By Dominic Gugliotta
After a 47-3 loss to Penn State last Sunday, The Terrapin wrestling team was unable to get back on the winning track, losing to Illinois 25-18. The Terps kept it close during the match but were unable to come away with the win.
Terps redshirt freshman Brandon Cray took the stage for the first match of the day taking on Illinois’ Travis Piotrowski at the 125-pound weight class. Piotrowski was able to take advantage with an early takedown and a four-point near fall. Cray was unable to comeback from the rough start, and after the first match the Terrapins trailed 4-0.
The second match of the day was about between Maryland’s Jhared Simmons and Illinois’ Dylan Duncan. Simmons was unable to gain control of his opponent and Illinois was able to win via a 16-0 tech fall. After two matches the Terps, trailed 9-0.
After a tough start for Maryland they were able to get the spark they needed with Ryan Diehl and Alfred Bannister. Diehl received the first victory of the day with his huge pin against Dylan Thurston at the 133-pound weight class. This put Maryland on the board, and it only trailed 9-6. Then a very exciting match between Bannister and Illinois’ Eric Barone went to overtime. Bannister was able to get the takedown in sudden death, tying the overall score at 9.
After the score was tied, Maryland sent out Kyle Cochran to take on Kyle Langenderfer at the 157-pound level. After a scoreless opening period, Cochran was eventually pinned and once again Illinois was out in front.
Up next for the Terps was redshirt sophomore Brendan Burnham at the 165-pound weight class taking on Isaiah Martinez of Illinois. Burnham was looking to tie the score up for the Terps. Burnham was unable to get much going against Martinez and Illinois was rewarded their second tech fall of the match. Illinois now took a growing lead of 20-9 into the 174-pound bout.
Looking to get back into the match, the Terps turned to Josh Ugalde. Ugalde led 4-2 through 3 periods and was eventually able to finish off David Riojas by decision in a crucial victory. Illinois still held an 8-point lead at 20-12.
The Terps looked to continue this newfound momentum with Cranford, New Jersey native Niko Cappello. Cappello was up against Emery Parker at the 184-pound class. Parker was able to takedown Cappello several times on his way to a tech near fall victory and a decisive 25-12 lead for Illinois with only two matches left.
Down 25-12, the Terps ended with two victories from David-Brian Whisler and heavyweight Youssif Hemida. Whisler was able to win his match with a sudden victory takedown. Hemida took a hard-fought match into decision and was able to receive the 5-2 victory. Overall, the Terps trailed ended the day with a 25-18 defeat.
The Terps return home on Feb. 11th to take on the Minnesota Golden Gophers inside the Xfinity Center at 2:00 p.m.