As the Maryland wrestling team readied to start its dual season against the freshmen-heavy Penn Quakers on Sunday, redshirt freshman Kyle Jasenski prepared to make his mark on the college level.
The 184-pounder was first up on the mat, tasked with securing an early lead for the Terps in his first dual bout. And while Maryland struggled overall, Jasenski impressed in the first meet of the campaign.
With a tight contest against Penn’s Ryan Farber, Jasenski battled through a late comeback attempt and with an acrobatic move, preserved his first-career dual win. The Schenectady, New York, native served as a bright spot during a season-opening defeat for the Terps.
“It means a lot,” Jasenski said. “I put in a lot of hard work with my teammates and a lot of effort in the practice room. It just really means a lot.”
[Read more: Maryland wrestling drops season-opener to Penn, 26-6]
Jasenski came out hot, getting a takedown just 11 seconds into the match. He managed to score two takedowns in the first period alone, but Farber escaped both times.
In the second period, the pace slowed down considerably, and Jasenski remained locked in a close bout. Farber grabbed Jasenski’s left leg with 40 seconds remaining in the period. However, Jasenski held on and didn’t surrender any points, providing him an opportunity to break the match open in the third period. With a takedown, he went ahead, 7-3.
Farber didn’t give up, storming back to get within one point. With 10 seconds left in the match, Farber shot in one final time. He lunged for Jasenski’s right leg, toppling the 184-pounder. But with three seconds remaining, Jasenski did the splits, getting his foot out of bounds to prevent a takedown and maintain his 7-6 advantage.
“He did a great job,” head coach Kerry McCoy said. “He went out there, scored a lot of points and kept his poise. I’m excited that he was able to go out there and get his first win.”
Despite Jasenski’s success, Maryland lost, 26-6, in the early-season encounter. But McCoy focuses on the positives in the defeat, and Jasenski’s outing is one of them.
“We were better than what we performed,” McCoy said. “Our guys are working hard and they had some really good training the past couple weeks, but we can still fine tune some stuff.”
Jasenski, who will likely split time with fellow 184-pounders Niko Cappello and Jaron Smith, compiled a 15-13 record while redshirting last year. After a season-opening dual meet win, though, Jasenski could be nearing a breakout campaign.
“I’m going to continue to work hard,” Jasenski said, “and continue to push.”