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Maryland Wrestling: Day 1 at the Big Ten Championships

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The herd was thinned in Columbus as Maryland took a beating in Sessions One and Two.

The Big Tens

This is the best and toughest conference tournament in college wrestling. If you don't come ready to wrestle, it will chew you up and spit you out.

125

Josh Polacek fought hard against the eight seed, Luke Welch of Purdue, but fell in his first round match 3-1. He wrestled back against Mitch Rogaliner of Michigan State in the consolation bracket.

Rogaliner dominated the match throughout and the redshirt sophomore ended Polacek's season and Maryland wrestling career with a 17-6 major decision. The Terps were down to nine wrestlers.

133

Geoffrey Alexander got hammered by Iowa's Cory Clark, a kid he had wrestled close and nearly beaten in College Park. Clark won 12-1 and Alexander fell back into the consolation bracket and took on Garth Yenter of Michigan State.

Alexander took control against Yenter and won an 8-2 decision for Maryland's first-ever Big Ten Tournament win. He moved on to the second round of consolation matches where he faced Zane Richards of Illinois, who majored him twice in their two matches this season.

Richards got a first period takedown and rode Alexander for the rest of the period. Richards started the second period on bottom with a 2-0 lead and over a minute of riding time. Alexander erased the riding time advantage but Richards escaped to take a 3-0 lead. Alexander got a takedown towards the end of the period to make it 3-2 heading into the third.

Alexander escaped to tie it up 3-3 but not before Richards built over a minute of riding time. Richards took Alexander down again to take a 5-3 lead and with the riding time point, he had a de facto 6-3 lead. Richards tacked on another two points with a near-fall and won an 8-3 decision. He still had two more matches to determine where he will fall between 9th and 12 place.

Because Alexander beat Yenter, he placed in the top-12 of the weight class. Because the Big Ten gave out 12 automatic qualifying bids at 133, Alexander automatically qualified to wrestle at the NCAA Championships.

Alexander took on Danny Sabatello of Purdue to determine whether he would wrestle for 9th and 10th or 11th and 12th. Sabatello beat Alexander in a 5-2 decision. Alexander will face Dom Malone of Northwestern for 11th and 12th place.

141

Shyheim Brown fell in a 7-2 decision to Anthony Ashnault of Rutgers, a kid that he wrestled close in College Park as well. Brown would face Illinois' Steven Rodrigues in his first consolation match.

Rodrigues controlled the match from start to finish and beat Brown by a 4-1 decision to knock him out of the tournament.

149

Ben Dorsay led much of the way against Nebraska's Justin Arthur. He was up 4-2 going into the second period and led going into the third but gave up a late takedown and lost 5-4.

He took on Kyle Langenderfer, an opponent he beat in the dual match at Illinois, in the consolation bracket. It was 1-1 in the third period and Langenderfer got some revenge on Dorsay with a last-second takedown to win a 3-1 decision.

157

Lou Mascola came out firing in his match against Iowa's Michael Kelly. He put Kelly to his back for five and after being awarded an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, led 6-1 going into the second period. Mascola led 8-4 going into the third and final period. Kelly escaped and took Mascola down. After another escape and takedown, the score was tied 9-9. Kelly had the riding time point and Mascola escaped before the buzzer but the riding time point sent it into overtime.

Neither wrestler scored in the sudden victory period and Kelly managed to ride Mascola out in the first ride-out. Kelly escaped with around four seconds left in Mascola's ride-out and secured the 11-10 win, leaving Maryland scoreless through their first five matches.

Mascola got a bye in the first round of consolations and wrestled Penn State's Luke Frey in his first consolation match of the day.

Mascola took Frey down in the first period to take an early 2-0 lead. Frey escaped with a little over a minute remaining in the first period. Mascola started the second period on top with a 2-1 lead and over a minute of riding time. Frey escaped but Mascola had 1:42 of riding time. Mascola took bottom to start the third period.

