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UMD Wrestling pulls big upsets on Day One of NCAAs

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Lou Mascola and Spencer Myers each knocked off top-five wrestlers in St. Louis.

A New Day

Maryland's top three wrestlers throughout the season traveled to St. Louis looking to put the Big Tens behind them. Geoffrey Alexander, Lou Mascola and Spencer Myers were Maryland's top three wrestlers and all had legitimate shots to do damage at the NCAA Wrestling Championships. The draws were tough but Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy insisted that his wrestlers were wrestling the best they had all season long and would be ready for NCAAs.

Round 1

Lou Mascola had a pig-tail match to contend with before coming into the 32-man bracket. He faced Immanuel Kerr-Brown of Duke, who beat Mascola by decision earlier in the year.

Mascola got a couple of early takedowns and took an early lead against Kerr-Brown. He went to the second period up 6-1 but then Kerr-Brown started his furious comeback. Mascola led by two going to the third and final period. A flurry of action from both wrestlers made for an exciting finish and Mascola was the beneficiary of a locked hands violation that gave him a point. Mascola got revenge on Kerr-Brown 11-10 and advanced into the 32-man bracket to face fifth-seeded Cody Pack of South Dakota State.

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Geoffrey Alexander had a rough Big Ten tournament but came in trying to record an early upset against eighth-seeded Kevin Devoy of Drexel.

Alexander got taken down early but came back and tied the match 2-2. He later got a takedown of his own to take the lead. Devoy escaped in the third period to tie it up at 4-4 and then he took Alexander down and won 6-4. He will have to face off against a two-time All-American in Edinboro's A.J. Schopp to keep his season alive.

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Cody Pack had some close matches with some of the country's best wrestlers but Mascola came in unafraid. Pack got the first takedown but Mascola came right back with a reversal. Pack then reversed Mascola to take a 4-2 lead going into the second period. Pack got another reversal and tacked on some near fall points to take a 7-3 lead into the third and final period. Mascola got two takedowns to tie it up 8-8. After an escape by Pack, Mascola got a last-second takedown that was looked at under review. The review was upheld and Mascola pulled off the huge upset to advance into the round of 16 against returning All-American Mitch Minotti.

Heavyweight

Spencer Myers battled Iowa's Bobby Telford in the first round. Telford was a two-time All-American and the third-seed in the tournament. Telford had beaten Myers 4-0 when they wrestled in College Park. Myers made sure that this match would not be like the last one.

He started off aggressively and was rewarded with a takedown. He then picked up two near-fall points to take a 4-0 lead. Myers took a 4-1 lead into the second and took neutral to start. Myers kept up the pace and took Telford down again to push the lead to five. Myers held off Telford to win 7-5 and get a huge win that vaulted him into the round of 16. He will take on Joe Stolfi of Bucknell with a chance to advance to the quarterfinals.

Round 2

Maryland went 3-1 in the first round with Lou Mascola getting two wins, one of them against the fifth overall seed. Spencer Myers dealt a blow to Iowa's national title hopes by knocking off third-seeded Bobby Telford in the first round.

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Geoffrey Alexander was battling for his tournament life and he had to get a win against a tough-as-nails A.J. Schopp in order to do it. After a scoreless first period, Alexander escaped in the second period to take a 1-0 lead. Clinging to that small lead was not enough and Schopp came from behind to win 2-1 and knock Alexander out of the tournament.

Alexander tweaked his hamstring at the Big Tens but Alexander was in complete free-fall mode after the dual against Lehigh on January 11th. He took a forfeit against Minnesota but lost the rest of his regular season matches and went 1-3 at Big Tens and took a medical forfeit. This was a season of promise for Alexander coming off of a redshirt year and it ended in incredibly disappointing fashion.

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All-American Mitch Minotti was unkind to Lou Mascola and dominated the match from start to finish. He led 5-1 going into the third and picked up another takedown in the third to establish a big 7-1 lead. Mascola escaped but lost 7-2. He didn't wrestle nearly as well as he did against Cody Pack. He will have to get back to that level on Day 2 if he wants to get on the podium.

He will wrestle Alex Elder of Oregon State in his first match tomorrow.

Heavyweight

Spencer Myers came off of his upset win of Bobby Telford and took on the 14th seed Joe Stolfi of Bucknell. This was an exciting affair and it was a classic Spencer Myers match.

It was scoreless after the first period and Stolfi took bottom to start the second. He escaped and neither wrestler scored during the rest of the second period, putting Myers in a 1-0 hole to start the third. Myers took bottom and reversed Stolfi to take a 2-1 lead with 35 seconds left but Stolfi escaped to tie it back up at 2-2. Bucknell was called for stalling before Myers hit the reversal. This would be crucial later.

The match went into overtime. Neither wrestler scored during sudden victory and they went to ride-outs. Myers took bottom first. Stolfi was called again for stalling and Myers was awarded a point (because he had been previously warned for stalling). Myers took a 3-2 lead but couldn't get away and Stolfi took bottom for the second ride-out.

Stolfi got away and the match was tied 3-3 and it was going to double overtime. Once again, neither wrestler scored during the sudden victory overtime and the match went to ride-outs. Then this happened.

Myers will face 6th-seeded Adam Coon of Michigan in the quarterfinals tomorrow for the chance to become a two-time All-American.

Recap

Maryland wrestling had a great day today. 4-3 is pretty good for day one and the Terps still have two wrestlers in the tournament. Myers has a chance to clinch All-American status on Friday morning and Mascola will have to fight Friday morning and evening to make it to Saturday. Maryland finished Thursday in 27th place with 6.0 points.

It was upset city in St. Louis today and All-Americans and seeded wrestlers were dropping like flies. The NCAA finalists at 125 last season didn't even make the quarters this year. In what has become known as "March Matness", brackets were busted in a way that I have never seen before. Chaos reigned in St. Louis on day one of the NCAA Wrestling Championships.