Maryland wrestling is looking to end its disappointing regular season on a high note with its last two duals against Rider and Ohio University on Sunday.
Both nonconference foes boast just one ranked wrestler apiece, giving the Terps an opportunity to pick up two victories before the Big Ten Championships.
“The team mindset going in is just to finish strong,” 149-pounder Alfred Bannister said. “We have a certain pride about being in the Big Ten; we don’t want to lose to anybody who’s not in the Big Ten because we know we’re the toughest conference.”
Maryland will face off with Rider at 1 p.m. The Broncs (12-4, 5-1 Eastern Wrestling League) were on the lower end of the top 25 rankings earlier this season but are currently unranked.
Ohio has a 4-7 overall record and is 2-5 in the Mid-American Conference. The Bobcats boast one ranked wrestler in 16th-ranked 133-pounder Cameron Kelly.
Having two matches back-to-back could prove physically and mentally taxing, but coach Kerry McCoy said it will benefit his team.
“When you wrestle in a tournament, you could have up to five matches in a day; sometimes in that first round, within two hours, you could have two or three matches, so in that situation it’s a pretty good prep for the end of the year,” he said. “Two matches, one weigh-in, guys get to go out there and compete kind of two for the price of one.”
Heavyweight Youssif Hemida is confident and ready for the challenge.
“These two teams compared to Big Ten competition are kind of a tier below that, so I want to go out there and not be so concerned with the win but more so just putting points on the board,” Hemida said.
Hemida is no stranger to winning, with a 13-1 dual meet record on the season, but he’s eager for his team to get the wins Sunday — a single win would give McCoy his 100th win at Maryland.
“Coming off with two wins would be good for our coach, but also be good for us,” Hemida said. “It feels good to win as a team, not just your matches.”