Mascola reversed Frey to take a 4-2 lead and rode him for the remainder of the match. With the riding time point, Mascola earned a 5-2 decision victory that put him the consolation semifinals and guaranteed him a spot in the top-eight at 157. The Big Ten is giving out eight automatic bids at 157 so regardless of where he finishes from here on in, Mascola will be wrestling at NCAAs.

Mascola wrestled Brian Murphy of Michigan in the consolation semi-finals and got pinned so he fell into the 7th and 8th place match. He will wrestle Anthony Perrotti of Rutgers.

165

Justin Alexander took over at 165 and took on Indiana's Taylor Walsh. Walsh blanked Alexander 7-0 and Alexander fell to the consolation bracket where he faced Rutgers' Nicholas Visicaro.

Alexander took an early lead and rode it to a 5-3 decision win over Visicaro. He then faced a top-20 ranked opponent in Jackson Morse of Illinois in his second consolation match. Morse took Alexander a little over a minute into the first period. He then turned him for three and took a 5-0 lead into the second period with almost two minutes of riding time.

Morse started the period on top and went to work, turning Alexander again for a three point near-fall. Morse went into the third period up 8-0 with the riding time point locked up. He reversed Alexander to take a 10-0 lead and rode him for the remainder of the match. Morse won 11-0 with just over five minutes of riding time.

Alexander wrestled Garrett Hammond and lost 8-1. He will be wrestling for 11th and 12th place. He will wrestle Nick Wanzek of Minnesota.

174

Josh Snook lost a close 4-1 decision against Zac Brunson in the dual against Illinois. He faced him again in the first round of the Big Tens. Brunson took Snook down in the first period and built up over two minutes of riding time going into the third period. With the riding time point secured, Brunson escaped from bottom and put some distance between himself and Snook. Brunson won an 8-2 decision and Snook fell into the wrestle-backs.

He faced Nick Proctor of Michigan State in his first consolation match. Snook wrestled a very good match and came out on top with a 7-1 decision. He faced a top-15 opponent in Ohio State's Mark Martin in his second wrestle back match.

Martin took Snook down about halfway through the first period to take a 2-0 lead. He then turned Snook for a three point near-fall to take a commanding 5-1 lead going into the second period. Snook started the second period on bottom but had trouble getting away. Martin kept building his lead and led 8-1 heading into the third and final period with the riding time point locked up. Martin started on top and kept his foot on the gas, winning a 13-1 major decision with almost five and a half minutes of riding time.

Snook still had a shot at placing in the top-10 but he needed to beat Chad Welch. If he didn't, he wouldn't get an automatic qualifying bid. Welch ended up beating him 7-0. He will wrestle Phil Bakuckas of Rutgers tomorrow for 11th and 12th place. Bakuckas won by decision in the dual earlier this season.

184

Anthony Gardner faced Wisconsin's Ricky Robertson in the first round. Gardner fought hard against the third seed and got the match's first takedown to take a 2-0 lead in the first period. Gardner took a 2-1 lead going into the second period.

Gardner started on bottom to start to the second period but couldn't escape from Robertson. Gardner led 2-1 entering the third and final period but Robertson had the riding time point. Robertson quickly escaped to start the third period to tie the match 2-2. Robertson had the riding time point locked up and had a de facto 3-2 lead and Gardner failed to score. It was a tough 3-2 decision loss for Gardner and he fell back into the wrestle-backs where he would face Anthony Pafumi of Rutgers.

Pafumi majored Gardner when they wrestled in College Park earlier in the year. The margin was closer this time but Pafumi won 8-2 and Gardner's Maryland wrestling career came to an end.

197

Rob Fitzgerald took on Nathan Burak, an All-American, in his first round match. Burak got the first takedown about midway through the first and rode Fitzgerald out for the rest of the period. Burak escaped quickly to start the second period and took a 3-0 lead over Fitzgerald.

Burak continued to build his lead and went into the third period with a 6-1 edge and the riding time advantage. Fitzgerald was able to close the gap slightly but then Burak stepped on the gas and won by major decision, 14-3.

