Catching up with Wheaton wrestling

By Eden Schultz

Wheaton Wrestling started their new season at the beginning of November, already showing promise for the rest of the season. “All-around we’ve gotten to be a tougher team,” senior captain Max Gierke said. “Last year we had some great individual success, but this year we have more depth, and instead of last year we would have three guys place at a tournament out of ten, this year we are getting five or six guys through to the championship rounds.”

The team’s most recent meet took place on Saturday, Dec. 1 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) Invitational. The Thunder finished sixth of 13 teams, with senior Carlos Fuentez, of the 125 weight class, and junior Isaac Odell, of the 154 weight class, taking home first place titles. Fuentez won by a 10-5 decision over North Central College’s Ian Mullen, while Odell won by a close 3-2 decision over North Central’s Cody Baldridge.

Wheaton Wrestling opened the season on Nov. 3 with the Messiah Invitational at Messiah College, placing third out of nine teams overall. Fuentez and Odell finished in first in the 125 and 154 weight classes respectively. On Nov. 10, Wheaton traveled to the Trine University Invitational and finished with 100 points, placing them at third out of 14 teams. Odell,s Fuentez, and freshman Ethan Harsted all placed first in the 184, 125 and 133 weight classes, respectively. Wheaton competed in a dual meet with Elmhurst College on Nov. 13, resulting in a 30-22 loss.

The Thunder have brought more than just wrestling to the mats by living out the team’s motto, “Jesus Christ is life, the rest is just wrestling.” This motto is printed on the front of the team t-shirts they wear to meets and around campus. “One thing that Coach constantly tells us is when we graduate: if he can have taught us anything, it would be that we are men who love and want to serve Jesus,” Odell explained. “He also wants us to be good and successful wrestlers, but the most important thing for him is that we are good men who love Jesus.”

Wheaton wrestling has two months of matches left before the CCIW Championships on Feb. 7. Coming up, Wheaton has two events on Saturday, Dec. 8. The North Central Invite in Naperville will start at 9 a.m., and att 12 p.m. Wheaton will compete against the University of Chicago in the only home dual of the season at King Arena. Max Gierke emphasized the importance of this meet, saying, “It would mean a lot to have a bunch of fans show up to cheer us on for the senior’s final home dual of their careers.”

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