The Maryland wrestling team has not won a dual match in almost two months. The Terps (2-12, 0-7 Big Ten) have lost eight straight, culminating in a three-point loss to Indiana on Friday. Other defeats have been more lopsided.
However, coach Kerry McCoy has tried to focus on the positive.
Of the four wins the Terps took against the Hoosiers, three came from the team’s less experienced grapplers — redshirt sophomore 149-pounder Ryan Diehl, redshirt freshman 197-pounder David-Brian Whisler and sophomore heavyweight Youssif Hemida. McCoy believes the contributions from younger wrestlers are encouraging.
“It’s a combination of things,” McCoy said after the match. “It’s work ethic, talent and a desire to win.”
Of Maryland’s 13 wrestlers who have competed in at least three duals, four have winning records. All — 149-pounder Alfred Bannister, 165-pounder Patrick Gerish, Whisler and Hemida — are sophomores or younger.
The Terps have started many underclassmen over the course of the season. Five redshirt freshmen have been consistent starters, and freshman 125-pounder Alex Vargas has also seen time in the lineup.
McCoy has discussed the team’s youth over the course of the season, and after a loss to Rutgers on Dec. 11, he said they will continue to work hard and improvements will come.
“They work at a high level,” McCoy said after the loss to the Scarlet Knights. “There’s always an opportunity to get better. They’re working. They’re training hard. They’re doing the right things. The more they do that, the better the results are.”
At the Terps’ media day in October, redshirt freshman Josh Ugalde, who has seen time starting in the 165-pound weight class, said the grapplers who redshirted last season gained experience in open tournaments while improving their strength. Whisler, who did the same, agreed.
“I noticed this year I’m doing a lot more extra stuff than I did last year,” Whisler said after the Rutgers loss. “I learned that the redshirt season is a lot different than starting, and you have to take it a bit more serious.”
That’s why McCoy was pleased with his young grapplers showings against Indiana.
“[This] week is Senior Night, and we’ve got one senior,” McCoy said. “We’ve got everybody coming back in the future, so it’s important to capitalize on that youth, and make sure we recognize that we’ve got a bright future.”