Fitzgerald faced Nebraska's Aaron Studebaker in his first consolation match. Studebaker had been at 184 for a part of the season and actually beat Maryland's Anthony Gardner at that weight when Maryland traveled to Lincoln for their dual with Nebraska.

Studebaker controlled the match from the outset and won a 6-2 decision to knock Fitzgerald out of the tournament and end his Maryland wrestling career.

Heavyweight

Spencer Myers was Maryland's last hope to avoid going 0-for in the first championship round. A loss would mean that all of Maryland's wrestlers would be in the consolation bracket fighting for their tournament lives.

Myers took on one of the three wrestlers that beat him so far this season, Brooks Black of Illinois. Black won in overtime in their last match and this one went down to the wire as well.

Black took Myers down in the first period and rode him for almost a minute before Myers escaped. Black escaped to start the second period and took a 3-1 lead into the third period. Myers managed to escape before Black could secure the riding time point and it was a 3-2 contest. Myers couldn't get a takedown in the final seconds of the period and Maryland had an 0-10 start in their first ever Big Ten Tournament.

Myers got a bye in the first round of consolations and faced Billy Smith, a wrestler from Rutgers that he had beaten in overtime earlier this season. Myers beat Smith 6-4 and faced Jimmy Lawson in the consolation semifinals. Lawson beat Myers 3-1 in sudden victory overtime. He will have a rematch with Brooks Black for 7th and 8th place.

Recap

At the end of the first championship round, Maryland was in dead last. 14th out of 14 teams. 10 matches and 10 losses. Some were expected but some were very painful, like Dorsay giving up a third period lead, Mascola's overtime loss after leading by four in the third period or Myers getting upset by a kid seeded below him.

Polacek, Brown, Dorsay, Gardner and Fitzgerald all went 0-2. Geoffrey Alexander, Justin Alexander and Josh Snook all won their first consolation match but lost their second matches and were forced to wrestle for 9th-12th. They all lost their first match and will wrestle for 11th and 12th place. Mascola and Myers got byes and won their consolation quarterfinal matches. They both lost in the consolation semi-finals and will wrestle for 7th and 8th place.

Maryland has five more matches tomorrow. They won't have any wrestler place higher than 7th in their first ever trip to the Big Ten. Mascola and Myers will wrestle for 7th and 8th. The brothers Alexander and Snook will wrestle for 11th and 12th.

Bottom Line

Maryland started session two in dead last with 1.5 points, 7.5 behind the next closest team (Michigan State) and five of their wrestlers had already been eliminated from the tournament.

Maryland finished the day with 9.5 points. They are still in last place and they trail Indiana by two and Michigan State by three. Rutgers is ahead by nine. It is going to be very difficult for them to pass Rutgers and they will likely finish in the bottom three in the standings.

After the first round this team was dead in the water points-wise. They were never going to finish in the top half of the conference with their entire squad in the consolation bracket. It looked very bleak when half of their team lost and they were down to five guys.

Maryland's day one looked like this:

First championship round: 0-10

First consolation round: 3-5

Second consolation round: 2-3

Third consolation round: 0-5

That's a first day record of 5-23. That's awful and there is absolutely no way to dress it up.

Luckily Maryland got three wins out of the Alexanders and Snook and two wins out of Mascola and Myers. Snook needed to finish top-10 in order to grab an automatic bid and came up short. However, the Terps have three wrestlers that grabbed automatic bids to the NCAA Tournament. Geoff Alexander finished in the top-12, Lou Mascola finished in the top-eight and Spencer Myers finished in the top-nine. Shyheim Brown has a very good chance to get an at-large bid.

This team was not ready to wrestle. That's on the players and that's on the coach. Coach McCoy said that this team was built for tournament play and they are in dead last right now. Today was an embarrassing performance from Maryland. Tomorrow they will have five matches to try and salvage what's left of this very disappointing tournament.