By Juan Herrera
After dropping their matches against Rutgers at the start of the season, two of Maryland’s younger wrestlers bounced back against Campbell and George Mason on Sunday.
Redshirt freshman Brandon Cray and freshman Kyle Cochran both picked up two wins at home for the Terps in their doubleheader.
Cray was able to get the Terps off to a hot start against Campbell. He took on freshman Korbin Meink and was able to pin the Campbell wrestler for six quick points. It was Cray’s first win of the season.
“You can’t start off better than a pin,” Cray said. “I got us rolling in the right direction early and we just took off from there.”
Four matches later, Kyle Cochran took on Campbell sophomore Austin Kraisser, an accomplished wrestler who won three consecutive state championships for River Hill High School in Maryland.
Cochran was able to get a quick takedown against Kraisser to take an early 2-0 lead. Although Kraisser later earned an escape, Cochran was able to get a point from riding time and a takedown in final period that put the match out of reach for Kraisser. The Maryland freshman won the match 6-1.
After Maryland heavyweight Youssif Hemida beat Campbell’s Jere Heino the team score was tied 19-19, so the match had to be decided by criteria.
Since Cray picked up a pin in his match at 125, the Terps received a bonus point that was enough to beat Campbell, 20-19. The redshirt freshman came up big for the Terps.
Although the match against George Mason was much more one-sided for Maryland, both Cray and Cochran had tough bouts.
Cray took on George Mason’s Ibrahim Banduka at 125. The Terp wrestler trailed 3-1 after two periods but fought back in the third. Cray was able to takedown Banduka and turned him on his back for four near fall points. Leading 7-6, Cray was able to hold off Banduka for the win.
“No matter who you’re facing, a win at this level is a big deal,” Cray said. “I’m just going to keep piling them on.”
Later on, Cochran took on George Mason’s Creed Lumpp and got off to a quick start with four takedowns in the first period. Cochran was able to close out the match to win 15-9 with a couple of takedowns in the final period.
“Our young guys are doing a great deal,” McCoy said. “They’re not taking a back seat to these older guys and they’re really ready to go out there and do what it takes to be the best.”
In order for the Terps to improve on from where they were last year, they’re going to need younger wrestlers to step up. Picking up two wins will only be a confidence boost for Cray and Cochran moving forward.
The Terps wrestling team will be back in action on Nov. 18, when they take on Stanford on the road.