Maryland starts slow against Princeton, rallies over Columbia in the Grapple at the Garden

By Ryan Homler

The University of Maryland wrestling team overcame a rough start Sunday against Princeton at Madison Square Garden, and finished with an impressive 30-9 win over Columbia University during the fifth annual Grapple at the Garden.

The Terps’ day began with a dual against Princeton University. Maryland took three of the first five matches. Freshman Alex Vargas picked up his first career dual meet victory as a Terp by taking down Ty Agaisse 3-2 in the 125-pound match, and junior Justin Alexander beat Mike D’Angelo 7-6 for his first win of the season. At this point, the Terps held a 9-6 lead over the Tigers at the halfway point.

The biggest match was a bout between No. 13 Alfred Bannister of Maryland and No. 18 Jordan Laster at 149 pounds. The man who many call, “Baby J,” was able to salvage a sudden victory decision in overtime to remain a perfect 8-0 on the season.

However, these victories were not enough for a Terps victory. After Bannister’s clutch performance, Princeton unleashed a string of highly-ranked wrestlers who rattled off five straight bout wins and helped Princeton take the match. The Tigers also came from behind to beat Buffalo later in the day and improve to (2-1) on the season.

With no time to relax after a hard fought matchup with Princeton, Maryland was able to get right back out and sealed its first victory of the season over Columbia by a score of 30-9.

After a tough schedule of ranked opponents to begin the season, senior Billy Rappo picked up his first win at 141 pounds by a score of 14-2. Bannister also improved to 9-0 after picking up a win in a close 5-4 decision.

Freshmen sensation Danny Boychuck picked up his team high 11th victory of the season over Max Elling. Boychuk continues to lead the team in bonus point victories with seven.

Three freshmen, Josh Ugalde (165 pounds), Sam Rowell (174 pounds) and Idris White (184 pounds), all picked up their first collegiate dual match wins with Ugdale pulling out a comeback victory of 10-6 after being down 4-2 late in the second. Freshman David-Brian Whisler (197 pounds) also picked up a 14-4 decision for the Terps final match win of the day.

Maryland is now (1-3) on the season after finishing 1-1 at the Grapple at the Garden for the second straight season. The Terps will be back in action on Friday, December 9 in Fairfax, Virginia. The Terps face off against North Dakota State and George Mason.