Senior day is a time-honored athletics tradition where the graduating class of a team is honored for their contributions to the program. But what if their contributions as a class weren't noticeable in the sense that most fans didn't get to see what they meant to the program? How are we to look at the careers of Mark Colabucci, RJ De George, Derrick Evanovich, Tyler Manion, and Shane Arechiga?
This team has struggled mightily the past two seasons. This senior class has shared in that struggle.
Some of these seniors have had fine moments, but sadly for most of them, that's all they were. Just moments in time. Only Lou Mascola and Geoffrey Alexander can claim and prove that they have had more than fleeting success.
Shane Arechiga got a decision win and helped Maryland upset Nebraska at the Grapple at the Garden back in December of 2012. They don't win that dual without him. That was his moment.
Josh Snook placed at the Midlands last season. So far, that has been the high point of his career. That was his moment.
Lou Mascola placed at the Midlands and qualified for the NCAA Championships for the first time in his career last season. He upset fifth-seeded Cody Pack, but failed to become an All-American. That win against Pack was his moment.
Geoffrey Alexander is the standout in this senior class. He started as a true freshman and took runner-up at the ACC Championships. Maryland won the ACC Championship that year, and it might stand as the last conference championship that Maryland wins for a long, long time. I can't stress how long it might be until Maryland wins another conference championship.
He is the Kyle John of this senior class. For those of you who don't know who Kyle John is, he wrestled at 157 pounds and finished his career with a 98-52 record. He was a two-time ACC runner-up and won the ACC title as a senior when Alexander was a freshman.
John never came close to becoming an All-American, though he was a three-time NCAA qualifier, but he was incredibly bright and he was an incredible human being. When I think of the best ambassadors of the Maryland wrestling program, two of the first names that come to mind are Kyle John and Geoffrey Alexander.
Maryland vs. Rider
Maryland's senior day dual against the Broncos did not go well. The Terrapins' seniors dropped five of their six matches.
Maryland's loss was made all the more painful not just due to who lost, but how they lost as well. At 133 pounds, Geoffrey Alexander got caught on his back trying to hit a cement mixer. He fell behind, and even though he fought back through the rest of the match, he couldn't complete the comeback.
Lou Mascola lost yet another heartbreaking match to No. 15 Chad Walsh. The script was the same as it was at the Midlands. Mascola had a huge lead on Walsh, but had a mental lapse and got pinned. It was an excruciating loss and was the turning point in the dual.
Tyler Manion got majored at 165. Derrick Evanovich was in a competitive match at 174, but he got taken down on a reshot and pinned in the third period. Mark Collabucci got a decision win at 184 to stop Rider's 16-0 run, but Josh Snook, wrestling up two weight classes at 197, got majored.
Youssif Hemida, Michael Beck and Alfred Bannister all picked up decisions for the Terps, but the focus was clearly on the seniors. It was an emotional afternoon at the Xfinity Center Pavilion, and the crowd departed disappointed that Maryland's seniors wouldn't be sent off as winners in the final dual of their careers.
"It's disappointing," said head coach Kerry McCoy after the dual. "We get a chance to start all over at the Big Ten Championships."
Here are three things we learned from the Maryland-Rider dual:
1) Maryland wrestling ended their regular season not with a bang, but with a whimper
After their first-ever conference win against Michigan State, McCoy was confident that the Terps would be competitive in their remaining duals. The Terrapins came close against Navy, but they got beat badly in most of their other duals leading up to Rider. Losing on senior day is a very disappointing finish for a team that worked harder and is more talented than last year's squad.
2) Bonus points made the difference
Maryland gave up a pin at 157, a major at 165, a pin at 174 and a major at 197. Credit to Josh Snook for wrestling up two weight classes, but he got beat badly. The Broncos scored 20 of their 26 points in four matches. They continued to expose Maryland's lack of talent and depth in their middle and upper weights. This will have to change if the Terps want to have success in the future.
3) The postseason is a whole different animal
The only thing that Maryland's individual wrestlers that will represent the team at the Big Ten Championships need to worry about is how to win. The pressure of team scores is gone. There is no need to cut a guy and chase after a major. Win and move on. Lose twice and you're done.
McCoy encapsulated what the postseason is all about. "The most important thing is getting your hand raised...Winning by one point every match gets you a national title."