For six long years, NYU has dominated the UAA wrestling circuit, winning six straight titles. Last Saturday, NYU attempted to make it seven, only needing to defeat Case Western Reserve University and UChicago. For the Maroons, not only was this a chance to end NYU’s streak, but more importantly it was an opportunity to capture some hardware of their own. The wrestling season had been coming down to that moment—the only question that remained was whether or not the Maroons could seize that moment.
Before facing NYU, the Maroons had to brush off Case Western. There was no slow start for the Maroons, as they came out firing on all cylinders, with fourth-year Devan Richter pacing the Maroons by executing a first-period pin. There would be no letup for the hapless Case Western team, as UChicago won 90 percent of all weight classes, demolishing Case Western by a score of 40–3.
Following that victory, the Maroons’ true test presented itself in the form of NYU. The matchup was extraordinarily close from the start—Richter won a close bout 7–5, followed by an NYU victory at 133 pounds, and then a forfeit by NYU at the next weight class. After a major and regular decision, NYU took their first lead, narrowly overtaking the Maroons with a 10–9 score line.
The next two bouts were dominating performances by the Maroons to firmly put them ahead. Second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer and fourth-year Nick Ferraro both pinned their opponents, putting the Maroons in the driver’s seat for the rest of the match.
NYU desperately needed the next three bouts to claim another consecutive title—but some incredible defensive wrestling ensured that, although NYU was able to take the final three weight classes, they would fail to win decisively enough to overcome the deficit. Even with a valiant effort, the Maroons stood too strong for NYU, meaning that UChicago took home the UAA Championship with a 21–19 victory, their 16th UAA Wrestling Championship.
Bonus points were critical in determining the UAA champion. NYU actually managed to win the majority of the weight classes against UChicago but struggled to pick up extra bonus points toward the team point total. First-year Will Hare and third-years John Jayne, Louis Demarco, and Jason Lynch all fought hard to avoid losses by major decision, which would have tilted the score in favor of NYU. Even in their defeats, the Maroons fought hard enough to ensure that the victories they did gain would be enough to capture the UAA Championship.
Jayne was ecstatic over the Maroons victory. “After a seven-year drought, we finally captured the elusive UAA title,” Jayne said. “Case Western [was] never going to be a match for us. So, we knew from the start that the title would come down to our dual against NYU. NYU was tough, but we were tougher. We weren’t able to dominate but we scraped out a spectacular win.” Jubilating in their victory, Jayne likened the team’s performance to a wolf pack hunting defenseless sheep in winning the UAA title when he said, “We were the wolf pack, and they were the sheep. Arwoo!”
Following their victory, the Maroons will be hard at work as they prepare for the NCAA Midwest Regional, taking place this Friday and Saturday in Minneapolis.