As competitions come to an end, athletes ready for tournaments and the post-season
By Maggie Franke
Mid-February is here, and many sports are nearing their post-season. Swimming and wrestling have just days left in their seasons, and everyone is counting down the days until March Madness begins for college basketball. It’s time for an update on how, when and where these final tournaments and competitions will take place.
First up is the Wheaton Wrestling team which competed in the CCIW Conference Championship Tournament last weekend. The team placed fourth overall with 79.5 points, and North Central College defended their 2017-18 CCIW Conference Champions title.
The biggest headline from the tournament was junior Isaac Odell’s 184-pound CCIW Championship victory. Odell bested North Central’s 184-pound competitor in the final moments of the second period where he earned a 1-0 decision. Senior Jonavan Huggins finished second at 165-pounds and Ethan Harsted was the 133-pounds runner-up as well.
The Thunder Wrestling team will compete in the NCAA Upper-Midwest Regional Tournament on Feb. 22-23 at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
The Wheaton College Swimming teams will compete in the CCIW Conference Championship meet today through Saturday at the RecPlex in Pleasant Prairie, Wisc. Carthage College is looking to defend both the Men’s and Women’s 2018 CCIW Champions titles after their strong performance last year. However, both of the Thunder swimming teams hope to upset the Lady Reds and Red Men this year. Freshman Chris Haase competed in the CCIW Diving Championships last weekend and placed fourth in the one-meter and three-meter diving competition. The points he scored for the Thunder will contribute to the Wheaton Men’s Swimming and Diving team’s overall score.
Besides the team competition, Wheaton’s swimmers will also compete to qualify for the NCAA Division III Nationals meet in a month. Last year, senior Christopher Szymczak, sophomore Will Rinne, sophomore Christian Cameron and senior Brooke Barnes all competed in the nationals meet. Since then, Wheaton have added some strong freshmen talent to their team which will boost their chances of qualifying more athletes to the big show.
While the Wheaton wrestlers compete in the regional tournament, Wheaton’s track and field teams will be competing at the CCIW Indoor Track & Field Championships. Last year, the men placed third overall. The women are looking to defend their 2018 CCIW Indoor Track & Field Team Champions title. Junior Favor Ezewuzie and sophomore Hannah Roeske each won individual events in the meet last year, Ezewuzie with two school-record times in both of the sprint hurdle distances and Roeske with a CCIW Indoor Meet Record and school record time in the 3000-meter run.
The CCIW Indoor Track & Field Championships will be held at North Central’s indoor track in Naperville, Ill. on Feb. 22-23.
Both Wheaton’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams were scheduled to compete in their final game of the regular season last night against Millikin University. The men won 81-73, while the women were forced to postpone after travel issues prevented their arrival at Millikin last night. The game was postponed until today, Feb. 14. at 7 p.m.
On the men’s side, Augustana College has already been declared the CCIW Champion of the regular season, and North Central College, Wheaton College, Illinois Wesleyan University and Elmhurst College have qualified for the CCIW Championship Tournament. This means that Augustana will most likely host the tournament, and Wheaton will be the number-three or number-four seed.
On the women’s side, Wheaton College has already been declared the CCIW Champion of the regular season, and Illinois Wesleyan University, Carthage College and Augustana College have qualified for the CCIW Championship Tournament. As a result, Wheaton will most likely host the tournament and be the top seed, but IWU will prove to be a tough competitor for the Thunder similar to recent years.
The first game of the tournament for both genders will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 19.
While many of these post-season events are not hosted by Wheaton College, most are within an hour drive of campus thanks to the proximity of the schools within the CCIW. The Thunder needs as much support as possible especially at the end of their seasons, and Wheaton’s potential hosting of the CCIW Women’s Basketball Tournament could hold a lot of excitement for Thunder sports fans.