It was a busy weekend for Maryland wrestling. The Terps exceeded expectations at the F&M Open, but were unable to end the weekend on a high, losing their dual meet at home to Illinois and Navy.
Saturday: The F&M Open
Maryland sent its younger wrestlers to the F&M Open at Franklin and Marshall. The Terps did well on the day, highlighted by the performances of Brandon Cray and Adam Whitesell.
Cray won the 125-pound title, going 5-0 at the meet. Cray defeated Gage Curry of American in a close 5-2 decision for the title. In the semifinals, he had a close call against Charles Lenox of NC State, but pulled out the 3-1 win in sudden victory.
Whitesell finished fourth in the 149-pound class. He got knocked out in the semifinals of the championship bracket by Kyle Shoop of New Haven. He then moved to the consolation bracket, advancing to the third-place game before falling to David Charles of Millersville.
The Terps returned to the mat on Sunday as they took on No. 11 Illinois and Navy in the third annual Beauty and the Beast event on the main floor of Xfinity Center.
Maryland vs. No. 11 Illinois
Maryland's first opponent of the day was the Fighting Illini (2-1, 1-1 Big Ten). The Terps weren’t able to get off to a strong start, and despite a late surge, the Terps were no match for the visiting Illini, who won the overall match, 30-15.
No. 16 Alfred Bannister and Youssif Hemida highlighted the early goings for Maryland. Bannister pinned Eric Barone in the first period of his match in the 149-pound class, getting the six points for the Terps. He pulled them within five points at 11-6. Hemida won by medical forfeit after his opponent suffered an eye injury in the first period of their match at 285 pounds.
Maryland vs. Navy
Maryland (2-7, 0-2 Big Ten) would take on Navy (6-0) in their final match of the day. Compared to the match against Illinois, the Terps’ deficit against the Midshipmen was much closer, but a stretch of four straight match wins for Navy secured a 23-16 win.
Bannister and Hemida were again the Terps’ bright spots in the later match of the dual meet, this time joined by Billy Rappo and Michael Beck. Bannister had a much closer matchup, but was able to pull out a 7-3 win by decision against Corey Wilding. Hemida matched Bannister’s pin in the first match by getting one of his own.
Beck redeemed himself against Navy by securing a 7-3 victory in the 125-pound class over Brant Leadbeter. Rappo, after not wrestling in the first match, shut out Cody Lambert 10-0.
The Terps suffered several multi-match losing streaks, but the performances of Bannister and Hemida are positive signs for Maryland going into the meat of their Big Ten schedule.
Next up for the Terps is a trip to Michigan next weekend to face off against the Wolverines on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. and Michigan State on Jan. 15 at 1 p.m. Both contests will be available for streaming on BTNPlus.