Maryland wrestling heavyweight Youssif Hemida strode to the scorer’s table and the referee rose his arm. Hemida, ranked No. 10, hadn’t yet wrestled his counterpart, Iowa’s No. 6-ranked Sam Stoll.
There were scattered boos from fans at Xfinity Center as the main event between top-10 wrestlers likely destined for the NCAA tournament was called off. But with a commanding lead in the match, Iowa forfeited the final bout to earn a 40-6 win over Maryland.
The No. 7 Hawkeyes, who are the highest-ranked team the Terps have faced this year, won each of their other bouts against Maryland wrestlers. The Terps are still without a conference victory since the 2015-16 campaign as they dropped their third straight contest.
“A lot of these guys, it’s the first time ever wrestling against Iowa, and you grow up thinking about Iowa wrestling,” coach Kerry McCoy said. “I think a lot of these guys just kind of took a backseat, said, ‘This is Iowa wrestling, one of the most storied programs in the history of college wrestling,’ and they went out there expecting the guys to run over them.”
After Iowa’s Phillip Laux beat Jhared Simmons in a major decision to establish a 7-0 lead for the Hawkeyes, Maryland’s 12th-ranked Ryan Diehl had an opportunity to narrow the deficit.
Diehl held a 7-5 advantage with about 30 seconds remaining in his third period against Carter Happel. But a takedown and an extra point for riding time by the Iowa redshirt freshman, who made his Big Ten debut Friday against Rutgers, reversed fortunes with seconds to go and earned him an 8-7 win.
“Early on, I was pushing the pace,” Diehl said. “Once I got the lead, I hung back, you know? They say never wrestle on the edge, and I feel like that’s what I did.”
Diehl lost his first individual match of the season Thursday to No. 20 Wisconsin, and followed it with the tightest defeat of the afternoon against Iowa, a squad with five ranked wrestlers in Sunday’s lineup.
Iowa’s dominance was on display as No. 8 Cash Wilcke established a 12-2 edge over Niko Cappello in the first round. Wilcke reached a technical fall win in the second period.
Hemida, who was 9-0 entering Sunday’s fixture, earned Maryland’s only points without wrestling due to the Hawkeyes’ forfeit. Hemida has been a bright spot for the Terps through a rough spell of Big Ten matches, earning wins in Maryland’s first two conference matches.
McCoy remembered that when Hemida was a freshman, he forfeited a bout against Iowa with the match lopsided in the Hawkeyes’ favor to avoid an unnecessary injury. McCoy thought similar thinking may have factored into Iowa’s decision to forfeit Stoll.
“I know Youssif was looking forward to it,” McCoy said. “But that shows the level of respect that they have for him, that they didn’t want to go out there and wrestle him if [Stoll’s] not ready to go or whatever the case may be. It shows how much they respect Youssif, so I know he should be proud about that.”