By Juan Herrera and Ryan Homler
The Maryland Terrapins’ wrestling team close out the regular season Saturday with two matches on the road against Drexel and Rider. Unlike previous dual meet matches this season, the Terps will be facing off against both of their opponents in separate states at different times.
For the first bout, the Terps will travel to Lawrenceville, New Jersey to take on Rider at 3 p.m. Afterwards, the Terps will have to make a short drive to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where they will face off against Drexel at 7 p.m.
Heading into the match, the Terps have really struggled to find their footing. Since picking up a win over George Mason in early December, the Terps have dropped 10 straight matches.
“At this point of the year we’re just focusing on getting our guys ready for the post season,” Maryland head coach Kerry McCoy said. “We don’t overlook any competition, but we want to finish off the dual-meet season strong and we’ve got some individual opportunities in these matches.”
Rider enters the match this weekend with an (11-1) overall record. The Broncos have a strong and experienced lineup featuring three wrestlers ranked by InterMat Wrestling.
Redshirt junior Chad Walsh is ranked No. 5 at the 165-pound weight class. Redshirt senior Ryan Wolfe is ranked No. 13 at 197 and redshirt junior B.J. Clagon is ranked No. 18 at 157.
Drexel (11-6) also have three ranked wrestlers on their roster. Redshirt seniors Kevin Devoy Jr. and Matthew Cimato are both ranked within the top 20. Devoy Jr. is ranked No.11 at 133-pounds, while Cimato is ranked No. 18 at 149 pounds. Junior Joey Goodhart is also ranked No.17 at the heavyweight weight class.
In Maryland’s last match against No. 2 Penn State on the road, 133-pounder Billy Rappo was the only Terp to win a match. The redshirt senior managed to pick up a pin over Tristan Law in the second period of their match.
Rappo has picked up four wins in his last five matches. The 133-pounder is looking to close out the regular season on the right foot.
“These last two matches are against some pretty tough kids,” Rappo said. “Getting two wins here would really boost my confidence going into the Big Ten Tournament.”
One other potential bright sport for the Terps heading into these final matches is No.15 ranked Alfred Bannister. The redshirt sophomore has not competed for the Terps since his win over Michigan State’s Nick Trimble in mid-January, but he could make his return from injury in one of these final matches.
“If he’s ready to go this weekend, we’re going to give him a shot,” coach McCoy said. “But we got to make sure he’s ready to go and not sacrificing the post season for a couple of dual meets.”
After these two matches the Terps will have about two weeks to prepare for the Big Ten Championship in Bloomington, Indiana. This tournament will run from March 4 to March 5.