This past weekend, the UChicago wrestling team competed at the Pete Willson-Wheaton Wrestling Invitational, the largest wrestling meet in the nation for smaller universities. The invitational brought together an enormous group of wrestlers from a wide variety of schools, ensuring that the competition would be fierce. With over 38 teams at the tournament, UChicago managed to place a very respectable 14th over the two-day competition while fighting against some elite competition, all the while scoring 48 team points.
The standout performers for the Maroons were second-years Steve Bonsall and Kahlan Lee-Lermer, who both managed to place in the top eight in their respective weight classes. Both Lee-Lermer and Bonsall managed to better their results from last year’s Pete Willson-Wheaton Invitational, where both placed seventh.
Lee-Lermer had a tough schedule in the 165-pound weight division. He faced off against five opponents on the first day of the invitational, winning four of those matchups. Those four wins included two third-period pins, a crushing 11–0 major decision and a close 3–1 decision victory. His one loss came to the No. 2 seed wrestler from Olivet College, a matchup that would be repeated during the next and final day of competition. The next day, Lee-Lermer managed to win his first two duels, with scores of 7–2 and 13–6, including a revenge victory over the same Olivet wrestler who had handed him his only loss the day before. Unfortunately for Lee-Lermer, the No. 6 wrestler from Wisconsin-La Crosse managed to defeat him in the third-place bout, ending Lee-Lermer’s run with a very respectable fourth-place finish.
Second-year Steve Bonsall made a similar run to Lee-Lermer in the 157-pound weight division. Bonsall entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed in his division, and he certainly lived up to those weighty expectations. Bonsall triumphed in his two opening matches, coming out victorious with a 9–5 victory and an excruciatingly close 2–1 victory. However, Bonsall would fall out of the winner’s bracket in the quarterfinals, which meant he would have to make a run in the consolation ladder to place on the podium. Bonsall managed another victory after that loss, allowing him to continue wrestling the next day.
Although Bonsall was only in the consolation ladder, he still faced a difficult lineup of opponents. On his march toward third place, Bonsall had to fight off the No. 4, No. 7, and No. 2 seeds. Each of those matchups went in Bonsall’s favor, including a 16–1 technical fall victory over the No. 2 seed from the University of Mount Union.
Third-year John Jayne praised Bonsall’s performance, saying, “Once again, some of the lads were in impeccable form. Steve ‘The Wolf’ Bonsall really impressed me, fighting his way to third place.”
Jayne also remarked on how he felt the team was shaping up as the Maroons begin to eye the end of the season. “The team is upping the intensity in the wrestling room as we get closer to the final stretch of the season,” Jayne said.
The next matchup on the Maroons’ docket will take place this Friday at Augustana College.