In Maryland wrestling’s last chance at getting a win in Big Ten dual play, head coach Alex Clemsen and his wrestlers scowled in frustration on the sidelines as they could only put together two bout-wins throughout their dual against No. 24 Northwestern.
Clemsen was stricken with irritation as his team lost by a 28-point margin, falling 37-9 to the Wildcats to complete another season of conference play without a victory. The Terps haven’t won a Big Ten dual meet since Jan. 10, 2016, and not much improved in the head coach’s first season.
The dual meet began at the heavyweight bout. The Terps’ Parker Robinson took on Northwestern’s Jack Heyo with both wrestlers still searching for their first dual win this season.
The first period was stagnant until Heyob scored a takedown with only 13 seconds left in the first period to take a 2-0 lead. Heyob continued to advance his lead in the second period after getting an escape, takedown and two points from nearfall. With an additional stalling point in the third period, Heyob secured Northwestern’s first win and bonus points of the dual with a 9-0 major decision with riding time — clearly not a solid start for the Terps.
The dual switched back to the lightweights for the 125-pound bout featuring Maryland’s Brandon Cray and Northwestern’s No. 10 Michael DeAugustino.
DeAugustino scored the first takedown in the first period and received two more points from tilting Cray to his back. DeAugustino rode out Cray for the entire second period, retaining his 4-0 lead before notching an escape to start the third period with another point. With just seconds left in the match, Cray scored a blast double-leg takedown to minimize his deficit, though he still lost, 6-3.
Maryland struggled immensely over the next bouts, unable to even reach the second period.
Northwestern’s No. 5 Sebastian Rivera wasted no time as he pinned Maryland’s King Sandoval in the first period in the 133-pound bout. Alec McKenna then earned back-to-back pins for Northwestern with his fall by a half nelson over Maryland’s Hunter Baxter in the first period of the 141-pound bout.
Clemsen was irritated in his wrestler’s performances as they gave up six team-points each after getting put to their backs. His wrestlers on the bench stayed quiet as Northwestern continued to dominate the match.
The Wildcats sent out their third ranked wrestler, No. 18 Yahya Thomas, to face Maryland’s Ryan Garlitz in the 149-pound bout. Yahya kept Garlitz scoreless through three periods and scored another set of bonus points for Northwestern to win his 9-0 major decision with riding time. Yahya scored a total of two takedowns, a reversal, an escape and a point for a technical violation on Garlitz.
After intermission, Northwestern continued its shutout performance in the 157-pound bout. Wildcat’s best wrestler, No. 1 Ryan Deakin, pinned Maryland’s Lucas Cordio in an arm-bar.
Yet again Clemsen looked fiery as another one of his Terps was rolled to their backs, even against the No. 1 wrestler in the country.
“Lack of effort,” were Clemsen’s only words as to why three of his wrestlers got pinned throughout the dual.
The 165-pound bout brought more struggles for the Terps as they dropped yet another close loss. Maryland’s Kyle Cochran gained the first lead of the match over No. 18 Shayne Oster with a takedown to put him up 2-0, but he committed an illegal hold to give Oster a point, which the Wildcat followed up by scoring an escape and a takedown to close out the first period with the lead.
Cochran earned an escape in the second period, but also suffered a takedown, putting the score at 6-3 in favor of Oster going into the third and final period.
A questionable takedown by Oster in the third advanced his lead 8-3 and left Clemsen frustrated at the referees on their call. Clemsen challenged the takedown and questioned the referees but was left in dismay as the call stood firm. Oster won by a 9-3 decision with riding time over Cochran.
In the 184-pound bout, a scramble situation tweaked Maryland’s Kyle Jasenski’s knee. Jasenski tried to fight through the pain but ended up injury defaulting out of the bout, giving Northwestern’s Jack Jessen the victory — another six-point bout for the Wildcats.
Maryland’s biggest win of the dual came in the final 197-pound bout from Jaron Smith’s upset over Northwestern’s No. 16 Lucas Davidson. Smith lost the initial lead as Davidson took him down quickly into the first period, but he answered with a quick stand-up cutaway for an escape point.
Then in a burst of energy, Smith took Davidson down right to his back. Smith locked his legs in and put Davidson in double-grape vines, from which he could not escape to give the Terp a win by fall in the first period to upset his ranked opponent.
Smith jolted up quickly flexing and pointing to the roaring Beauty & the Beast crowd in excitement after his big win.
“I was just really excited,” Smith said. “My family [was] in the crowd, the fans [were] in the crowd and they were really looking for a moment to get excited too... So I was happy I could give the fans and my teammates something to cheer about at the end.”
Even with the overall team loss Clemsen was glad to see Smith finish off the match on a positive note.
“Jaron is super capable of big moments,” Clemsen said. “We’ve seen that a couple times this year. He’s [Smith] had opportunities to do that of course in other matches and didn’t quite get it done. So its good to see him get back on track with that.”
Maryland’s only other win came in the 174-pound bout when Philip Spadafora shut out Northwestern’s Ankhaa Enkhmandakh in a 4-0 decision with riding time. With the score notched at 0-0, Philip Spadafora escaped in the second period and scored a takedown on Enkhmandakh to gain a 3-0 lead. The third period brought no more points for either wrestler, giving Maryland just its second win in another blowout loss.
Three things to know
1. Terps finish 0-9 in Big Ten play. Sunday’s match was Maryland’s last chance to earn a Big Ten dual win in the 2019-2020 season. Their last and only conference win since joining the Big Ten came over four years ago when the Terps defeated Michigan State on Jan. 10, 2016.
2. Smith upsets No. 16 Lucas Davidson. With his victory today, Smith advances to 5-4 in Big Ten dual play. This upset over ranked Davidson will help Smith in his standings when it comes to the Big Ten Championships, giving him a higher seed in the 197-pound bracket. The Big Ten Championships are set to be held March 7-8 in Piscataway, New Jersey.
3. Terps to host double-header weekend. The Terps stay in College Park for one last weekend as they wrestle George Mason on Friday at 7 p.m. and Rider at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Maryland’s previous encounter with Rider on Jan. 11 resulted in a 8-24 loss at the Virginia Duals. The Terps will hope to notch their first win at home in their final weekend of dual play.