While Maryland wrestling fell, 25-18, to No. 15 Illinois on Sunday, the meet marked the Terps’ best Big Ten performance of the season. Both teams took five matchups, but Illinois pulled away.
The meet was Maryland’s closest margin of loss this season at eight points. Maryland’s previous closest margin was a 22 point defeat at Northwestern on Dec. 2.
The Terps (4-10, 0-8 Big Ten) didn’t record points on only two matchups against the Fighting Illini (5-3, 4-2). Both were at the start of the meet.
125 pounder-Brandon Cray lost to Illinois’ No. 18 Travis Piotrowski, 14-0, after three periods, followed by Dylan Duncan’s second period pin to take down Jhared Simmons, 16-0, in the 133 class.
Illinois’ only other large victories were technical falls by two of their top ranked wrestlers. No. 2 Isaiah Martinez won by fall over Brendan Burnham, 22-7, in the 165 weight class and No. 6 Emery Parker fell Niko Cappello in the third period of the 184 weight class.
Maryland also won two duals to overtime against Illinois.
In the 149 weight class, Terp Alfred Bannister and Eric Barone were tied, 3-3, in the third period. Bannister recorded the first takedown earlier in the matchup, but two escapes by Barone and a stalling out of bounds by Bannister evened the score. Bannister used a spin move from behind to takedown Barone in overtime.
197 pounder-David-Brian Whisler’s extension against Andre Lee was even closer. After escapes from both wrestlers, the dual was tied, 1-1, in the third period. Whisler had a takedown in the overtime period to win, 3-1.
Ryan Diehl recorded Maryland’s most dominating win against Dylan Thurston in the 141 matchup. Diehl started up two points with an early takedown and then pinned Thurston to win in the first period.
Maryland also won in the 174 and heavyweight classes, both by decisions in the third period. 174 pounder-Josh Ugalde took an 9-6 decision against David Riojas, and heavyweight No. 7 Youssif Hemida had a 5-2 decision against Deuce Rachal in the third period.