By: Juan Herrera
It was a rough day for the Terps in Illinois as the Maryland wrestling team lost to Northwestern 34-12 in their Big Ten clash.
Right off the bat, the Terps were in a hole. Redshirt freshman Brandon Cray gave up a pin to No. 12 Sebastian Rivera in the 125-pound matchup. Already trailing 6-0, the Terps continued to struggle through the next few bouts.
In the 133-pound matchup, Northwestern’s Colin Valdiviez made easy work of Maryland’s Jhared Simmons. The Wildcat wrestler earned multiple takedowns and a four-point nearfall to beat Simmons 10-0 after riding time.
Then at 141, Maryland’s Peter Tedesco lost a close match to Northwestern’s Alec McKenna. The Wildcat wrestler got off to an early lead after a takedown in the first period and managed to hold off Tedesco to win the match 3-1.
Already trailing 13-0, things went from bad to worse for the Terps in the 149-pound clash. Redshirt junior Adam Whitesell gave up a pin in the second period to Northwestern’s No. 7 Ryan Deakin. Down 19-0, the Terps needed a spark from someone to turn things around quickly.
Freshman Kyle Cochran turned out to be that spark. The Maryland wrestler dominated Northwestern’s Shayne Oster with four takedowns to win his match 9-3 in the 157-pound matchup. Then at 165, Brendan Burnham was able to squeeze out a win against Northwestern’s Michael Sepke. Thanks to a last-minute takedown, the redshirt sophomore helped cut the Wildcats’ lead to 13.
Just when it seemed like the Terps would get some momentum going, Northwestern’s Johnny Sebastian managed to pin Josh Ugalde late in the third period of their match at 174. With six more points added to their lead, the Wildcats took control of the dual meet.
In the 184-pound matchup, Northwestern’s No. 18 Mitch Sliga defeated Maryland’s Spencer Wood 10-1. Then at 197, Zack Chakonis picked up a tech-fall win over Maryland’s Niko Cappello. Down 34-6, there was no way the Terps could win the match, but junior Youssif Hemida still had a chance to pick up yet another impressive win over a ranked opponent.
The Terp wrestler faced off against Northwestern’s No. 19 Conan Jennings. After a stalemate in the first period, Hemida was able to earn a crucial escape in the second period. With only a one point lead, Hemida closed out the match with a huge takedown in the final period to win the match, 3-0.
Though Northwestern won the match 34-12, there were a few bright spots for the Terps. Cochran and Burnham picked up wins and have continued to show they can step up for Maryland despite being underclassmen. Hemida is also now (8-0) this season and is nationally ranked at No. 12. The heavyweight wrestler continues to beat ranked opponents and has proven he can compete with some of the best in the nation.
Looking ahead, the Terps (3-2, 0-2 Big Ten) will be in action against No. 20 Wisconsin on Thursday, December 7. This Big Ten matchup will kickoff from Madison at 8:00 p.m. EST.