Maryland wrestling went 0-10 in their first 10 matches at the Big Ten Championships last season. This year, the Terps went 1-9 to start the tournament. Day One didn't get much better from there for Maryland, and the team sits in last place with 7.5 points.
The Meat Grinder
The Big Ten Championships is the toughest conference wrestling tournament in the country. If you aren't ready mentally and physically, it will chew you up and spit you out. The Terps started the tournament with 10 wrestlers. At the end of Day One, only one remained.
Michael Beck got teched and majored in his two matches. Beck's season is over.
After majoring Alonzo Shepherd, Geoffrey Alexander was upset by Nebraska's Eric Montoya, 6-3. He battled back and defeated Purdue's Luke Welch, 6-0, in his first consolation match, but he fell to Anthony Giraldo of Rutgers, 6-0, in his next match. Alexander will wrestle Ohio State's Johnni DiJulius for seventh and eighth place. By finishing in the top nine in his weight class, Alexander has punched his ticket to the NCAA Championships.
Bannister was leading Jameson Oster in his first match, 5-1, but the lead evaporated in the second period after he got reversed and put on his back. He ended up losing 9-5. After beating Tommy Cash of Indiana, 4-2, Bannister lost to nationally ranked Anthony Abidin of Nebraska. Bannister's season is over.
Hodges lost, 11-5, to Jake Short of Minnesota and then got pinned in his second match by Kyle Langenderfer, a wrestler from Illinois that he beat earlier in the season. Hodges' season is over.
Lou Mascola, who was seeded eighth and was supposed to help lead this team, lost his first match to Brandon Kingsley of Minnesota. He then dropped his second match to Purdue's Doug Welch. Mascola is done at the Big Tens and he'll need an at-large bid to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
After getting majored in his first match, Brendan Burnham beat Dean Vettese to set up a match with Purdue's Chad Welch. Welch, who is ranked in the top 10 in the country, majored him, 8-0. Burnham's season is over.
Josh Snook also got majored in his first match. He beat Michigan State's Shane Shadaia to advance. Snook got pinned by nationally ranked Micah Barnes of Nebraska, but still had a chance to go to the NCAA Championships because there were nine automatic bids given out at 174 pounds. Snook was down 1-0 entering the third period and appeared to send the match into overtime, but a coach's challenge from Minnesota ended up giving Nick Wanzek a 3-1 lead. That 3-1 lead turned into a 5-2 win. Snook's season is over.
Mark Collabucci got majored in his first match. In his next match, Ryan Christensen of Wisconsin, who beat Collabucci earlier in the season, beat him 8-2. Collabucci's season is over.
Garrett Wesneski lost to Nebraska's Aaron Studebaker in his first match and Ohio State's Mark Martin beat him, 5-1, in his first consolation match. Wesneski's season is over.
Youssif Hemida got majored in his first match, but beat Purdue's Tyler Kral in sudden victory overtime to advance. Hemida then lost, 8-1, to top-15 heavyweight Billy Smith of Rutgers. Hemida's season is over.
The Bottom Line
On Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, Maryland wrestling did something that I thought was unthinkable. The team did worse at the Big Ten Championships than they did in 2015.
Maryland's futility at last year's Big Ten Championships was the kind of thing you don't see very often. In fact, Maryland's 10.5 point finish was the third-worst score at the Big Tens in the past 30 years. The Terps have managed to underperform even that very low standard at this year's Big Ten Championships.
The Terps are currently in last place with 7.5 points. They won't even reach last year's paltry total. Even a win in Geoffrey Alexander's last match might not prevent Maryland from doing the impossible-outdoing themselves-and finishing with the second-worst score at the Big Tens in the past 30 years just a year after posting the third-worst score in the past three decades. Saturday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day to be a fan of Maryland wrestling. That is the bottom line.