Following their success at the Concordia University Open, UChicago’s wrestling team looks to this weekend’s Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Invitational with high hopes. The team placed sixth at the Concordia University Open and six members had podium placements. Veterans and first-years will be competing this weekend. Last year the team placed fifth overall at the MSOE Invitational, and they plan to return with more energy than ever. The players have their eyes set on more podium finishes and securing more rankings.
The wrestling team has started off the season with strong momentum. While a lot of leadership from last year’s season graduated, the current fourth- and third-years on the team have stepped up to lead and set an example for the underclassmen. Fourth-year Nick Ferraro and third-year Kyle Peisker set the highest win records on the team at the Concordia University Open. Second-year Ryan Boncamper said, “We started off pretty strong with a lot of tough guys in the room. I’m happy with the way my friends are competing and love seeing my teammates doing well. I’m proud of the work we’re keeping in. It’s all coming in right now and we’re excited to see how it’s going to continue.”
The example set by the upperclassmen has not gone unnoticed by new members of the team. The first-years actively perform with talent and depth while giving to the program. First-years have secured some of the rankings and podium finishes on the team. First-year Ben Sarasin said, “We’ve been a fierce pack thus far, placing highly at our first two tournaments. Also, there are some hungry competitors returning to our lineup this weekend, so our performance will only improve. My expectation is that we will claw our way to an MSOE team title on Saturday.”
The past few practices have prepared the team for their upcoming meet. Wrestlers are working on new techniques and front headlocks, trying to improve as a team before their upcoming meet. They have started practices with egoscue, a form of stretching and meditation, and found that it is helping team members avoid injury. Head coach Kocher is focused on getting all members tournament experience early on in their season. Wrestlers are performing intensely during this week’s practices.
Sarasin said, “I am focused on putting in maximum effort in practice and adjusting my technique to better match the style of college wrestling. My overall goal is to see palpable improvement in my wrestling. Wins on the mat will follow that.”
The atmosphere is filled with energy as team members are excited after rankings. Numerous wrestlers have already placed in tournaments, with their eyes on NCAA tournaments. Boncamper said, “We go in with a predator mentality like wolves. We want to dominate.”
UChicago’s wrestling team will compete on Saturday, December 1 at the MSOE Invitational tournament.