Maryland trailed Purdue 18-16 with the final bout coming up. The Terps’ final wrestler, No. 25 Jaron Smith in his last Big Ten home dual.
Smith struck quickly earning a takedown in the first period. Smith added an escape point in the second. When time finally expired in the bout Smith shot his hands in the air amidst the roar of the Pavilion crowd. Smith won the bout 3-2.
“I wanted to make a difference for my team and to be able to do that against a Big Ten team and for it to be on a senior night is just added bonus. It’s just, fantastic is the only word for it,” said Smith
The Terps beat Purdue, 19-18. The program’s first Big Ten dual win since 2016. The win was also the first Big Ten win of the Alex Clemsen regime.
When asked about winning his first Big Ten dual, Clemson said “you don’t have to ask anymore,” smiling, referring to all the questions of when or if this win would come.
Jaron Smith was one of three Terps honored on senior night. Maryland recognized the contributions Smith, Lucas Cordio, and Zach Spence have made to the program.
The Terps came into the matchup sporting a losing streak of five duals. During this dismal streak they only scored double-digit points in one dual.
One positive for Maryland, No. 13 Jaxon Smith made his return to the lineup after missing the last five duals.
The match started with a top-ranked bout between No. 15 Braxton Brown and No. 3 Matt Ramos. Brown appeared to start the bout with a takedown, which Ramos countered with a reversal, but the refs took both scoring plays away.
After that point in the first period, the bout was controlled by Ramos. Ramos scored three points in the second period and added five more in the third to win the bout 10-3, serving Brown his first dual loss of the season.
The 133 bout was all zeros heading into the third period. Dustin Norris got free of King Sandoval’s grasp to earn an escape point. Norris followed that up with a takedown, winning the bout 3-0.
Kal Miller couldn’t change the tide of the dual in his bout against No. 13 Parker Filius. Filius had three takedowns in the bout, winning by decision, giving the Boilermakers a 9-0 team score lead.
No. 18 Ethen Miller finally got the Terps on the board in his bout against Jaden Reynolds. Miller dominated the third period scoring nine points to win the bout by major decision, 12-1.
The 157 bout ended in the first period. No. 6 Kendall Coleman earned a takedown against Michael North. As North was jockeying for position on the mat Coleman took advantage, flipping North, earning the fall victory.
At intermission, the Terps were facing a 15-4 deficit. Maryland needed a substantial comeback effort if they intended to win the dual.
Down 5-4 in double overtime, John Martin Best was running out of time to earn a win. Purdue wrestler Cooper Noehre was riding Best near the Maryland bench, when Best rolled over on top of Noehre, earning the reversal.
Best won his bout 6-5 kicking off the comeback effort.
“I told the guys in the locker room. They were so down and I liked that because it’s important to them. But dual meets have momentum and energy,” said head coach Alex Clemsen. “I said we went on runs last year. And we can do that again this year. We got to win four or five. We just need one to get us started.”
Dom Solis followed Best’s exhilarating bout with one of his own. Going into the third period Solis trailed Brody Baumann 4-1. Solis worked quickly, earning an escape point as the period began.
As the bout was winding down Baumann was called for his second stalling awarding a point for Solis. Solis capitalized on the opportunity to win striking for a late takedown winning the bout 5-4.
Kevin Makosy couldn’t keep the winning going losing his bout by the decision to Ben Vanadia.
Heading into the final two bouts Maryland trailed Purdue, 18-10.
Jaxon Smith put six on the board in his bout against Hayden Filipovich. Smith pinned Filipovich two minutes into the first period.
“I saw the team score and going into break Clemsen said we needed something special. That’s the mindset I had going into the match looking for bonus points and it played out,” said Jaxon.
The Terps will try and harness this momentum into their final Big Ten dual of the season against No. 1 Penn State.