater and No. 10 Mount Union. The Maroons lost to Wisconsin–Whitewater at the beginning of January at the DIII National Duals, but will look to unseat the highest seed competing at the Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational.
Also participating in the Wheaton Invitational are many of the other schools that the Chicago wrestling team faced at the MSOE Invitational early on in the season, where the Maroons finished fifth of 12 teams. Since then, the team has continued to train and get better, and will have the chance to get revenge against the four teams who finished better. This weekend’s competition will give Chicago the opportunity to prove itself against some of the best teams across the country.
The No. 23 ranked Maroons will look to best their 12th place, 57.0 point finish last year at the Pete Willson Wheaton Invitational. Looking forward to the upcoming contest, second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer stressed the importance of the tournament as a benchmark going into the last few meets. “I think we have done a good job integrating the freshmen into the team. We have a strong group of guys that can compete on the national level. The Wheaton Invitational is one of the toughest division three tournaments in the country. This weekend should provide a good indicator of how we compare to the some of the best competitors in division three,” Lee-Lermer said.
The Maroons will see the last of their conference competition this weekend, as the next meet is a non-conference battle against Augustana at Augustana on February 2. The team will then take on NYU and Case Western at home in the UAA championship on February 10.