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Injuries and inconsistency derailed wrestling's season

Despite a heady preseason ranking, most of the Terps high goals and expectations went unmet. But hey, at least we had Sheptock.

Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

With one notable exception, I think most would agree that the Maryland Terrapins' 2013-2014 wrestling season qualifies as disappointing. The Terps entered the season ranked sixteenth in the country and were looking to make a statement by winning a record twenty-fifth ACC title in their last season in the league and by having a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament to demonstrate to the wrestling world that they were prepared to step into the B1G - the sport's strongest conference by orders of magnitude in NCAA wrestling. These aspirations were derailed by injuries and inconsistent performances from some of their wrestlers.

The team's performance

As a team, Maryland finished with a 9-8 overall record and, after dropping their first two league meets rallied to win three of the last four to finish at 3-3 in their final ACC campaign. In that late season rush with their only loss being a 16-15 decision at twelfth ranked Virginia, Maryland looked primed for some late season magic. However, the Terps failed to make a real splash in their final ACC Tournament placing fifth of the seven teams. They did well enough to earn four of the league's automatic qualifying bids to the NCAA Tournament - Tyler Goodwin, Jimmy Sheptock, Christian Boley, and Spencer Myers. Based on the strength of his season, Shyheim Brown also earned a spot in Oklahoma City where the Terrapins finished twentieth.

The lighter weights 125 to 141

Maryland's struggles came principally from the lower weight classes beginning at the 125 pound weight class where sophomores Billy Rappo and Paul O'Neill split duties for the Terps collectively finishing 7-10 for the season. Rappo split his last four ACC matches but O'Neill wrestled in the ACC Tournament where he dropped both of his contests.

Coach Kerry McCoy elected to redshirt Geoff Alexander at 133 pounds leaving Tyler Goodwin to take the bulk of the action. The freshman Goodwin, whose older brother Frank finished his senior year wrestling at 149 pounds, came in at 125 pounds but stepped up a weight class where he finished a respectable 7-6. He surprised by winning two matches at the ACC Tournament before losing in the finals to Dennis Gustafson of Virginia Tech. Goodwin lost both his matches in the NCAA Tournament.

Shyheim Brown gave the Terps some stability at 141 pounds wrestling in sixteen of Maryland's seventeen dual meets. He finished 12-4 for the season and at one time was ranked as high as eighth nationally. However, Brown struggled in the ACC regular season where he finished 3-3 and in the tournament where he dropped two of three matches albeit one was a medical forfeit. Brown won one and lost two in Oklahoma City.

The middle weight classes 149 to 174

If Brown provided stability at the top end of the lighter weights, the Terps' situation in the next three weight classes was anything but settled. Sophomore Derrick Evanovich stepped up from his roster weight of 141 pounds to open the season at 149 in place of the injured Frank Goodwin and he struggled mightily dropping six of his seven matches before Goodwin returned to win six of the last ten. Ben Dorsay and Danny Orem split duties at 157 pounds and McCoy needed to use four wrestlers at 165 to get through the season. Needless to say, Maryland didn't fare well at these weights.

At 174 pounds, Ty Snook suffered an ankle sprain just before the season opened and didn't begin to wrestle until mid January in the dual meet at Virginia Tech. The senior finished 5-2 on the season taking over from Tony Gardner who had stepped in for Snook wrestling the first ten matches to a 4-6 mark.

Success at the top 184 and up

It might seem a bit redundant but Maryland's success in 2013-2014 was clearly top-heavy. Three wrestlers - Jimmy Sheptock at 184 pounds, Christian Boley at 197 pounds and heavyweight Spencer Myers - accounted for 44 of the Terrapins' 99 dual meet wins for the season.

Myers, an All-American as a sophomore, had an impressive 14-2 regular season dual meet record but couldn't quite get over the top against his strongest competition. His two dual meet losses came to then fifth ranked Adam Coon of Michigan and to eventual NCAA champion Nick Gwiazdowski of NC State. Myers also dropped matches against those same wrestlers in the Midlands Championships and the ACC Tournament. After winning his first match in Oklahoma City, Myers dropped his second match in the main draw and lost his first in the wrestle back failing to regain All-American status.

Boley looked on course to have an exceptional senior season. His only dual meet losses came in a shocking early season match to Frank Mattiace of Penn and in a medical default in the Terps' meet at Virginia Tech. Boley may have peaked too early as he didn't fare well in the postseason losing two of three in the ACC Tournament and, after losing his opening match in the main draw, falling one match short in the wrestle back of finishing in the top eight in the NCAA Tournament and gaining All-American status.

Finally we come to Jimmy Sheptock wrestling for the terps at 184 pounds. In 2013-2014 dual meets, Sheptock finished a perfect 17-0 for Maryland running his dual meet career record to forty-one wins and no losses. In addition, he won his third ACC title repeating at 184 pounds after winning at 174 as a sophomore.

When Penn State's Ed Ruth lost a shocking decision to Cornell freshman Gabe Dean ending Ruth's 84 match winning streak, Sheptock became the first Terrapins wrestler to reach the number one rank in season. The two faced off in the finals of the NCAA Tournament where Ruth attacked and scored early continually frustrating Sheptock en route to his third consecutive title taking a 5-2 decision and ending Sheptock's bid to become Maryland's first NCAA Champion since Gobel Kline in 1969. Improving on his 2013 sixth place finish, he became the Terps' first NCAA runner-up since 1954 while claiming All-American status for the second consecutive year.

What's next

The Terps now face an interesting future. They will enter the B1G minus two of their three top wrestlers. Myers is also a senior but has one year of eligibility remaining. It's a long time until the wrestling season begins again in November but from this point in April, it looks as though Coach McCoy and his squad Will Likely have a steep, steep hill to climb if they want to be competitive in their new conference.