Once again I find myself writing about a lopsided Maryland victory as the Terrapin wrestlers won the final eight matches in Saturday's 37-7 dual meet demolition of the Duke Blue Devils. Saturday was Pin Cancer night for the Terps as the team wrestled not only for a win in conference but to raise funds for the Pin Cancer Campaign. This organization was started in the fall of 2011 by a former New Jersey wrestler Dan Tramontozzi. He began the journey in honor of his mother who is currently battling cancer. "We talked about it," said head coach Kerry McCoy. "They wrote pledge letters and raised a lot of money. It's one of those things when the guys can get outside themselves a little and a when match means a little more than just an individual or team win it's always nice. But I told them there's a lot going on but you've still got to go out and perform. If you go out and get some wins and some pins it'll do good for more than just the team."
Early on, it looked as though it might be a tough night for the home team. The meet opened at the 157 pound weight class with Ben Dorsay facing Immanuel Kerr-Brown. Kerr-Brown maintained his perfect mark in ACC competition for the Blue Devils with a 5-2 decision. After Kerr-Brown scored a takedown late in the first period, Dorsay evened the score with a reversal but the Duke grappler managed an escape to take a 3-2 lead. Starting in the bottom position, Kerr Brown managed an escape to take a 4-2 edge into the final period. Starting in the down position, Dorsay got to his feet on three occasions but never managed an escape giving Kerr-Brown a riding time bonus.
At 165 pounds, Duke's Josh Cain quickly took charge of his match against Josh Snook with a double leg takedown in the first minute. He controlled the remainder of the period and finished with 2:07 of riding time putting Snook in an even deeper hole. Cain scored two takedowns in the second and another in the third before closing out the match with a 10-2 major decision. The bonus point gave the Devils a 7-0 lead in the team score.
From this point it was all Terrapins. Ty Snook took to the mat at 174 pounds and scored an early takedown against Duke's Trey Adamson. Snook simply dominated Adamson scoring three points for a near fall before securing the pin just 1:44 into the match. Jimmy Sheptock, the nation's top ranked wrestler at 184 pounds couldn't quite match the rapidity of Snook's pin needing all of 2:29 to secure the fall against Jacob Kasper. The back to back pins vaulted the Terps into a 12-7 team lead.
At 197 pounds, eighth ranked Christian Boley was the only Terrapin wrestler to face a ranked foe - Duke's Conner Hartmann who is ranked nineteenth. Hartman made a strong attack early but Boley used his quickness to avoid a possible takedown and the pair wrestled to a scoreless first period. After starting the second period in the down position, Boley's earned the only score and he led 1-0 into the third. The situation reversed to open the final period and Hartmann tied things up with an escape. However, Boley scored on a well leveraged takedown and, after allowing Hartmann to escape, fended off the Duke wrestler's shots to hold on for the 3-2 win.
Spencer Myers, who is, according to his coach, more focused since his loss at Michigan, continued his winning ways in the heavyweight class starting by scoring four points early (on a sequence I didn't quite understand). He appeared to have scored another takedown just before time expired in the first period but a video review ruled that the wrestlers were out of bounds. Still, Myers held a 4-1 lead at the end of one. The Terrapins' sixth ranked heavyweight scored an escape and two more takedowns in the second for a 9-2 advantage. Starting the final period in the top position, Myers built up a riding time advantage and won a 10-2 major decision over Brendan Walsh. The bonus point extended Maryland's team lead to 19-7. The difference, according to McCoy, is that Myers is now "wrestling to win and not going out there just trying not to lose."
As has been the case all year, Duke did not have a wrestler at 125 pounds and the six points for the forfeit meant the Blue Devils would have to win the last three matches by falls to tie the Terps. At 133 pounds, Tyler Goodwin wasn't about to allow that to happen. The freshman from Grambrils scored an early takedown and two near falls for a quick 8-0 lead. A confident Goodwin allowed Duke's Evan Botwin a point on an escape but almost immediately scored another takedown before finishing the match at 2:29 with the Terrapins' third pin of the night.
Shyheim Brown at 141 pounds and Frank Goodwin at 149 rounded out the night with 5-3 and 8-5 decisions over the Blue Devils' Xaviel Ramos and Conner Bass respectively. The Terps had scored seven straight wins and thoroughly trounced the Blue Devils coming out on the long end of a 37-7 final score.
"We want to peak at the right time, at the end of the year," McCoy said after the match. "The focus is always on March. We've got to be our best in March. It's nice to be where we are. They guys are moving in the right direction." The Terps will look to continue in the right direction and improve to .500 in ACC competition when they host NC State Friday night at 7 pm in the Pavilion at Comcast Center.