Maryland wrestling opted to not participate in the Midlands Tournament on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30, deciding to rest its wrestlers for the Virginia Duals on Friday and Saturday.
The Terps entered the tournament unseeded and faced No. 3 seed Fresno State to start things off Friday morning. Maryland came out on top, 22-18, and was the only unseeded team to win a dual meet on the opening day, setting up an opportunity to reach the tournament’s championship match.
However, things spiraled out of control on Saturday for the Terps, who finished sixth in the tournament after three consecutive dual losses.
The day began against No. 2-seeded Rider, which had just come off a 47-3 thrashing of Duke on Friday.
Maryland put up a fight against the Broncs, losing just 24-8 while not surrendering any bonus points, but it came out flat and couldn’t capitalize on Friday’s success.
The lightweights had little-to-no success, with 149-pounder Michael Doetsch being the lone Terps wrestler to win a decision in the first five bouts. But what was a 12-3 deficit going into the intermission could’ve been 9-6.
In the 157-pound bout, Jahi Jones had a 3-1 lead over No. 7 Jesse Dellavecchia going into the third period. However, his advantage quickly slipped away as Dellavecchia outscored him 4-1 in the third to take the bout in a close 5-4 decision.
Kyle Cochran and Kyle Jasenski were the other two wrestlers who won their bouts for the Terps, and for Cochran, it was the first of what would be a big day in a big weekend for him.
After Cochran’s 6-0 decision victory, Maryland was hit with a team point deduction — its third of the season — via disqualification. Also, Philip Spadafora fell short in his match, losing an 11-6 decision — his third-straight dual loss overall.
The Terps were in a spot to potentially reach the third-place game, but they needed to top Kent State to get there. While Maryland was more competitive, coach Alex Clemsen’s squad fell into a 6-0 hole after two bouts for the second-straight dual.
The next two bouts featured pins — one from each team — starting with 149-pounder Kody Komara, who ended proceedings in the first period against Doetsch. Maryland 157-pounder Lucas Cordio, who started the Terps’ last two matches over Jahi Jones, recorded a pin in the first period of his dual to close his team’s deficit to 12-9.
Cochran and Jasenski won their respective matches, Cochran’s third-straight dual win in the tournament, to tie the meet up at 15-15.
But things began to fall apart for the Terps as Spadafora lost his fourth-straight bout, Jaron Smith lost a major decision and Parker Robinson was pinned. Maryland subsequently lost, 25-15, and was slotted to wrestle in the fifth-place match.
Maryland battled Old Dominion in its final dual of the weekend, and it got off to a better start early on. Cray opened up the match by dropping an 8-2 decision to No. 16 Killian Cardinale, but 133-pounder King Sandoval picked him up, landing his second pin of the weekend on Shannon Hanna to put the Terps up 6-3.
From there, the Terps slowly tried building their lead as 141-pounder Hunter Baxter won his second-consecutive match, a 6-4 decision over Yarhoski Aldiva to stretch the lead to 9-3.
Old Dominion tied the score at 9-9 after two-straight decision wins, but Cochran once again helped to right the ship. He finished a 4-0 tournament with an 8-0 major decision over Shane Jones. And Spadafora, who was 0-3 on the weekend, got on the winning side with a 6-2 decision over Alex Cramer.
With three bouts left, Maryland had a 16-9 advantage, needing one win to secure the dual. However, the first two matches didn’t go the Terps’ way, as a 9-2 decision loss from Jasenski and a narrow 3-2 loss from 197-pounder Jaron Smith tightened the scoreline.
The weekend came down to heavyweight Parker Robinson with Maryland narrowly leading 16-15. But Robinson came up short, dropping a 7-0 decision as Maryland would lose the match, 18-16.