UWO’s Choinski repeats at WIAC Championship

Billy Piotrowski, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh wrestling team competed in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship on Friday. The Titans took sixth place with 89.5 points, but not before making UWO history.

Junior Mark Choinski went unbeaten in four matches to win his second Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 157-pound championship. This makes Choinski, who is now 16-0 with three pins on the season, only the ninth Titan in history to become a multi-time champion.

Choinski said his one-match-at-a-time mindset proved to be instrumental in repeating as champion.

“Throughout the whole tournament, I keep my mind and vision clear, and my focus was staying calm and relaxed through the day,” Choinski said. “The finals match was just another opponent I was prepared to compete against. Nothing is much different if you take the tournament one match at a time.”

Another successful performer for UWO was freshman Wesam Alabed. Alabed took third place in the 141-pound bracket, and his teammate, junior Dellas Vandenberg, took sixth.

Alabed said he needs to work on improving his comfortability during his matches as he looks ahead to the NCAA Division III Upper Midwest Regional on Feb. 23 and 24 in Minnesota.

“I’m looking forward to improving in my bottom game and my takedown defense,” Alabed said. “I have to be more explosive off the whistle and waste no time on bottom. I need to take the match where I’m most comfortable, and that’s on my feet.”

Constant improvement has been a theme for Titan wrestling throughout the season as the team is showing no signs of slowing down as it gets closer to Minneapolis.

Despite Oshkosh taking last at the Conference Championship, head coach Efrain Ayala said the team can take a lot away from its performance, as it was a great chance to see what needs to be fine-tuned before Regionals.

“The WIAC wrestling conference is one of the toughest conferences in the country,” Ayala said. “This was a great opportunity to see where we are at and what adjustments we need to make before heading into the NCAA Regional tournament.”

Whatever adjustments need to be made, the Titans have proven that they will make them and show up to Regionals ready. If UWO finishes in the top three at Regionals, it moves on to the National Championship in Cleveland, Ohio on March 9 and 10.