After splitting matches against North Dakota State and George Mason, the Maryland wrestling team (2-5, 0-1 Big Ten) opened their home schedule and Big Ten season on Sunday against their toughest opponent of the season thus far: No. 12 Rutgers.
Despite a better showing from Maryland over last season’s match-up, the Scarlet Knights (6-1, 1-0) came out on top, winning 21-13.
125 pounds: Alex Vargas v. Brandon Paetzell. Vargas trailed early and wasn’t able to recover, though he kept the first period close at 3-2. Paetzell ended up winning comfortably, 14-6, giving first blood to Rutgers at 4-0.
133 pounds: Michael Beck v. Scott DelVecchio. Beck was moved up from the 125-pound class. DelVecchio dominated throughout, winning in major decision, 14-6, putting Rutgers up 8-0.
141 pounds: Billy Rappo v. #6 Anthony Ashnault. Rappo fought a very even match against Ashnault. This match was supposed to be much more lopsided in Ashnault’s favor, but Rappo fought hard. Other than a takedown and a few reversals, nothing much happened, and Ashnault ended up winning by decision, 5-1.
149 pounds: #12 Anthony Bannister v. #15 Ken Theobold. This top-20 matchup was even-fought throughout. Neither gave up much, with only a few escapes separating the two. Bannister ended up gaining the slight edge over Theobold, winning 3-2, giving the Terps their first points of the overall match, 11-3.
157 pounds: Justin Alexander v. #20 John Van Brill. This was the surprise matchup of the game. Like Ashnault, Van Brill was supposed to coast to an easy win. However, Alexander caught Van Brill on his back early on in the first period, almost earning the upset pin. However, those four points he earned turned out to be the deciding points of the match as Alexander earned the 7-4 upset, bringing the Rutgers lead down to five, at 11-6.
165 pounds: Danny Boychuck v. Willie Scott. Unlike the last two matches for the Terps, Boychuck wasn't able to get any takedown points. The match, like the ones pervious, was close. However, Scott had the edge and won, 5-2, giving Rutgers a 14-6 lead.
174 pounds: Sam Rowell v. Phillip Bakuckas. The freshman Rowell put up no offense against Bakuckas, only getting two escape points. On the other side, Bakuckas was able to get several takedowns, including back points, giving him the 8-2 win and Rutgers the 17-6 overall lead.
184 pounds: Idris White v. #12 Nicholas Gravina. From the outset, Gravina had control and he never gave it up. He won comfortably, 11-3, thanks to a few takedowns and reversals, to put Rutgers up 21-6 in the overall match.
197 pounds: David-Brian Whisler v. Matthew Correnti. Maryland got some life back as Whisler shut out Correnti 8-0. Whisler, one of the Terps’ best wrestlers this season, gave Correnti nothing and played offense the entire match. He put out one of the best performances of the overall match for the Terps.
Heavyweights: Youssif Hemida v. Marc McDonald. For the first two periods, the match was very close, but in the third period, Hemida caught McDonald on his back and won four decisive points that would give him the 9-3 win.
Overall, the Terps kept it close against the ranked Scarlet Knights, which is a positive sign for the rest of the season. Several players were bumped up to higher weight classes as the team was short-handed on the day, and they kept their matches tight, but weren’t able to pull them out in the end.
The Terps pulled out four match wins Sunday, an improvement from last year’s matchup against the Scarlet Knights, but they were unable to get the decisive points to gain the upset over Rutgers.
After an elongated break, the Terps will travel to Northwestern on Dec. 29 for the Midlands Championships.