FORT WAYNE, Ind. – University of Chicago freshman Steve Bonsall earned a spot in the NCAA national field as the UChicago wrestling team placed eighth at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Saturday.
The Maroons scored 54.5 team points to finish eighth out of 16 squads at the regional hosted by Manchester University. Wabash College earned the team title with 134 points. The top three finishers in each weight class automatically qualified for the upcoming NCAA Division III Championships.
UChicago started the day with four wrestlers in semifinals. Unfortunately, the Maroons were 0-4 in those matches and went to the consolation brackets.
In his first 157-pound consolation match after bowing out in the semis, Bonsall scored a 12-0 major decision to reach the third-place bout. In that match, the freshman rode out his opponent from the top position in the second period to build up significant riding time. Then midway through the third period, Bonsall escaped and nailed a double-leg takedown seconds later. He maintained top position the rest of the way to earn the 4-0 victory and a spot at NCAA nationals.
At 149 pounds, freshman Kahlan Lee-Lermer at 149 pounds lost 3-1 in the semifinals. He then bounced back with a narrow 10-9 decision to reach the third-place match. Lee-Lermer dropped an 11-6 decision to close out his debut campaign.
Senior Paul Papoutsis went into extra time in the 174-pound semifinal, but he lost 3-1 in sudden victory. He followed up with a 6-2 win, and ultimately took fourth place with a major decision defeat.
Freshman Grant Morrison went 2-1 on the day at 141 pounds in the consolation bracket. His 7-4 and 15-6 victories allowed him to capture fifth place in his weight class. Sophomore Jason Lynch finished sixth at 184 pounds, absorbing three losses on the day.
"Steve did a great job and some others stepped up as well," said Head Coach Leo Kocher. "Our particular regional is a real meat grinder. Paul took the eventual champion into overtime in the semifinals. I just wish we could have gotten him more than four weeks of wrestling this season. In the quarterfinals, Kahlan defeated the wrestler who beat him for third place in the final round – he was really knocking on the door as far as qualifying for the NCAAs."
- Friday-Saturday, Mar. 10-11 @ 11:00 AM – UChicago at NCAA Division III Championships (La Crosse, Wis.)