Maryland was supposed to beat Michigan State on Sunday afternoon in College Park. The Terrapins have a lineup that is much improved from a season ago and the Spartans continue to be the doormat of Big Ten wrestling. The win didn't come easy, but that might have made Maryland's first-ever Big Ten win even sweeter.
"It feels good to finally get that first win. It's been a long time coming. We were really close last year," said Head Coach Kerry McCoy after the dual.
The secret to success for Maryland was simple. McCoy said there wasn't one. "There's no real secret to it. Guys went out and they wrestled hard."
Here are three things that we learned from the Michigan State-Maryland dual:
1) The freshmen were the difference in the match
Wade Hodges and Brendan Burnham got majors at 149 and 165, Jaron Smith and Garrett Wesneski got decisions at 184 and 197, and Youssif Hemida capped off the dual with a pin. Of Maryland's 26 points, 20 came from the freshmen. They won five of Maryland's seven matches. They were a crucial part of this historic win, and they will continue to be an important part of this program in the coming years.
2) Alfred Bannister is struggling
Bannister didn't wrestle against Nebraska in early December and lost to a really tough top-10 Minnesota wrestler in Tommy Thorn on Friday. He hadn't gotten a win since his decision victory against Drexel on December 5. He lost again Sunday. Bannister won more matches in high school than anyone in Maryland state wrestling history, but he has not made the necessary adjustments to beat college kids who are as good or better than he is. If Bannister doesn't make the fixes, I would not be surprised to see Billy Rappo get more action at 141 pounds.
3) Maryland has a chance to get some more Big Ten wins this season
The Terps will have decent chances to beat Indiana, Purdue and Wisconsin. Those are not dominant teams, but they each have two or three really good wrestlers. If Maryland wrestles to their potential, they could knock off Rutgers too.
The Road Ahead
Maryland will hit the road next week for duals against Indiana and Purdue.