Wrestlers look ahead to regionals

As the postseason commences, the UWO wrestling squad reflects on an up-and-down regular season and how its 2017-2018 record does not accurately represent the team.

Billy Piotrowski, Sports Writer

The UW Oshkosh wrestling team earned a 4-10 overall record this season, but had many notable moments throughout. As the Feb. 23 NCAA Division-III Upper Midwest Regional in Minnesota draws closer, it offers a chance to look back on the season that was and on a few possibilities the postseason could hold for UWO.

The Titans kicked off the season on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the non-scoring UW-Stevens Point’s Pointer Open. In individual competition, UWO placed six wrestlers in the top three of their respective weight classes, along with sophomore Husam Alabed, who took first at 165.

Three days later, Oshkosh opened conference play against the UW-Whitewater Warhawks. The Titans took victories at the 141, 149 and 184-weight classes, but earned their first loss of the season, 27-11.

Four days after the loss at Whitewater, the Titans hosted the 15th annual Dan Gable Open, emerging with three champions among five top-three finishers.

Sophomore Colten Cashmore emerged from the Dan Gable Open as the 184 pound champion, defeating fellow Titan freshman Juwon Anderson in the championship match.

After a mentally tough match against his teammate, Cashmore said his ambition moving forward in the season was twofold to have both the team and himself succeed.

“The rest of this season, I am looking forward to competing with the team and improving my wrestling,” Cashmore said. “I think as a team this year, we can open some eyes which is something that will be fun to be a part of, and I look forward to working hard and pursuing my goals.”

The following week, on Nov. 18, the Titans faced off against the Blugolds at UW-Eau Claire. In the ongoing Chancellor’s Cup battle, UWO lost to Eau Claire 36-9, losing the Cup and the rivalry lead between the two, which Eau Claire now holds at 2-1.

Rounding out November for the Titans, they faced off against the UWSP Pointers on Nov. 20. This meet served as a bit of a wake-up call for the Titans as they split with the Pointers in match victories 6-6, but suffered a 25-15 loss.

Head coach Efrain Ayala said the frustration of losing after splitting victories was very prevalent, but it helped shape the team’s focus moving forward.

“[It was] frustrating,” Ayala said. “Very frustrating because we knew we could’ve had that dual. We needed some bonus points from some guys and I think those guys understand that moving forward what they need to do in order to perform.”

The Titans rolled into December with a 0-3 record and some good, nonscored performances. The month of December would prove to be a turn in the right direction, yielding Oshkosh their first victory of the season.

UWO started the month on Saturday, Dec. 2 at the Milwaukee School of Engineering Invitational and the Jim Koch Wisconsin Open. At MSOE, the Titans placed seventh out of 12 competing teams with 47 points, and the Jim Koch Wisconsin Open was nonscoring.

At the Invitational, Oshkosh had three wrestlers place, one in each of the 133, 157 and 184 pound classes. Junior Mark Choinski beat University of Chicago’s Steve Bonsall to win the 157 pound title.

Next, the Titans headed down to McGavock High School in Tennessee for the Gator “Boots” Duals on Saturday, Dec. 16. Here, the Titans claimed their first victory of the season against Thomas More College 32-9, but fell to Heidelberg University and Luther College 26-19 and 31-9, respectively.

Heading into January, the Titans faced MSOE for the second time and University of Dubuque on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018. Both meets took place in Iowa, and Oshkosh defeated MSOE 35-11, but lost to Dubuque 27-9.

The Titans continued conference play by hosting UW-La Crosse on Saturday, Jan. 13. The Titans fell to the Eagles 37-10, but had two victories on the day in the 157- and 285-pound weight classes.

On Thursday, Jan. 18, UWO once again squared off with MSOE. Oshkosh completed the season sweep of the Raiders with a 36-10 victory.
Oshkosh closed out the month on Saturday, Jan. 20, going 1-2 on the day. The lone victory on the day came against Millikin University by a score of 30-16 with UWO recording losses to Wabash College in a 44-3 blowout and to Manchester University in a tough 26-25 dual.

UWO finished the regular season on Thursday, Feb. 1 by hosting UW-Platteville. The Titans wrapped up their conference play with a 4-10 record after a close 27-21 defeat at the hands of the Pioneers.


The Titans are looking forward to Regionals after coming in sixth during the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship on Friday, Feb. 9 in Whitewater. Choinski said the regional stage will be a great spot for the Titans to show how good they are.

“Regionals this year is extremely exciting,” Choinski said. “There is no doubt it will be full of high energy and all around tough wrestling. One thing that is different this year is all of the new schools put in this region. The weight classes this year are packed with some of the best wrestlers in the country for Division-III wrestling.”

If UWO can place within the top three over the weekend, they will earn a spot in the National Championship meet in Cleveland, Ohio on March 9 and 10.