Maryland Wrestling falls to No. 12 Rutgers

By: Juan Herrera

The University of Maryland wrestling team lost a close one to No. 12 Rutgers on Sunday at the Xfinity Center Pavilion. The Terps picked up a few impressive wins in the dual meet, but Rutgers’ depth was the key to their 21-13 win.

The Scarlet Knights took control of the dual meet match early on. They won the first match at 125, after Brandon Paetzell beat Maryland’s Alex Vargas 12-4. Rutgers then picked up the win at the 133-pound weight class, where Michael Beck lost to Scott DelVecchio 14-6.

At 141 pounds, Maryland’s Billy Rappo faced of against Rutgers’ No. 6 Anthony Ashnault. Although Ashnault was the aggressor for most of the match, Rappo fought hard to not give up the major decision. Ashnault won the match 5-1 to give Rutgers an 11-0 lead.

The Terps were able to put some points on the board at the 149-pound weight class where No. 12 Alfred Bannister took on Rutgers’ No. 15 Ken Theobold. Both wrestlers fought hard, but Bannister was able to win the match 3-2 after he scored a crucial takedown in the third period.

“When wrestling these guys that are ranked, my mentality was that if I want to reach my goals, I have to go through this guy,” Bannister said. “That was my mentality through the match. By any means, I wasn’t going to lose.”

In the next match at the 157-pound weight class, redshirt junior Justin Alexander put on one of the best performances of his collegiate career when he beat Rutgers’ No. 20 John Van Brill 7-4. Alexander was able to catch Van Brill on his back in the first period to take a 6-0 lead. Van Brill quickly battled back, but Alexander held on to win the match to cut Rutgers’ lead to 11-6.

In the next match, Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy decided to bump up redshirt freshman Danny Boychuck to face Rutgers’ Willie Scott at 165 pounds. Boychuck fought hard, but he could not get a takedown on Scott. The Rutgers wrestler won the match 5-2.

The Scarlet Knights continued their momentum into the next few matches. They won the match at 174 pounds and then at the 184-pound weight class, Rutgers’ No. 12 Nicholas Gravina beat redshirt freshman Idris White, 11-3.

With Rutgers leading 21-6 overall, the Terps bounced back to win the last two matches of the dual meet. At 197 pounds, Redshirt Freshman David-Brian Whisler dominated Rutgers’ Matthew Corrent. He won the match 8-0.

Then in the final match of the dual meet, Maryland heavyweight Youssif Hemida picked up the win against Rutgers’ Marc McDonald. Hemida scored multiple takedowns on McDonald, even putting him on his back in the third period of their match. The sophomore went on to win the match 9-3.

Although the Terps managed to pick up those wins near the end, it was not enough to beat Rutgers. The No. 12 ranked Scarlet Knights won the dual meet match 21-13, handing Maryland their first loss to a Big Ten team this season.

“I think overall, we did a good job,” Coach McCoy said. “We’re not satisfied by any means, but knowing we can compete at a high level every time we go out there against a tough team and put out some good effort, it’s going to make us better toward the end of the year.”

With this loss, Maryland is now (2-7) this season in dual meets. The Terps will be back in action on December 29, when they compete at the Midlands Championships in Evanston, Illinois.