By Ryan Homler and Juan Herrera
Rider 23, Maryland 20
The University of Maryland wrestling team concluded its regular season on Saturday with two road losses at Rider and Drexel.
Maryland started off the day by taking on Rider in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. After junior Michael Beck suffered a tough 6-1 loss to Rider’s JR Wert at the 125-pound weight class, the Terps went on a three match-winning streak.
Redshirt senior Billy Rappo picked up his fifth win in his last six matches after he beat Rider’s Anthony Cefolo in overtime 5-3. Redshirt sophomore Ryan Diehl pinned Rider’s Evan Fidelibus to give the Terps a 9-3 team score lead.
Redshirt sophomore Adam Whitesell also pinned Rider’s 149-pounder Gino Fluri to give the Terps six more points. Although the Terps had a 15-3 lead, their momentum did not last for long.
Maryland’s Justin Alexander dropped his match at the 157-pound weight class and redshirt sophomore Josh Ugalde gave up a pin at 165 pounds. Rider rode their momentum in the next bout where 174-pounder Dean Sherry defeated Maryland’s Josh Ugalde 7-3.
Moments later, Maryland received an unsportsmanlike conduct call and lost a point, so the match was tied 14-14. Afterwards, Rider’s Wayne Stinson made quick work of Idris White and pinned him in less than two minutes.
With a 20-14 lead over Maryland, Rider’s Ryan Wolfe beat David-Brian Whisler 8-3, and secured a win over the Terps. The Broncos allowed Maryland’s Youssif Hemida to pick up a forfeit, but Rider still won the match 23-20.
Drexel 20, Maryland 12
With only a couple of hours between duals, the Terps made an hour-long drive to Philadelphia. The Terps fell to Drexel 20-12, and extended their losing streak to 12-straight matches.
The night started off strong for the Terps. Maryland held a 6-3 lead after three matches. Michael Beck at 125 pounds picked up a much needed victory over Tanner Shoap. Ryan Diehl also earned a victory for the Terps in his 141-pound bout. The loss for Maryland during the first three matches included the flaming hot Billy Rappo. The senior could not maintain his dominance as he fell to No. 11 Kevin Devoy Jr. 6-1 at 133 pounds.
The Dragons and Terps split the next two matches with Maryland’s Justin Alexander coming out victorious at 157 pounds, and Drexel’s No. 18 Matthew Cimato pulled out a win at 148 pounds. With Maryland holding a 9-7 advantage through five matches, it seemed that the Terps could finally end their drought.
Drexel put an end to this notion, and rattled off four-straight victories to clinch the match.
The night did not end on a sour note for the Terps, though, because heavyweight Youssif Hemida pulled out an impressive win over No. 17 Joey Goodhart at 285 pounds, and continued his recent streak of dominance.
The Terps look to turn the tide in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. The Big Ten Championship will take place in Bloomington, Indiana on March 4 and 5, and the NCAA tournament will be in St. Louis, Missouri from March 16 to March 18.