In the final dual meet prior to the UAA championship, the Maroons managed to fight back after falling down 18–0 early against Augustana College last Friday, finally claiming a closely contested 27–21 victory. The Maroons advanced to 8–3 for the season, while Augustana dropped another game, falling 11–1.
While the records of each team coming into the match suggested that the Maroons would easily be able to come away with a victory, the Maroons quickly found their work cut out for them. The Maroons found themselves at a large deficit due to being unable to field players for the first three weight classes. Other squads may have struggled dealing with the burden of such a deficit, but not the Maroons. Augustana failed to capitalize on their good fortune, as the Maroons proceeded to utterly dominate them in the rest of the day’s matches, with the exception of one close loss, showcasing their mental toughness and ability to never lose faith and continue fighting against all odds.
The Maroons were paced to victory by first-years Jason Crary, Chaise Hauck, and Will Hare, second-year Kahlan Lee-Lermer, third-year John Jayne, and fourth-year Nick Ferraro. First-year Dominick Reo, although failing to win his match, put up an impressive performance against a nationally ranked wrestler, losing in a one-point decision. Jayne, Ferraro, and Crary all managed to win by fall (with Crary winning by a technical fall). Hauck won via a 7–2 decision, while Lee-Lermer once again continued his incredible season by dominating his opponent, winning via a 12–1 major decision. The final match of the day was a 2–0 decision victory for Hare.
Jayne was ecstatic with the team’s performance, saying that “they started with an 18–0 advantage, and we clobbered them. The crowd fell more and more silent with each match.”
The hostile atmosphere created by the Augustana crowd failed to intimidate the Maroon men. “It was their senior night, but we showed no respect. We figuratively and literally ran a train through their team,” Jayne said. “Sure, the crowd jeered us, like when they called me Justin Bieber. However, we replied with pins and technical falls.” The Maroons’ resilience in the face of such pressure was a major reason for their success on the night.
Up next for the Maroons is the UAA championship next Saturday, where they will face rivals Case Western and NYU on their quest to capture conference glory.