Maryland wrestling’s odds of winning a single match seemed to be dim as it took on a stacked No. 3 Ohio State. This doubt was shattered early on in the second match when King Sandoval upset the Buckeye’s No. 21 Jordan Decatur in the 133-pound bout.
Sandoval started the match with a six-point throw that Decatur never recovered from. Decatur tried to fight back throughout the remaining two periods earning three takedowns and one reversal, but was unsuccessful in gaining the lead as Sandoval stole a 10-8 upset.
“He has had a chance at a couple upsets this year,” head coach Alex Clemsen said. “Luckily he was able to hang on for the win. I wasn’t happy with the presentation of the victory, but wins are wins.”
But the Terps struggled to even remain competitive from there, losing every other match — including two major decisions, two pins and four technical falls — Friday night in a 43-3 defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes.
“We have to wrestle harder, this team tried to rip our heads off and we could not find any fight,” Clemsen said. “We did not go out and give our best effort, we cheated ourselves.”
The first match started off in a scare as just 13 seconds into the first period, 125-pound Buckeye Malik Heinselman was accidentally choked unconscious in a move by Maryland’s Brandon Cray that was quickly called potentially dangerous.
After a moment of recovery, Heinselman regained his health and was able to score a takedown in the final seconds of the first period. The Buckeye went on to score another takedown and reversal in the remaining two periods to defeat Cray 7-2 with riding time.
Maryland’s Hunter Baxter had a tough matchup as he faced No. 1 Luke Pletcher in the 141-pound bout. Pletcher wasted no time on the mat as he went up 12-1 over Baxter before pinning by a cowboy catcher just 1:57 into the first period.
The Buckeyes followed up Pletcher’s match with No. 2 Sammy Sasso’s dominant 23-8 technical fall over Maryland’s Ryan Garlitz with just 18 seconds left in the final period. Sasso recorded a total of 10 takedowns on Garlitz throughout the 6:42 of wrestling.
The 157-pound match began with a controversial takedown for the Buckeye’s Quinn Kinner. The referees first waved off Kinner’s takedown, which led to a takedown for Maryland’s Lucas Cordio. But after Ohio State’s head coach Tom Ryan threw his challenge brick, the officials reversed the call in favor of Kinner.
Up 2-0, Kinner went on an offensive spree. He only allowed Cordio to escape once as he proceeded to take him down and receive a total of 12 back points through three moves — two leg turks and an arm-bar tilt. Kinner won by a 16-1 technical fall just 2:33 into the first period.
After intermission, Ohio State returned in an aggressive manner with another one of its ranked wrestlers. No. 13 Ethan Smith secured the Buckeye’s fourth set of bonus points with his 20-7 major decision, with riding time, over Maryland’s Kyle Cochran in the 165-pound bout.
Smith started the match with a lot of momentum going up 11-2 in the first period after scoring three takedowns and a four-point near-fall from a leg turk. Smith tried to win by a technical fall, but Cochran held the Buckeye to a 20-7 major decision with riding time — just one takedown shy of a technical fall.
The only ranked matchup of the night featured Maryland’s No. 24 Philip Spadafora against Ohio State’s No. 7 Kaleb Romero in the 174-pound bout. Romero’s offense was too tough for Spadafora to combat in the Buckeye’s 13-4 major decision victory with riding time. Romero scored six takedowns on Spadafora, only allowing the Terp to escape four times throughout the match.
Ohio State received its third technical fall of the night in the 184-pound bout. No. 24 Rocky Jordan was physical and dominant over Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski in his 18-2 technical fall in the second period after 4:55 of wrestling.
Jordan kept Jasenski on the mat for a majority of the match as the Terp only earned a total of two escapes. He was powerful from neutral and on top, scoring a total of eight points from near-falls, three takedowns and one reversal in his 18-2 technical fall.
The Buckeye’s second No. 1 ranked wrestler competed in the 197-pound bout. No. 1 Kollin Moore did not let anyone confuse his status in his quick pin over Maryland’s Niko Cappello 2:35 seconds into the first period, advancing his record to a flawless 21-0 on the season.
Ohio State and Maryland concluded their dual with Terp Parker Robinson and Buckeye No. 23 Gary Traub’s heavyweight battle. The matchup once again went in favor for the Buckeyes as Traub gave them their fourth and final technical fall by winning 24-9 just 5:55 into the match. Traub’s gas tank never depleted in his relentless ability to takedown Robinson over-and-over again until the match was stopped in an all-around tough night for the Terps.
“Even when you’re out-gunned and out-manned, or you’re down, you have to fight more,” Clemsen said. “This world is an unforgiving place... We didn’t find a way of finding our way through the fight, and we have to do a better job at that.”
Three Things to Know
1. The losing streak extends to eight. The Terps remain winless (now 0-6) in Big Ten play and 2-12 overall. With the end of the regular season in sight, the chance to earn a conference win is slowly coming to an end. The only three remaining duals Maryland will have in the Big Ten are against No. 2 Penn State (Feb. 2), Illinois (Feb. 9) and No. 21 Northwestern (Feb. 16).
2. Ohio State had the advantage with ranked wrestlers. The Buckeyes’ individual matchups were heavily favored as their stacked roster showed. Their roster consisted of eight ranked starters, two of which sat at No. 1. The only weight classes where the Buckeyes did not have a ranked wrestler were 125 and 157 pounds. Maryland only had one ranked wrestler, No. 24 Philip Spadafora at 174-pounds, but it didn’t make any difference.
3. No. 2 Penn State is next on Maryland’s schedule. The Terps will travel to State College, Pennsylvania to take on the Nittany Lions next. The Terps will need to bring their best performance on Sunday as they continue on with a tough weekend of competition.