Competing with Division I perennial powerhouses Iowa and Wisconsin, Parkside’s wrestling squad produces two champions and plenty of future potential.
Featuring a stacked talent pool, UW-Parkside hosted the Wisconsin Open at Petretti Fieldhouse in Kenosha on Saturday.
Wisconsin entered action ranked No. 18 among Division I collegiate programs while Iowa came in at an astonishing No. 1 nationally. In Division II competition, UWP was slated at No. 11.
Scintillating performances by senior Craig Becker and freshman Matt Gille credited Parkside with tournament victories in two of the 10 weight classes. They boasted 149 and 165 pounds respectively.
The duo grappled their way to glory as Becker defeated Lindenwood’s Sam Schmitz to claim the title. By way of injury, Lindenwood’s Chris Chionuma went down to Gille in their finals match.
Becker was anointed Outstanding Wrestler of the tournament.
Sophomore Luke Rynish also performed admirably; at 174 pounds, he advanced to the finals by upsetting the projected favorite Ethan Lofthouse of Iowa.
Despite falling (12-3) in the championship to Wisconsin’s Ben Jordan and finishing second, Rynish collected the Ray Larson Sportsmanship Award.
Six weight classes found their way into Iowa’s trophy case while Wisconsin and McKendree each had a wrestler acquire a title.
Mike Migawa and Lucas Haag both captured fourth place for the Rangers. Cody Zimmerman took down teammate Brandon Kircher (6-2) as he placed in a respectable third.
Returning to action Saturday, Dec. 12, the Rangers travel out to St. Cloud State for a 9:00 am start time. Their next and final home dual meet will take place at 7:00 pm against UW-Stevens Point on Jan. 20.
Success from UWP’s youth, as well as their experienced wrestlers, showcased a squad ready to take the next step. With the leadership in Becker, complimented with the potential in Gille and Rynish, Parkside’s poised to climb the rankings.