Rappo Picks up Win on Senior Night in 23-16 Loss to Northwestern

(Photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics)

By Ryan Homler

The University of Maryland wrestling team dropped their ninth straight match Friday night in a 23-16 loss to Northwestern on Senior Night in College Park. 

The Wildcats started out the night with a victory as Anthony Rubinetti took down Michael Beck by a score of 14-2 and put Northwestern up 4-0 early.

The following match proved to be one of the brightest moments for the Terps on Friday. Senior Billy Rappo, in his last bout in College Park, pulled out a 9-1 victory over Jason Ipsarides at 133 to know the score at 4 a piece. The two wrestlers were close heading into the third period, but Rappo took control and won comfortably.

The momentum of Rappo’s win would not last for long as Northwestern followed up with two victories of their own. Alec McKenna took down Ryan Diehl at 141 by a score of 8-3 as Diehl ran out of steam at the end. Adam Whitesell also had a rough night as he was pinned early on by Shayne Oster a 149. Whitesell, who was filling in again for the injured Alfred Bannister, came out a little too aggressive. Oster noticed this and used it against the redshirt sophomore to record a pin and put the Wildcats up 13-4.

Maryland was able to make it close at the half as Justin Alexander at 157 picked up a 7-1 victory in his bout over Ben Sullivan to make the score 13-7 at intermission.

The Terps and Wildcats then continued to trade matches.

Northwestern struck first with a victory from Johnny Sebastian, giving them a 17-7 advantage.

Maryland would then answer with an impressive pin from Josh Ugalde. Ugalde, who usually wrestles at 165 was moved up to 174 for tonight’s bout, and he answered the challenge. He recorded a quick pin early in the first giving him only his second dual meet victory on the season. The score was now 17-13 with the Terps looking for more.

However, Maryland came up empty in this department as Mitch Sliga of Northwestern took care of Maryland’s Idris White in the 184 bout and made the score 20-13. The Wildcats then clinched their victory in the 197 matchup as Jacob Berkowitz defeated David-Brian Whisler 12-6. With 23 points, Northwestern would leave victorious.

This however would not stop Youssif Hemida from picking up a win at 285. A 5-2 win for Hemida allowed the Terps to end on a positive note. He has now won nine of his last eleven matches.

Overall it was another disappointing night for the Terps who cannot seem to find the winning formula. One reason for this could be their inability to finish and wrestle inspired, as senior Billy Rappo alluded to postgame.

“We either need to train more or get a little more heart,” said Rappo when asked about his team’s inability to close out matches.

As for Head Coach Kerry McCoy, there were still positives to be found. The best takeaway he had from tonight was seeing his senior leave victorious.

“It’s awesome,” the coach expressed after the game. “It’s just awesome for him to have the success that he is having.”

What may make Rappo so respected by his coach and fellow players is his work ethic. Even when he was forced to switch weight classes, the senior took the news and went to work.

“We talk about it all the time, a lot of people have reasons to complain, but no one more than Bill,” said McCoy when expressing what impresses him most about Rappo. “But he puts his nose to the grind and comes in everyday and works.”

It seems like there was no better way for Billy Rappo to end his career here at College Park than with an impressive victory.

As for the future of Rappo and the rest of the Terps, they will be back in action Sunday at 2 p.m. against No. 2 Penn State in State College, Pennsylvania. 

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