In their two dual meets so far against Virginia and Pittsburgh, the dynamic duo of Dominic Solis and Kyle Cochran has accounted for four of Maryland wrestling’s five individual bout wins.
The two captains wrestling in the 174 to 184 bouts have become reliable weapons for coach Alex Clemsen’s program.
And as the wins and good performances continue to mount for both, so do the expectations set by Clemsen and his staff.
“We have the highest expectations for the guys that we think have the highest abilities,” Clemsen said. “[Cochran and Solis] are two of the guys coached the hardest in [the wrestling] room, and they can handle it both physically and emotionally.”
Cochran is coming off a revenge win against Pittsburgh’s James Lledo in a rematch from the semifinals of the Clarion Open in the 184 bout. Solis upset Pittsburgh’s then-ranked No. 33 Hunter Kernan for the biggest win of his young career.
Both will look to continue their recent momentum this weekend in a tri-meet against Duke and Drexel. Cochran will face presumed starters Vincent Baker for Duke and either Bryan McLaughlin or Josh Stillings for Drexel.
But a tougher matchup awaits for Solis against Duke in No. 7 Matt Finesilver. That high-ranked win against Kernan hasn’t satisfied Solis one bit and has become a distant memory.
“You can’t get too low on your losses, but you can’t get too high in the wins,” Solis said. “It’s that next match mentality. I’m still not ranked yet. I still haven’t really made a huge name for myself … I still have a lot to prove.”
Adding a win against a quality opponent such as Finesilver can only boost Solis’ resume going forward. It could even put him in the conversation of being ranked in his weight class — he would join Zach Schrader as a fellow ranked Terp.
Cochran and Solis can’t lead Maryland to its first dual win of the season alone. They’ll need help from those in the 125 to 165 bouts to clock wins and put points on the board so both Solis and Cochran can start wrestling in matches that have more of an impact on the outcome of the meet.
Finding better use of Solis and Cochran is going to come down to whether Maryland executes against Duke and Drexel better than it did against Virginia and Pittsburgh, which has been a focus in practice according to Clemsen.
“We have to be really adamant as a group to make sure that we’re only wrestling in our best positions,” Clemsen said.
Solis has faith his teammates will begin to take lessons from his and Cochran’s early success.
“The guys in our lineup are very, very good and very, very talented,” Solis said. “Just believing in the work you put in and believing in yourself.”
Facing Duke and Drexel in nonconference play offers Maryland a chance to snap a dual losing streak that dates back to January 2020. Clemsen will also be able to gauge the state of his program.
“It’s just another great opportunity to show [what] we are really made of and show how much work we’ve really put in,” Solis said.