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Beauty and the Beast Preview

Maryland Wrestling and Gymnastics will share the main floor at the XFINITY Center on January ninth as wrestling takes on Harvard and Gymnastics faces West Virginia and George Washington.

Maryland Athletics

WHO: Harvard Crimson @ Maryland Terrapins

WHAT: Wrestling meet

WHERE: Xfinity Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

WHEN: Friday, January 9, 2015 7:00 p.m. ET

WATCH: In Person


There is no way to sugar-coat it. Maryland has struggled mightily this year and they will continue to struggle against Big Ten competition in their first season in the conference. Maryland swept all four matches at the Terrapin Duals in their opening duals of the season on November 2, but they haven't won a match since. Without a dramatic turnaround, Maryland's match against Harvard could well be their best shot at a win for the rest of the season. Barring significant improvement, don't expect the Terps to end up on top of Lehigh, Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota, Northwestern, or Illinois. It has been over two months since Maryland got a 'W' and they have a good chance to get one on Friday. Here's why:

Spencer Myers returns for the Terps at heavyweight, giving the Terps a wrestler in the lineup that can win a match for Maryland if the score is close enough. Myers was an All-American his freshman year and has won two ACC Titles during his time in College Park. Myers just recently returned from playing on the Maryland football team so he has to get re-acclimated to the endurance required to wrestle a high-quality seven-minute match.

Maryland has three star wrestlers on the team. Geoffrey Alexander at 133, Shyheim Brown at 141 and Myers at heavyweight. Harvard really only has two stand-out wrestlers and that is their 197 pounder, James Fox and their 141 pounder, James Preston. The Preston-Brown match almost certainly will be one of the best matches of the dual. Preston was an EIWA champ and was one match away from All-American status last year. Brown, meanwhile, placed at the Midlands this year and qualified for the NCAA Championships last season.

Josh Snook, Maryland's 174 pounder, finished fourth and placed the highest of any Maryland wrestler at the annual Midlands Tournament held at Northwestern on December 29th and 30th so it will be interesting to see if he can continue his positive momentum. As a team, Maryland finished eighth in the competition with Lou Mascola (sixth at 157 pounds), and Brown (eighth at 141) also reaching the podium. Said head coach Kerry McCoy, "It was a good day. We got over some hurdles and gave ourselves good momentum to finish the year strong. We've got a lot to work on, but it was a good way to finish 2014."

Maryland must seize this opportunity in front of an energized home crowd to get a win against an opponent that is wrestling in their first dual meet of the season and hasn't demonstrated that they are better than the Terps. Maryland has more talent on paper and if their three best wrestlers take care of business and get a little bit of help, Maryland will win.

WHO: West Virginia Mountaineers and George Washington Colonials @ Maryland Terrapins

WHAT: Gymnastics meet

WHERE: Xfinity Center, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

WHEN: Friday, January 9, 2015 7:00 p.m. ET

WATCH: In Person


Todd, here. The natural order asserts itself. Noah has written about the 'Beast' part of the evening and I get to write about the 'Beauty' portion.

If it seems as though gymnastics has been absent from the Maryland sports scene for so long that all but the most loyal followers may have forgotten that the Terps have a gymnastics program perhaps it has. When Maryland takes to the mat Friday night to host West Virginia and George Washington 278 days will have passed since their last intercollegiate competition. Here are just a few of the sports highlights since then:

UConn won both the men's and women's NCAA basketball championships

Real Madrid defeated Barcelona to win the Copa del Rey

California Chrome became the 19th horse to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness but lose in the Belmont Stakes

Adam Scott passed Tiger Woods to become the #1 golfer in the world

The Maryland women's lacrosse team won the NCAA Championship

The L.A. Kings beat the N.Y. Rangers in the Stanley Cup Final

The San Antonio Spurs won the NBA Championship defeating the Miami Heat 4 games to 1

Luis Suarez was expelled from the FIFA World Cup for biting. Germany eventually won a 1-0 extra time victory over Argentina to claim the Cup

Novak Djokovic defeated Roger Federer in 5 sets at Wimbledon

Italy's Vincenzo Nibali won the Tour de France

The U.S. took down Serbia 129-92 to win the FIBA World Cup

Europe won its third straight Ryder Cup

The San Francisco Giants won a seven game World Series over the K.C. Royals

Kevin Harvick won NASCAR's Sprint Cup

The University of Maryland won Big Ten Championships in field hockey and men's soccer

Coach Brett Nelligan says his squad is excited for their first real competitive event of the season, "We can't wait to show everyone who Maryland gymnastics is and what we've got."

Although the Terrapins have officially moved to the Big Ten, the 2014-2015 schedule features a number of matches - beginning with Friday night's gymnestling event - against foes from the EAGL, Maryland's former gymnastics home. Head coach Brett Nelligan explained why in our gymnastics preview. George Washington is an erstwhile EAGL foe and the other competing team, West Virginia is a regular Terps opponent and is the last team to outscore Maryland on their home mat way back on February 18, 2012.

While this competition is familiar, Nelligan thinks it's important for the team to get off to a fast start in preparation for the first B1G meet coming up in less than a week when Maryland will host Minnesota.

How  familiar is the competition? The Terps hosted the Mountaineers twice last season picking up a 193.675-193.500 win in January and a 195.525-194.975 victory in their final home meet in March last season. Maryland split their 2014 home and home matches with George Washington - finishing third in a meet that also featured EAGL foe New Hampshire after sweeping GW, Towson, and Pittsburgh at a meet in College Park two weeks prior.

Friday will be the first time Maryland has hosted this type of combo event. Nelligan is excited about Friday night's proceedings, "It is going to be such a fun event and the atmosphere is going to be absolutely electric," he said. "I can't think of a better way to kick off the season."

Nelligan hasn't released his lineup, but it's a fairly safe bet that fans can expect to see the three gymnasts we profiled in December, Sarah Faller, Nikki Chung, and Stephanie Giameo, competing for the Terps Friday night. (Again, because I am a shameless self promoter, I've linked back to those profiles for those who might have missed them on the first go round,)

Oh, and for those too young to remember the headline reference: