Kwilinski Places Fifth at Dan Gable Open
OSHKOSH – Darin Kwilinski (Sr, 174) had a strong showing for the UW-Milwaukee wrestling team at the Dan Gable Open. The tournament was a difficult NCAA tournament and was hosted by UW-Oshkosh.
Darin got pinned by Mike Benefiel (Fr, 174) of Northwestern University in his first match (Benefiel would go on to pin all three of his subsequent opponents in the first period en route to winning the 174-pound championship). Kwilinski then defeated Tyler Staehle, who was wrestling unattached, by a score of 15-3. That victory was followed by a 10-5 win over Greg Kuchan (Sr, 174) of UW-Oshkosh, which guaranteed Darin a place in the top six at the tournament.
In his next match, UW-Parkside’s Ryan Woods (Fr, 174) wrestled Darin for the third time this season and, for the third time this season, Woods won a close contest between the two, this time by a score of 5-3. Kwilinski then received a medical default from Eli Felts (Jr, 174) of UW-Oshkosh to win fifth place at the tournament.
The tournament mostly featured a mixture of back-ups from NCAA Division 1 programs, including a few Big Ten programs, and starters from NCAA Division 3 programs. UW-Milwaukee was the only NCWA team competing in the event.
“To take fifth place here is quite an accomplishment,” remarked UW-Milwaukee head coach Koy Kosek. “I think Darin's performance is the best a UW-Milwaukee wrestler has ever done at an NCAA tournament. He did some very good wrestling.
“Except for Kwilinski, the team looked tired and out of sync,” continued Coach Kosek. “I’m not sure why, although the higher seeds at this tournament were as tough as anyone we’ve seen all season, and I'm sure them being good had more to do with it than us being bad. I also think the road trip to Iowa got long last weekend, a lot of guys got sick, and it just seemed like we never quite got our legs back under us.
“To put this into perspective, we have to look at where we are as a program. I believe that Darin is the only Milwaukee wrestler who wrestled here today who has been this deep into a college wrestling season before; maybe Tony his freshman year, but that would be it. When you’re at a tournament with very established programs and even Big Ten wrestlers in the mix, that’s a tough hand to be dealt.
“I am pleased with Darin's results here. I am pleased that the guys on this team have not quit. We will continue to improve. We still have our sites set on getting everyone that's here to Nationals this season, and there’s still enough time to accomplish that.”