Vikes Show Spark at Wheaton Invitational, Fall to Oshkosh -dlh- updated AY

Matthew Kruse

The LU wrestling team had a good showing at the Wheaton Invitational on Feb. 4-5. As the last tournament before this weekend’s WIAC Championships, the Wheaton Invitational provided the team with an opportunity to face excellent competition as the season draws to a close. Lawrence took 17th out of a field of 27 teams which included several ranked teams from NCAA Division III: No. 4 UW-La Crosse, No. 13 John Carroll University, and No. 21 North Central College as well as several others. UW-Parkside, currently ranked No. 12 in the NCAA Division II polls, was also present.
Three Vikings in particular stepped it up: John Budi, Joe Austin, and Ben Dictus. All three team captains placed higher than their tournament seeds. John Budi, unseeded in the tournament, placed seventh by defeating Derek Ricker of Messiah College 8-6. Budi had lost to Ricker earlier in the tournament by a score of 7-4. Joe Austin, also unseeded, took eighth place. Ben Dictus, seeded sixth, ended up in fourth place after losing to No. 8 ranked Ryan Aldrich of North Central College, 3-2.
Unfortunately for the Vikings, Friday night’s dual versus UW-Oshkosh didn’t go quite so well. The Vikings, 2-11, 0-6 in the WIAC hosted the Titans, 5-8-1, 2-3-1 in the WIAC, and were looking for their first conference win of the season. The Vikings split the first four matches, receiving wins from David Quinlan at 125-pounds and Ryan Dummann at 149-pounds before losing the next three matches to fall behind, 20-11. A major decision by Ben Dictus at 184-pounds and a hard fought victory by Scott Polewach at 197-pounds brought the Vikings in striking range of a victory. With the score favoring Oshkosh 20-18, Andrew Moreno took the mat against Mike Farchione. Unfortunately Moreno, a freshman who normally wrestles in the 184-pound weight class, couldn’t match the size and experience of Farchione, a senior heavyweight. Final score: Lawrence 18, Oshkosh 26.
Lawrence will face off against the rest of the WIAC schools this Sunday at the WIAC Championships. Wrestling begins at 9:30 at Alexander Gym. The 10 individual weight class winners and 6 wildcards, as selected by the coaches, will advance to the NCAA Division III Championships March 4-5 in Northfield, Minn.